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A head-and-shoulders illustrated portrait of Ceri Riley. She is smiling with her mouth closed, has light skin, and long light pink hair.

Waiting for Decision Day by Ceri Riley '16

In which I give a pep talk of sorts (with a little help from my friends)

I tried to create this video as something I’d want to hear as a nervous prefrosh. I hope you like it!

If you’re curious, here is the ZeFrank video about dealing with rejection. He has a very soothing voice and always-inspirational things to say. Here are a couple of my blog posts that might lift your spirits: An Open Letter to MIT Applicants and Life is Like a Game. There’s plenty of other meaningful prose by other brilliant bloggers, but I can’t link to all the posts here. They’re just a quick search away!

Special thanks to Courtney D. ’17, Elliot O. ’18, Michael J. ’18, Marayna M. ’18, Fejiro O. ’18, Andrea H. ’18, Hannah C. ’17, Sade N. ’17, Joey V. ’17, Diana L. ’17, Rachel R. ’16, Jamal E. ’14. I couldn’t have made this video without you all ♥

I included my script below, in case you aren’t in a place where you can watch the video with sound. I didn’t stick exactly to all of the words, but you’ll get the gist of it. Best of luck!

Hi guys,

Early action decisions are out in less than a week. And chances are, if you applied early, you’re freaking out right now. Be it nervousness, looking for distractions, forcing yourself to pretend like there’s no chance of getting in when secretly your heart/brain/stomach is murmuring “but this is your dream” and you’re trying your best to ignore it. Yeah. We’ve all been there.

Whether it’s a college application or a job interview or anything that consumes you with this passionate WANT, we all know this feeling. And it can be kind of terrifying.

Even applying in the first place requires quite a bit of bravery, you had to have enough confidence in yourself and your abilities and your passions to throw your name into the goblet of fire and hope that you’re chosen to be a part of the next year’s class, the huge far-more-collaborative milli-wizard tournament that is MIT.

You all have worked so hard up to this point, finding motivation to excel in high school and slowly figuring out an answer to “how hard can I work, and what am I working towards?” And college is the next step to answering that question and pursuing your dreams and geeking out and figuring out how exactly you can make the world a better place.

So here is my deep life advice, for application day and forevermore:
Achieving your dreams takes skill, perseverance, but also a good amount of luck. And who you are, your passions, your goals, your dedication matters so much more than the school you go to. Appreciate who you are right now and the people you surround yourself with, because right now in your life SO MUCH is going to change SO QUICKLY and you want to hold onto these memories as you grow up. Because growing up can be really scary.

Be bold. Make mistakes. Nothing can be as bad as you imagine because if you’re anything like me you’re imagining total embarrassment and an apocalyptic sinking feeling and nightmarish chaos and the entire world shunning you forever and ever. And it sounds a little ridiculous when you say it out loud, because it really will never get THAT bad.

If you get in, congratulations, and I hope to see you at CPW or around campus sometime. Please say hi.

If you’re deferred, it’s not the end of the road. Recollect, continue pursuing your passions, apply to other schools. Maybe MIT will become your home (I have plenty of friends who were deferred and got in), or maybe you’ll find another college that steals your heart.

If you got denied, breathe. Eat some ice cream. Distract yourself by marathoning your favorite TV show or film that ALWAYS makes you feel better. You are so brave for applying. I’m sure you’ll have so many amazing, greater successes in the future. And even though you received this one rejection, the twists and turns of life may lead you to campus someday.

As ZeFrank says in his video on rejection, “Being rejected is kind of awesome. It means you’re playing with your upper limits. A lot of people don’t rejected at all; they’re playing it safe.”

So be proud of yourself for facing those terrifying upper limits.

Now, you’re probably sick of hearing me ramble. “She’s just one person. She’s a blogger. She’s SUPPOSED to be making me feel better.” So I asked some friends if they had something to say to Early Action applicants, any messages or friendly words or jokes or anything. We all really do care about our future classmates, our future community. So here they are:

[insert motivational clips here]

And best of luck from me, too. Feel free to start conversations in the comments, or email me if you want to talk. I’ll try and make time to respond as much as possible, because sometimes it’s just reassuring to hear a friendly voice.

And I’ll see you next time.