Dealing With College Rejections


Anonymous Senior, Staff Writer

Worthless. Lost. Not good enough. As I read what seemed like never-ending letters that started with, “We regret to inform you…” I felt the world as I knew it crumble in the palm of my hands. Throughout my 4 years in high school, I tried my hardest to live up to my own expectations. Late nights finishing an assignment, tears of doubt and stress, and the eye-strain that comes with working on the computer for so many hours. Did all my hard work go to waste? Was it even worth it in the first place? 

Like many students, I expect the absolute most from myself at all times, even if I’m struggling with something else. To the point where I ask myself, “Am I sacrificing my own mental stability to submit an assignment before 11:59?” Never in my life have I turned an assignment in late. In fact, I was that one annoying kid who would have a mental breakdown if I forgot my assignment at home. That’s why you probably understand and may even relate to the frustration and utter disappointment I experienced when I got rejected from schools I thought I had a chance at.

When UCI decisions came out, I anticipated opening up my computer and reading the words ‘Congratulations!’ on the application portal, but instead, you can probably infer where this is going. I got rejected. It felt as if UCI was telling me,  “you’re not good enough”. Considering UCI was in my top 3 schools, I genuinely envisioned my next 4 years going to school there. So, as one normally does, I cried my eyes out for about an hour, constant doubt and intruding thoughts replaying in my mind.

The next college decisions were nothing short of disappointing. Rejected. Rejected. Waitlisted. Waitlisted. Rejected. Now, even though I accept that being put on the waitlist for a school is still an accomplishment I kept thinking, “if they really wanted me at their school they would have just admitted me in the first place”. Feeling like a second option is certainly not the most pleasant feeling in the world.

When I face-timed my best friend crying, she tried to raise my spirits by telling me, “it’s their loss”, “college decisions aren’t a reflection of your worth or you as a person”, etc. Yet, I still couldn’t help but think the opposite. I poured my heart out into those PIQ’s (personal interest questions) and personal essays. If anyone wanted to get to know me well, that’s what I would show them. In a way, it did feel as if the decisions were a reflection of myself.

 If you know me personally, you would know I’m the biggest pessimist ever. The glass is always half-empty, and I’m not a firm believer in the ‘everything happens for a reason’ saying which I believe just sugarcoats the situation. The same applies to the phrase “rejection is redirection”. Yes, technically it’s true, but can we all agree that it should be ‘rejection is painful, and you’re forced to make a plan B’. Not to mention, redirection is hardly anyone’s first choice. Is it so hard to believe that I want life to actually go my way for once? In short, March has been the worst month of my life. 

Seeing my friends open their decisions and get admitted to their dream schools, and even receiving scholarships was incredibly bittersweet. While they were having probably one of the best days of their teenage years, I was having the worst day of mine. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely happy and proud of everyone who got accepted into schools they applied to, but I can’t help but think, why couldn’t that be me? I hate being jealous, but it was almost impossible to fight the feeling. While my friends are having the time of their lives at UCLA, or Yale, would I be missing out? Missing out on incredible opportunities, meeting new people with similar interests, maybe even a better quality education? There’s this preconceived idea in the back of my head that thinks that the university with the lowest acceptance rate is automatically the ‘best’ one, even though I know that couldn’t be any further from the truth.

There is absolutely no shame in community college. In fact, while I wait for my last college decision to come out, it’s seeming like my best and most practical option at the moment. However, it definitely wasn’t what I imagined. Regardless, if you are going through a similar situation I’m here to remind you that I understand and relate to your feelings. Your feelings are valid, and you’re allowed to feel upset that you didn’t get into a certain university. I’m so proud of you, and all the hard work you have done over the past 4 years. And coming from the world’s biggest pessimist, I’m confident that you’ll end up where you need to be.

If you relate to this article, feel free to comment down below and share your thoughts, feelings, or experience. More students are going through this than you might imagine.

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