It's the holiday season, and right now I'm on break from Oberlin. Lights flicker around my house and around town, the smell of pine is strong in my living room, and I am able to enjoy the festive company of family and old friends.
My feelings of relaxation couldn't be more different than last year, when the whole month of December was dominated by distress and dismay.
You see, for me, last December was college admissions season.
High school seniors, if you are like I was, that means you still have at least a dozen applications dropped into the cyber abyss known as the Common Application. You may have gotten some good news, but, like me, you may have already gotten your heart broken.
I'm here not to say that that's all okay--frankly I don't think it is--but to assure you that you will be okay.
I know firsthand how trying it is to spend the holidays panicking about one college decision. Last year, when my family walked the Seine towards a glistering Eiffel Tower on New Year's Eve, all I could think was will I get into Oberlin?
Admissions anxiety is an overriding one. It commands the body and compromises the mind because of a misconception that where one does or does not attend college will have a permanent impact on their potential for success. This is just so false. There is never only one option.
Before I was accepted to Oberlin, I was rejected from another small liberal arts school. With that rejection, I felt the tide of failure wash over me. I felt screwed, angry, and worthless. Less than two months later, when I heard back from Oberlin, those feelings were almost imperceptibly foreign.
Prospective Obies, take the advice I wish I had listened to last year: A rejection is never the end. It isn't a failing or a miscalculation or a detour on the path of young adulthood. In fact, for me, a rejection was the impetus to drive myself toward acceptance elsewhere.
To newly admitted Obies, I wish to say congratulations! For seniors waiting to hear back, I wish you the best of luck. Spend lots of time working to achieve your goals, but take breaks when necessary, especially during the holidays.