In the beginning of the college application process, I promised myself that no matter where I ended up, I would embrace the opportunities and maintain my high ambitions. Despite the rejection letters still stored in my email inbox, I don’t regret applying to those top universities in the slightest. I’ve learned that the process is as important as the product and that setting the hurdle high isn’t a bad thing as long as you can get back up and brush yourself off. Oddly enough, realizing how crazily competitive college admissions are these days actually assures me in a way – at least I know the world’s future rests in the competent hands of our generation. Life is undoubtedly full of rejections, but no one rejection is a full measure of your self-worth. I hope that I, along with the other high school graduates of 2014, will remember that.

I’ve also learned not to discount my accomplishments. There are people who would give anything to attend the schools whose offers of admission I’ve decided not to accept, and my idealistic vision of always being among the best does not grant me the privilege of lamenting what I perceive as “not good enough”. For the longest time, I’ve followed the philosophy of “not settling”, but there’s a fine line between striving for improvement and self-criticism for the sake of superiority.

Here I stand at the end of this 7+ month journey. Decisions are tough and none more so than the choice of where I will be attending college for the next four years. Two very different schools sit on opposite coasts of the country, stretching me thin in this mercurial game of tug-of-war. When the choice is made, it will signify both a moment of finality and the beginning of a new adventure.



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