Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Dear High School Friends,


So I hear there's this thing called College Decisions coming out soon. (Actually, I'm pretty sure a bunch of them already came out, so oops.) And because this thing is somewhat of a pretty big deal, I just wanted to say:

1) Good luck! I hope all the wonderful places you applied to made the right choice and said yes! And if you've already heard Yes from said wonderful places, then congratulations! You are wonderful, and I'm so, so happy for you.

2) I very dearly hope this doesn't apply to you, but if all does not go well, I have some attempted words of encouragement:

Okay, scratch that. I actually don't. I could be all,

which is true, but I'm guessing you've already heard that, and I'm guessing it's not exactly the first thing you want to hear after reading a letter you didn't want to read.

So instead I'm going to tell you a story.

It starts with a fun fact that maybe not all of you know about me: a year ago, when those end-of-March college decisions came out for me, I didn't get into a single college*.

Not a single one.

And unlike what people generally advise you to think, I was not thinking along the lines of, Oh, it's okay! Those schools don't know what they're missing, and I will be successful in life no matter where I end up!

Instead, I logged off of the computer, walked across the house, and proceeded to watch movies on Netflix for probably the next eight hours.

And by the way, I'm talking about a me who promised that I wouldn't care what happened when decisions came out, who told other people that the outcome had a lot to do with luck anyway, who said that where you go pales in comparison to what you do.

I knew all that. I also knew I had very, very ridiculously miniscule-ly low chances of getting Yes letters from the places I got No letters from, and I was still kind of like,


And that's okay.

Sometimes life just happens that way.

Sometimes you know how you're supposed to cope with unpleasant things and you ignore all that anyway (i.e. binge watching Crash Course U.S. History videos the night before an APUSH test instead of, you know, outlining like a good student). Because it's hard to cope well with disappointing things, especially when they're seemingly big, like in the case of college decisions.

See, your mind starts to mess with you.

You start to think, If only I hadn't fallen asleep in physics that one day**, or If only I hadn't spent so much time yelling at unintelligent newspaper computers these past few months, or If only I'd known that Thoreau spent $28.12 on his cabin in the woods, because the outcome of some random sophomore year Transcendentalism quiz totally has the potential to alter the outcome of your entire life. (That's sarcasm. Don't question it.)
Whatifs are meanies. Try to ignore them.

Or maybe you think,

But I did everything I was supposed to!

and this is probably very true as well. Because let's face it: you're a real person, which is better than any robot or superhero or Stormtrooper-turned-clone. Yes, sometimes you make mistakes, and sometimes you're not good at things. But real people tend to do that.

(Side note: I'm talking mostly about me because I don't want to start gossiping about other people, but it wasn't just falling-asleep-in-physics me. Because like me, there were tons of people who didn't get nice letters from half the schools they deserved--there were people who didn't get nice letters at all--and unlike me, they were far more hardworking and talented and deserving of those spots that I guess there just weren't enough of. Don't think that rejection means you're automatically lumped into the eating-food-slash-procrastinating-in-that-newspaper-office category. If that makes you feel better.)

And honestly, it doesn't matter who you are: rejection hurts. It doesn't matter if you have a four-point-gazillion GPA or if you've never really considered yourself good at anything or if you knew you didn't have a good shot at a certain college but were secretly hoping anyway. It still hurts, and that's okay.

It's going to be okay.

Back to the story: the next day, my mom took me to buy a book that I'd been dying to read, which is basically my equivalent of eating a tub of ice cream after a breakup (except I may have eaten ice cream, too. Oops). So I read, and watched another movie or two, and checked out Humans of New York, which always makes me feel stupidly selfish because people in the world suffer from much worse things than flimsy little letters... and slightly better, because people in the world are also hopeful and fantastic and kind, no matter where they come from.

And then I told myself, It's going to be okay, and I went on about my life.

Reading makes everything better. (Also food.)

Basically, high school friends, I'm no Dumbledore, but I do know that's okay to be more than a little disappointed, and it's important to know that things will work out in the end.

College decisions? Yes, they're a big deal. But if they don't go the way you want, don't be sad about it forever. Grieve like you would for that cheap $1 goldfish you won at Community Day (back when people used to go to that thing) that only lasted two weeks and then piece your slightly shifted world back together again. Spring is coming***. Summer is nearly here. The scar has not pained Harry for (almost) nineteen years.

Good luck. You totally got this.



PS: I'm too poor/postal fees are too high for me to send food to you all (and I'm too perpetually hungry for there to be any leftovers in my house from the cheesecake fundraiser), but message me if you want to talk/receive Pusheen stickers. That is all.

*Clarification: I did get into college, but not "prestigious" slash first/second/fourth/etc. choice college, which is what I know many of you guys are freaking out about right now and why I'm rambling on about this.
**If you were in my physics class, you know this was pretty much every day. Oops.
***Or, rather, winter is coming, if you're into Game of Thrones.