The email inbox for a college applicant at this time of March can be an emotional minefield. Each “ding” alerting the Senior to a newly received message can create a heart-pounding, nervous-butterflies-in-the-stomach-hand-quivering-as-you-click-the-mouse-on-the-bolded-new-message-from-such-and-such-college, frantically searching the opening text for, “Congratulations!” and instead seeing, “With a record number of applications, we regret we were unable to admit you to the Class of 2017…” or something to that effect. The possible wind-knocked-out-of-me feeling that materializes as you realize you’re not breathing can come next. Then, the flood of why questions and what if’s…and comparisons to who did get accepted and “Why them, not me?” speculation can take over in the middle of being shocked, possibly embarrassed. The mental swirl can become outwardly apparent when the first person anxiously asks about the admissions office’s response, and a torrent of emotion bursts out. After all, who wants to be told, “No”? Yuck. Double yuck yuck.
Some may try and soothe hurt feelings with adages like, “There’s a silver lining in every rain cloud” or “When a door closes, a window opens.” In the future, you may find solace in the aforementioned sayings; however, for now, be disappointed or whatever the reaction. Makes sense to be disappointed and possibly feel personally slighted; you shaped your life’s work into little boxes on the application form and wrote a personal essay that may have been stressful to craft, offering yourself for judgement. Then, a stranger, made a decision that your experiences didn’t fit the criteria for an acceptance, without telling you an exact reason(s) why. Well, you can see where there’s some room for disenchantment. Now what? If you work with the truth of your experience (even unpleasant feelings), a test of character, like an admissions rejection, can ultimately strengthen your resolve and build confidence. In the future, you’ll know that no matter the challenge, you persevered. You may build faith that life is unpredictable, then take unmet expectations less seriously in the future, which can free you to continue to pursue whatever flights of fancy, living life as fully as possible. Then, you’ll naturally find the “silver lining” and “window”.
Photo Credit: Knowledge is Power