The college process has the ability to take over one’s life– start an empire and just conquer everything else. Everyone talks about it. You and your parents don’t talk about what’s going on in school, they talk about where you’re applying and what’s the best option, and when I’ll hear back.
Discussions among friends don’t involve weekend plans or new clothes or boys or girls or drama, the biggest drama has become who gets in where and who doesn’t.
People you don’t even know suddenly want to know where you applied and what you’re doing with your life and what you wanna be and you really just want to say, “What did you wanna be when you were seventeen? Did that work out? Are you so happy with your life? Please, tell me more as I continue to ask you three million questions you don’t know the answer to.”
Truth is, the conversations with these people are so much easier when you’re waiting to hear back from schools. Because when you actually hear back from your top school and they tell you that you were not accepted to the rigor of the campus, the conversation takes a dramatic shift from enthusiastic to (to say the least) awkward.
My entire high school career I told myself I’d never ever ever ever go to Uconn unless they paid me more than their tuition. According to my freshmen, sophomore, and junior self, Uconn was a farm school in the middle of nowhere that was not up to my personal par. And that attitude remained the same until I was forced to go and take a tour of Uconn Storrs, directly after my uncle’s funeral. I should have known my future with Uconn would have been dark considering the event foreshadowing the tour was a funeral.
As we strolled the campus with my uncle recalling his Uconn memories and telling me to “get up front, this is important, talk to the tour guide” my attitude suddenly changed. I actually was enjoying the tour. I was actually listening to what that tour guide had to say. I actually took the little walk around the dorm room and really didn’t mind that it was so small. I pictured myself here, a moment all people told me would occur when I was in the right campus. I pictured myself sitting in Putnam Hall enjoying my time with new friends. I pictured myself writing for the paper. I pictured myself in the dorms. But unfortunately, Uconn couldn’t picture me there.
When I applied on December 21, 2012, I religiously checked the admissions website that stated “An admission decision has not been made yet. Please check this page frequently.” So I did as I was told and checked four times a day. And there was one day when I decided that I should just check an extra time. They told me I’d hear by March 1, 2013 and on February 26, Uconn made sure they told me. Anxiously I checked the page and this time it read something different “An admission decision has been made. Would you like to view this decision now?” Here it was, my entire life would be affected by this click of a button. And to be honest, I thought the future was looking hopeful. I had been taken four AP classes, all honors courses (except for math) a few leadership positions, and average SAT scores, I thought I had this one in the bag… so I clicked yes. And it read as follows, “Congratgulations! On behalf of the University of Connecticut, it is our pleasure to invite you to join the incoming freshmen class!” I mean it started with Congratgulations! I thought I was in, but I kept reading. “Due to the rigorous requirements of the main campus in Storrs, we are unable to honor your request for immediate admission to this campus.” In other words, I’d have to attend Uconn Waterbury for a while before entering Storrs. And cue the emotional breakdown.
I screamed the decision, threw my phone, my parents read it, jaws dropped, my tears fell, and I remained on the couch. While reading Jane Eyre, I pondered whether she’d be able to get into Uconn Storrs. And I thought she would, but then I thought that she wouldn’t be able to take standardized tests well and that would ultimately cause her rejection to Uconn Storrs. I, who had now compared myself to Jane Eyre, sat in the couch in hysterics while my mom threw college magazines at me and said “Look how many successful people went here, Jesse!’ And then my dad said “What’s so bad about Uconn, Waterbury?” My tears turned into rivers. I didn’t have anything against the school. I just wanted to go to Uconn Storrs. I then texted all of my friends, all two of them, to break the bad news. I even started to blame them. They’re the ones who assured me I’d get in. They consulted me, but I didn’t care.
When I went to school the next day, I wanted everyone to ask me what was wrong. So I stormed around, rolled my eyes, and was just generally sarcastic about everything. Teachers asked me questions and I replied “I am clearly too stupid to answer that question for you.” Me not getting into Uconn became everyone’s problem. Throughout the week, I was so stressed by the decision that I didn’t do any work and I told everyone that “my brain was off.” A teacher told me that your brain doesn’t fully stop developing until you are twenty-three. I declared that he was wrong because “my brain was already off” and that’s how the remainder of the week went.
And then I was faced with the weekend where I would work at Jesse Camille’s where everyone knows my name because without me there is no restaurant. And since they all know my name they want to know every thing about me. And they always tell me exactly how they feel. When I told them I wanted to major in journalism, they just looked at me and said “No medical school?” No, nothing like that, but thank you for understanding. Since it was a new weekend, they’d ask me about college again and this week, for the first time in three months, I had news for them. This went as follows:
“Where did you apply?”
“Uconn Storrs, Quinnipiac, Stonehill, etc”
“What’s your top?”
“Oh what a great school, have you heard back from anyone?”
“Yeah actually, Uconn.”
“I didn’t get in.”
And now comes the awkward sad eyes and the “wow-I-didn’t-see-that-one-coming.” Then there’s the speech about how I’ll find other place and how I most likely didn’t get into Uconn because I chose a small major like journalism– to which I thought– I am the best journalist ever who else could they possibly take? Their loss. I listened to their story and I was onto the next person who’d I make feel uncomfortable when I told them I didn’t get into my top school. I mean, they’re getting themselves into it once they start it.
It feels like it’s been fortnights since I didn’t get into Uconn, but it’s only been a week. And slowly but surely, I make my recovery. I’m just kidding, I’m perfectly fine.
Although slightly discouraged and disheartened, I learned you can’t always get what you want in life. I learned you could always work a little harder, and I guess I have to admit that there’s a method behind their madness. Maybe a campus of 25,000 students won’t work for me considering I like having extra help and,of course, extra attention. And maybe a city school is best for my journalism major. And maybe I was right freshmen, sophomore, and junior year, who really wants to spend their days with cows and nature? Now that I really think about it, I hate grass and open fields. I like waking up to the sound of traffic and busy feet and humans well on their way to accomplish their dreams in my favorite city, Boston. I’m not one for that dirty water, but I hope to one day make the city of Boston my home.