The day after my dream university sent me my rejection email was the first day I ever went to school without makeup on. I had not wanted to go to school at all, but my mother told me to “check my privilege” and then proceeded to pack me into the car. I walked into biology class with craters under my eyes that usually were masked by heavy dollops of concealer. They were especially deep and outlined by yesterday’s mascara that had been deposited there by hours’ worth of tears.
I bitterly explained that my life’s goals had been pulled out from under my feet. After writing and rewriting essays, dedicating around 500 hours to community service projects, taking the ACT five times, and working to maintain a GPA worthy of a high achiever, my top choice school had rejected me. It seemed to me that the difference between a successful writer and a writer whose books are only bought by family members was an education. Then I cried in public, which is something I had made a rule against doing because it displayed weakness.
Alyssa looked down at her University of Texas sweatshirt and then back at me.
“You’re going there for nursing. You made the right choice,” I said weakly before slumping back in my desk in a gloomy heap.
Tristen, the son of an established pig farmer, looked over at me from his desk. He had little to no understanding of failure. He did his schoolwork with precision and accuracy and then took care of the family’s collection of hogs, all named after rappers and their wives, on top of that. He looked sympathetic.
“If I hadn’t gotten into A&M’s Animal Science program I probably would look even worse than you do now,” Tristen said.
I was not comforted by this inadvertent attack on the state of my personal appearance. I broke my own rule and cried again.
“You looked this bad when Kim Kardashian died!”
“That’s because we lost the best sow we’ve had in years!”
I had had a solid plan. I was going to get out of Texas and go to the school where I would be given instruction guaranteed to make me successful by the time of the first high school reunion. A strategy that had been in the works for years was crumbling at its foundation. I was going to have to reevaluate.
This reevaluation lasted until the day when I was forced to choose to a university. I stared at my open laptop on the table, surrounded by extensive pro-con lists and the quarters I had been flipping to help speed along the decision making process. Veiled in misery, I committed to Boston University.
I now am a sophomore here at BU and am satisfied with my decision. I am taking classes that make me feel more passionate about academic subjects than I ever thought possible. I have a wonderful, funny group of friends with ambitions similar to my own. I am out of Texas and receiving the education I always imagined for myself.