Spoiled Milk by Jess K. '10
I wrote an entry so long overdue my milk has spoiled in the process. So much for cereal.
Once, when I was younger, I poured the entire contents of a carton of milk down the drain because it was past the “Sell By” date listed on the side. My dad, being the upstanding keeper of never throwing anything out except when he throws everything out (including receipts, magazines, and perfectly edible cheese) roared ferociously at me. “WHY DID YOU DO THAT!”
“It was past the ‘Sell By’ date, Dad!”
My dad then proceeded to explain that the “Sell By” date should be taken in a literal sense – “the milk should be SOLD by that date. We already bought the milk before that day. You can still drink it for two weeks after.”
I have a strong feeling that he would have drank the entire carton, or at least a significant fraction, to prove this point to me. All he really proved, though, was that my father has a hard time letting things go, and that the indigestion following would have been a wonderous experience for both of us. It really is too bad that I poured the entire thing down the drain.
Yeah, so I was going to leave this as a comment to Mitra’s question, “Does anyone know if milk is okay past the Sell By date?”. So basically, this entry is brought to you for my dad’s desire to keep expired milk in the world a little longer. (I felt a little like Big Bird, writing that. “This week’s episode brought to you by the letter E! EEEE!”)
In a perfectly formed and completely intentional segue, this post is waaay past its “Sell By” date. It’s been too long since I’ve really written something – this plane flight home for spring break is the first breath of air I’ve had in a while – and for that I apologize. MIT can give you a lot of things, but free time is not one of them.
(Ironically enough, though, there’s actually milk spoiling in my refrigerator at Next House as we speak. And that’s not because I don’t have the free time to drink my milk. It’s because I, unlike Mitra and Sam, forgot to clean out my refrigerator before I left, and now Neha will have something fun to come home to.)
So I’m flying home again, two months after the last visit. Things have been completely and totally insane, to say the least – I’m waiting to see if I passed my EMT state exam, which I took after having taken a month-long eight-hour-a-day class over IAP, am enjoying playing a serious and thought-provoking character that is completely necessary to the plot of the Next House musical (Silly Girl #1, in Beauty and the Beast)(it could be better – Matt Cohen ’10 is playing Fish Man; Tiff Chu ’10 is playing Lady With Baby/Napkin), and have also possibly broken my clock radio.
To say the least, I’m excited to be going home so I can finally get some sleep – between learning all eight of my lines (one of which is “WAAAAHHH”)(we’re performing this at CPW, though, so if you’re here you should come see my crying debut) and breaking my clock radio, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster. As it must have been for you guys! (I am so smooth. Did you even see that segue coming?) I read Laura’s post and all your comments a couple times, and I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to add to it.
College applications are crazy, aren’t they? You convert entire moments of your life that have made you into who you are into a couple ordinary lines on an ordinary sheet of paper, craft a few hundred words to try to actually illustrate who you’ve become, and hope that it’s enough to convey that you’ve got more personality than two dimensions can contain. Then you send all that off to somewhere you don’t even know with all the hope in the world that somebody might understand that what you do for fun actually reveals you’re someone they’d want to meet.
(And they do, actually.)
At the end of it all, though, you’ll hopefully find you have something to show for it. Maybe you got your dream and get admitted, in which case you ROCK. You’re on top of the world, you can’t put that feeling to words – and you shouldn’t have to; nothing is better than just knowing for sure that all that hard work and pouring your heart out and every moment was worth it. (Especially since the admit rate dropped to 12%.. the ’11s MUST be superstars!)
But if you didn’t?
Is it really possible to dust yourself off after something you’ve really, truly wanted doesn’t actually come together? To move on from all the hope in the world?
I think it is, though you don’t have to take my word for it. But I go to MIT. I know a thing or two about hard work, and how doesn’t always pay off like it should.
12% also has an 88%. Statistically speaking, it isn’t possible that 88% of 12,443 applicants aren’t also phenomenal off paper, especially when they put just as much of themselves into their applications. There is no reason why you should feel like your work didn’t mean anything, even if it didn’t culminate in what you wanted; if you put all of yourself into it and you were brave enough to hit “send”, you’ve already got something to show for it. And if you can handle putting all of your life-changing moments down on paper for some strangers to read, your biggest baseball games and your heartbreaks and the time you discovered in lab that you might want to do gel electrophoresis for the rest of your life, you can absolutely handle accepting that MIT might not be the best place for you.
But you don’t just send that much of something that really matters out into the universe without having it mean anything. I promise that it does, and you’re better for it.
I wish you the best of luck in all of your endeavors, whether your brush with MIT ends here or is just barely beginning.