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Paths by Danny and Allan G. '20

there are so many

We were deferred when we applied early to MIT, and remember how heartbreaking it felt. We obsessed over MIT unhealthily to the point where going to MIT was the only future we saw for ourselves. Looking at the statistics of how many deferred students get admitted, it was painful to think that that future will potentially be taken away.

Negative decisions don’t feel pleasant. Not at all. But negative *college* decisions were especially unpleasant for us. Those were the first time that some external decision actually determined some aspect of our futures, which was scary to say the least.

The reality is that the college application process is just the start of receiving these types of decisions; after it come – internship applications, job applications, scholarships, grants, grad school applications, etc. We won’t say that receiving negative decisions gets easier, because the initial news still stings for us.

But we will say that, after having gone through the college application process, and two years (going on three) of summer job hunt cycles, *accepting* negative decisions is easier now. What used to be a maintained sting like an open wound, now merely tingles briefly like a paper cut. Since we think our thought process is healthier than it used to be, we want to share it:

As difficult as it is to see in this moment, the door that didn’t open is just *one* door. It may seem like this door is *the* door. We want to tell you that it is definitely NOT. It is rather one, among so many other valid options.

animation revealing one door becoming many many doors

It’s a whole lot easier said than done, but don’t for a second doubt your worth because one door did not open. It’s SO easy to compare yourself to someone who was able to get through the door you wanted to, or through a similarly barely-open-up-able door.

“I should’ve re-taken the SAT like Sam, should’ve taken that extra class like Bob, should’ve gotten that A like Robin, should’ve volunteered that extra hour like Kim.” NO! Please do NOT go down this route! We’ve been there (way too many times), and it just feels awful.

Instead, tell yourself: “In my circumstances, I tried my best.” Literally verbalize it (out-loud, in a whisper, in your head, whatever works). Let’s do it together: In my circumstances, I tried my best!

To be completely transparent, we say this small phrase to ourselves so often, and it does wonders. It takes us out of the toxic “what if I did…” thinking, and really makes it easier to accept the reality, and look beyond for new opportunities.

While non-acceptances feel like dead-ends, they are really more like detour signs. They alter your course, but never actually end it! Think of it as the universe guiding you along the messy-maze of life. As the wise Dory once said, just keep swimming! 

animation of a circles path being altered by road blocks

We believe in you to move forward, fueled by your determination and goals!

animation of fuel filling up in a car meter display

Wherever you end up, whatever you end up doing, we’re confident that you will do great things, because if you had the guts to apply to a place like MIT (it does take guts), you surely have big dreams! And since all big realities come from big dreams, we are sure that you are on a great path ahead! Just keeping dreaming, and to quote Dory again because why not, just keep swimming!