MIT was our dream school. The blogs were one of the main reasons for that. We read the blogs religiously throughout high school. We followed the tails of the bloggers, laughed at their jokes (or in the case of Ceri’s vlogs, her friend’s jokes too), cheered at their accomplishments, and sympathized with their struggles. Their experiences, although adding up to only a small sample of MIT experiences, painted a beautifully complex, diverse, flawed, and unique depiction of MIT, an MIT we saw ourselves living and learning in.
We dreamed about applying all throughout high school, questioned if our test scores were good enough, stressed if the activities we did were the “right” ones, imagined our interviews hundreds of times before they happened, and thought about them endlessly after they happened to try to remember if we said everything we wanted to.
Early Action decision day was on a Wednesday for us. We honestly can’t remember anything extremely special or specific or memorable or out-of-the-ordinary that happened during that day at school. At that point, it was already the end of semester crunch, so we were probably just going through the motions – 1st class, 2nd, break, 3rd class, etc. After getting out at 2:20pm, we had a 0-45 min wait time for our bus depending on how ready/not sleep deprived we were to run the 10-minute-walk to our bus stop to get there by 2:26 pm, the time our bus fairly regularly arrived at. We definitely wanted to kill time that day (since decisions came out at 6:28 pm), so we didn’t even try running as we usually would try to do, we missed the first bus, and we got on the second. Then, there was the actual 1-1.5 hour commute depending on traffic. After getting home and eating food, it was probably around 5:15 pm. We had a little over an hour to kill, so we definitely watched something, probably a youtube video or many from the cooking or art or artsy cooking youtube channel we were obsessed with then. We didn’t check our decisions exactly at 6:28 pm, so we must have done a great job at distracting ourselves. We actually only realized what the time was when a friend texted us, asking us about our decisions. It was probably 6:30 or 6:31 pm. We logged in. Our letters wouldn’t load for a dreadfully long time. Here is a gif portraying the eternal and existential dread that we faced in that moment. (length warning: 17 seconds. content warning: it’s weird (but hopefully also funny))
Danny’s decision finished loading first, and then Allan’s shortly after. Yep, DA twins got DAferred (sorry not sorry for the pun). We were both faced with that infamous letter that boiled down to “to be determined.” We were really upset. We didn’t get the “yes” we had hoped for and worked for for so long. It felt like defeat. We knew that it wasn’t a “no”. And we knew that people have gotten in after being deferred. We read posts just like this one. But we couldn’t help feeling the way we did. We had many long conversations reevaluating everything we had done in high school to try to find that *one* thing that caused our deferrals. We regretted not doing more. We tried comparing ourselves to others we knew of that got in. We just thought a lot. It wasn’t healthy.
With that said, things did get better. The force of gravity is inversely proportional to distance (okay technically distance squared, but who’s keeping track) and that definitely held true with the distance from the event. The further we got from December 16th, the less heavy it began to feel. We began to think about the whole thing more reasonably. We had been given another chance. Sure it’s slim, but still, a chance is chance.
When winter break hit, we had to forget about MIT to finish up all our other applications. This process honestly helped us. Because to be totally honest, we had done very minimal research into other colleges (comparatively to the amount we did into MIT) until we applied to them during winter break. And the deferral from MIT became less painful when we, for the first time in all of high school, really allowed ourselves to see our futures in schools that weren’t MIT. After having that experience, we realized how potentially toxic the idea of a dream school can be, or at least how toxic it was for us. As the saying goes, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” It’s totally fine and even great if you are really passionate about one school, but there is absolutely no harm and only benefit in looking into and being really passionate about more than one school. This is something we wished we would have realized, because it would’ve saved us a lot of stress and heart-ache in the long run. Envision multiple futures and find the happiness in every option.
After we finished applying to colleges, we tried being as calm as possible about all our pending decisions. But we definitely had moments scouring admissions statistics pages, many of which felt like they said, “rounding up, we accept 0% of applicants.”
When not doing the above, we continued doing what we’ve done throughout high school. Continued doing math club. Continued trying really hard in our classes. Continued taking challenging ones. Continued applying to scholarships. Continued knitting, and art-ing, and practicing piano. Just continued. We put some things in our fun form, like a recent math-shape knitting project, and our current status in a scholarship. As more things happened after submitting the fun form, like updates from the scholarship, results from a math competition, and getting onto a math team for a different competition, we emailed MIT admissions and all the other schools we had applied to. If there was one thing that we felt we did correctly (or as correct as you can possibly feel while navigating the complex-messy-maze that is applying to college), it was that we didn’t give into our initial feelings of doubt or lose motivation after our deferrals. No matter how discouraging it might feel, don’t let a college decision weigh you down. Use it instead as motivation to excel. This is really vague and you may not know what to do with that lofty phrase, but in the case of senior year, just don’t get a really bad case of senioritis. That’s easier said than done, as with most things involving this time of high school. But you’re almost finished, so really try your best to end the quarter, semester, term, year, whatever off strongly!
A few days before pi day, we felt that force of gravity again. We were so close to finding out about our rejection. We accepted expected it.
It was a Monday. We walked to our bus stop again. “Welp, today is the day. Ahhhh…. Yep.. okay yeaahhhhhh……………..aaaaaaaaa….” We got home again at probably around 5:15 pm. We distracted ourselves. Logged in. Waited for our screens to load. It was all too familiar…until…it…wasn’t….
When our screens loaded, we were in shock. Utter shock. We immediately told our parents. And messaged our friends. Had this decision come in the early cycle, we would have *immediately* decided that we would be committing. But because of how much we began looking at other schools by the time of regular action, we did not have that certainty. We only actually decided that we would comMIT after CPW, after experiencing the MIT culture that we fell in love with initially through the blogs, and parted ways with from December to March. It was a full circle experience that we do not regret.
The applying-to-college process can be really hard. It was for us. So, we just want to let you know, that no matter what any decisions may seem like they are telling you, you are worth it. If you get in after being deferred, that’s great, and we hope to see you on campus! But if not (or if you didn’t in early action), and many don’t unfortunately, you will take your talents and passions to a different school that will be so lucky to have you. Or you will take a gap year. Or you will go to a school and then transfer. Or you will start a company. Or maybe end up at MIT for grad school. Or you will … the list is honestly endless. There is a world of possibilities. Making it this far is already something to be proud of and, whether MIT will be a part of your future or not, continue pursuing your dreams and make the world a better place (wow that probably sounds really cheesy, but we really mean it genuinely).
And one last thing. Between all the craziness that is senior year of high school, give yourself time to do the things you do for the pure joy of it, the things you wrote about in essay 1. And while doing that, forget about MIT, forget about the future. Be present. Be calm. Breathe.
And if it helps at all, here is a very long list of things we watch/listen to/enjoy when we want to de-stress:
music (most from disney/pixar films/shorts) that makes us happy
Brave by Sara Bareilles
With the Right Music by Rosser and Sohne
L.O.V.E. from The Parent Trap
Handshake scene from The Parent Trap
Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root from Matilda
Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride Lilo and Stitch
Opening Scene from Lilo and Stitch
I Can Go the Distance from Hercules
I Won’t Say I’m in Love from Hercules
The Gospel Truth from Hercules
Journey to the Past from Anastasia
Once Upon a December from Anastasia
When Will My Life Begin from Tangled
Touch the Sky from Brave
Blue Umbrella (Pixar short)
Lava (Pixar short)
Le Festin from Ratatouille
Opening Scene from Inside Out
How Far I’ll Go from Moana
Where You Are from Moana
Here Comes a Thought from Steven Universe
Peace and Love from Steven Universe
Sadie’s Song from Steven Universe
Stronger Than You from Steven Universe + music video
That’s How You Know from Enchanted
Almost There from Princess And the Frog
musical soundtracks that make us happy (+ our favorite songs from them)
Amélie — introvert that likes to help people in paris, raspberry finger tip disease
Times Are Hard for Dreamers
Tour de France
mash-up of these two^
Anastasia — lost russian princess finds her memories, family, and love
In My Dreams
Journey to the Past + live performance + Darren Criss and Original Anastasia
In a Crowd of Thousands + studio recording
We’ll Go From There
A Very Potter Musical — hilarious parody of Harry Potter. Also Draco… watch it for Draco
Back to Hogwarts
A Very Potter Sequel — Sequel to AVPM
Coolest Girl + Darren Criss version
A Very Potter Senior Year — A one time performance of the final installment of AVPM with the actual actress that played Luna Lovegood from the HP movies!
F*** the tie
Beautiful: The Carol King Musical — about the legendary singer/songwriter Carol King
Beautiful + live performance
I Feel the Earth Move
Into the Woods — A mish-mash of many fairy tales
On the Steps of the Palace
Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812 — THIS IS OUR ALL TIME FAVORITE MUSICAL. Based on a 70-page chunk of War and Peace, it’s about a Russian princess and her love story.
No One Else + studio recording
In My House + studio recording
Waitress + Sara Bareilles singing most of the songs — pies, falling in love with a doctor, and amazing music made by Sara Bareilles
What Baking Can Do + an adorable kid’s cover of it and Sara Bareilles cheering him on
When He Sees Me
Opening Up (Finale) + live performance mash-up
videos that make us happy or laugh
Dear Evan Hansen – Getaway
Julie and Julia Meltdown
Drunk History – Julia Child
History of Japan/Earth
Ze Frank – True Facts
You Got This Travis
Ice Skating to Journey to the Past
Ice Skating to Once Upon a December
cartoons that make us happy (in order of shortest to longest)
First episode of The Summoning
Pilot of Infinity Train
Bee and PuppyCat (only first episode linked, but the rest are also on YouTube)
Over the Garden Wall
The Legend of Korra
Avatar: the Last Airbender
<3 you got this! we believe in you! <3