The Deferral

Two days later, I sit here staring at my deferral letter from my number-one school. Two days later, I sit here with a pit in my stomach, an impalpable fear of the future and a heart that is not so sure it can go on. I switch between the deferral letter and my Facebook page, which just two days ago was filled with long letters filled with hope from friends who believe in me. Two days later, I have come to the decision to move on. Two days later, after letting my top school dictate how I lived my life for the last four years, I have decided to put it behind me, regard it as a farewell for now and maybe a hello again in the future.

This past week, I watched people I was so sure would get into their dream schools get rejected and deferred. People who I admired, looked up to for their passion and dedication to their future, got crushed by the futures they thought were so close to being achieved. I was among them. People believed in me -- they thought I was going to get in. And although I tried as hard as I could to not get my hopes up, I did. And with that came the burn of a not-so-decisive response to the answer I had been seeking for years.

But today, I look back and I am not so much disappointed at the outcome, but more disappointed in the system -- a system that sorts four years' worth of stress, worries and even sometimes tears into three types of decisions. To some, the acceptance would have made the struggle of high school all worth it, and I cannot question that if I had received an acceptance, it would have been enough to allow me to forget the pain and the endurance of the competitive environment I call my high school. To others, the rejection may have caused some tears but they could shake off the decision the next day, excited for what awaits them in the future. To others, the rejection would have left them crushed. And then there are people like me, who do not know if their journey to their dream school is over, but know that the light at the end of the path is slowly dimming. And yet we feed into this process year after year, letting colleges determine our self-worth. After my deferral, I cannot begin to enumerate the amount of people who told me to keep my head up, that I wasn't rejected, that it wasn't the end and that I should keep being hopeful. Everyone expressed that this does not define me; that the decision does not sum up the last four years of my life. But for a fleeting second, there was a feeling that I was not good enough. No matter how fleeting the feeling, it was there, and that is enough for me to question a process that would make me question myself. I shelled out the same replies to friends in similar situations, to people who did not receive the answer they were looking for, believing fully that this does not determine their fate and yet, when it came to myself, I could not believe it. Why do we let such colleges of prestige dictate our self-worth?

Some kids simply didn't meet the numbers and were rejected. Others simply lacked something crucial that made colleges turn away from their application forever or maybe for just the time being. But regardless, what hurts the most and makes me question the institution of college is this: If someone is so passionate, so willing to give up their four years to achieve a dream they thought possible, how could a school not accept them? Even if they may have lacked something, how could a school not accept someone so willing to give up everything to make their dream come true? How could they overlook that passion? How could they turn away a hopeful student simply because they didn't meet the number, when some were so ready to do anything to meet the school's standards?

I don't question that those who got accepted deserve their spot amongst other students at their university. But in the end, what I don't understand and what leaves an ugly feeling in the bellows of my stomach is this: How could you not want me when I wanted you so much?

In the end, maybe I'll regret writing this. Or maybe, 20 years from now, I'll be proud to have written something that was true in my mind today. Some may even call me bitter, but I promise that I am grateful for a deferral rather than a rejection. Maybe I will be given the chance to join my dream school's Class of 2017 next year or maybe I will not. Regardless, what I want to say is this: No matter what decision you have received or will receive this year, it means nothing. If you want to have a bright future, you will, as long as you commit the passion you had for your school towards your future, too. Regardless of whether the school believes in you or not, you need to believe in yourself. You are all that matters. And if it's any consolation, any at all, no matter who you are, just know that I believe in you. I truly do.