Spam and rejection

My spam e-mail and a slim letter I recently received from the college of my choice have something in common. Both seem to suggest that there’s something inadequate about me.
I get a lot of spam, so someone suggests that I’m inadequate on average 17 times a day. It seems strange to relate, but getting all that spam has taught me a lot. At first the subject lines made me insecure. I would wonder, Is there something wrong with me? Eventually, however, the spam made me stronger. I don’t mean to sound cocky, but I’ve come to the conclusion that anyone who thinks my love stick is too small just doesn’t know me that well.

Why am I writing about college rejection and spam in space that’s supposed to be about my entire high school career? The rejection is part of a greater lesson that this school has taught me. Yes, “They can because they think they can” is a fine motto, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. The most valuable thing I’ve learned in my time here is that some things are absolutely out of my control, and even if I think I can change things, often I can’t. To steal a turn of phrase popular with my Latin teacher, Paul Chenier, we live in “an inscrutable cosmos,” and often things are completely out of our hands.

Spending four years alongside the best and the brightest has been a humbling experience. You figure out that you’re not the best at everything. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, especially in high school when we’re all supposed to be so self-involved, but it’s true. None of us is the best at everything.

Once you’ve come to that realization, you can despair that there will always be someone in the room who’s smarter than you are (one of my best friends is the valedictorian, so I actually came to that realization really quickly). Or you can be electrified by their brilliance.

The spam e-mail is lying: you are who you are, and there really isn’t much you can do to change it, not even if you open the attachment or reply with your social security number.

For my part, I think high school has been trying and wonderful and exciting and enlightening. Witness another thing I’ve learned in my time here: I can write 419 words about my life and tie it in to penis enlargement. And that’s a skill I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.

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