This post is written by the beautiful and talented Christina '10, whose first choice when applying to colleges was admittedly NOT MIT, but is quite possibly the funniest (and happiest) Baker biology genius I know, as well as a poignant and accomplished blogger. Enjoy!
Precisely one year ago today I sat drinking coffee at a Dunkin Donuts with one of my best friends, Colin, as we chatted about getting into our respective first choice schools early decision.
"I have a really good feeling for you, Christina," he told me.
"Ahhhh, I don't know. Probably not. But you…you're getting into MIT. I know it. How could they not take you?"
We agonized and fantasized over getting The Big Envelope (or in Colin's case, The Tube) until both we and the pterodactyls in our stomachs were exhausted.
The days leading up to decisions were sickeningly brutal and wonderfully exhilarating all at the same time. There would be hopeful, "I'm getting in! I'm getting in!" moments, followed by, "they'll never take me," moments. It was difficult to decide whether optimism or pessimism was the better approach and neutrality seemed impossible. As much as I tried to be rational in convincing myself that things would turn out okay, at the end of the day, the facts remained: I wanted to go to School A and I needed to get in. Period.
I checked the decision online, put my head in my hands and sobbed. They were not tears of joy.
Flash forward one year. I'm sitting in my dorm room looking out at the beautiful Boston skyline, taking a break from my 5.111 problem set. I had dinner a few hours ago with the very same Colin who was accepted to MIT on the day I was deferred from what I thought was my dream school.
I have grown so much in the past year and in watching my friends and myself trudge through the college admissions process, I've gained a lot of perspective. I don't know how it ever got to the point where I put so much emphasis on a place that seemed perfect at the age of 18, that I actually feel as though my happiness was contingent upon my acceptance into a college. I only realize now how preposterous that truly is. Two of my best friends were rejected from their first choice schools and yet are completely in love with where they ended up and roll their eyes when reminded of how much they thought they wanted to be somewhere else.
As for me, I love MIT. I really do. I'm lucky and blessed to be here and SO grateful my dream school deferred me. But to say I wouldn't have been happy somewhere else is unreasonable and silly. The truth is, and maybe you can't see this yet, it's going to be okay. It's going to be better than okay.
However, if you're anything like my old self, if you don't get the news you are hoping for on Saturday or in April, you're going to experience this crazy whirlwind of emotions. You're going to feel sad, angry, apathetic, confused, and defeated. But somewhere in there, you're going to have this isolated moment where you think to yourself, "WhatEVER. I'm going to succeed anywhere."
And when that feeling comes… hold on to it and never let go.