Seniors, I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we’re tired. We’ve spent the last three years toiling away at the Upper School.
Whether someone is a basketball player who has spent many hours on and off the court improving his or her game, an actor that gives up countless weekends to the stage, a student who sacrifices time with friends and family to grind for grades or anything in between, it’s clear that he or she done a substantial amount of work. And as our deans have told us time and time again, the college process is the time when we all get to see that payoff.
Is it really that hard for us to be happy to see that hard work pay off for other people, too?
The conversation about college in our school has been downright disappointing so far. We’ve turned that dialogue into a game where we pinpoint other people’s weaknesses and use them to coddle our own insecurities.
“Oh, he’s just getting in for sports. He’s taking away someone else’s spot who deserves it.”
“She has a good GPA, but she does nothing outside of the classroom. No one’s going to accept her!”
“She doesn’t deserve to get in. I know she’s smart, but she’s only even applying there because she’s a legacy.”
Those are actual things that I have heard people say just this past week. I would say that I’m disgusted, but I feel like I’ve become desensitized to talk like this, and so has the rest of our school. Some people are even afraid to say where they applied because they fear that they’ll be judged and picked apart for their choice. We need to change that. No matter where a person is applying, we should be happy that they have an idea of where they want to continue his or hers search for excellence. If someone is applying to the same college, that’s a reason to celebrate too.
Just because someone didn’t do the same kind of work doesn’t mean that his or her work is illegitimate. It’s different and that’s the beauty of it. When a college combs through thousands of applications, it doesn’t look for one kind of student. Colleges, just like our school, are diverse and inclusive communities. There’s a reason that nearly every college stresses that its respective admissions process is holistic, or looks at the whole picture of a person. They’re looking for success and hard work, but unlike some of us, they realize that there isn’t just one path to the top or a path that is better than all the others.
I’m not going lie. I will be very upset if I don’t get into my first-choice college. Like most, if not all of us, I’ve spent hours and hours scouring through schools, their programs and whether or not I would fit at a college, and I’ve fallen in love with the ones I’m applying to. I’ll have the temptation if I get deferral or rejection letters mid-December to come up with ways that I am better than the people that do get into those schools.
We’re human. It’s okay to be upset. It’s not okay to be upset and blame our circumstances on other people. Let’s be happy for all of the great things that our class has accomplished already, and will accomplish in the future.