Written by Aarshia Narang, UC CAAS Student
Preparing for standardized tests, building up extracurriculars, working on academic readiness for college, drafting and redrafting essays – mediums to execute your passions and interests, personal growth, and development.
Yes, that can be sapping. We often get swayed by what others are doing, achieving, aiming for. I have realized that competing with yourself is the only way to find yourself; the college application process has been a process of self-discovery. Being the best in the world is a pretty miserable goal because billions of people with different acumens, varied experiences, and divergent goals have stepped on the planet – there is no end to the competition.
Along the way rejection and acceptance decisions help you reflect on what you are good at, what you could get better at, and even if a particular setting was meant for you or not. It helps you become the person you have always wanted to be, a grower, one that fosters self-awareness. Here’s an acknowledgement I sometimes go back to: When I need to pause, I reflect, and then start all over again.
We start our college admission journey with dazzling and invigorating enthusiasm and end up in an entirely different place. Along the way, you start feeling like you aren’t perfect, or there are a million things that need to be done that aren’t being done. You wonder if it could have been different had you made different choices. You’re just a person who’s figuring things out in a world condemned with ambiguity, coming to peace with the versions of yourself you’ll never meet, trying to make the unknown known, and you should know that’s more than okay. Your feelings are valid because this is your life and you don’t need to justify it to anyone (not even yourself). You make the decisions and learn from the results.
If I get accepted, honestly, I won’t get a taste of what real failure is. There are really few people in this world who are crazy enough to transition their abnormality in character and profession into something the rest of the world cherishes for centuries to come. I’m glad I’m set on a path to get there and be one of them. Whether it’s running big companies or working towards the democracies that are hanging by a thread with the fast-paced and evolving technology, education, innovation, and drive – I have the privilege to be among those where I can be myself. Express myself. Make and aid progress. Leverage access to people and power.
On the other hand, if I do get rejected, I hope I remember I need to be proud of myself because I am the only version of me that has ever existed, currently exists, and will continue to exist. My story is valid and unique, and always will be; I’m sorry some institutions failed to see that. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with me. It just means that the ‘what if’ I always had in the back of my mind, is no longer a ‘what if,’ and it feels like I lost a potential version of myself in that foreseeable setting. It really hurts, but I’ll reach where I belong.
As for college acceptance results or otherwise, I hope I will not let any single decision take over me. I’ll grieve if it helps, but a bright future awaits ahead of me, and for everyone during this transparent and authentic process that has displayed my creativity, innovation, and a better version of myself with the quality of work and dedication needed to thrive in a real world ahead.
If I didn’t make it big, at least I failed big. It’s going to be a new world out there, and I got to follow my passions and interests with no restrictions during the four years of high school. I did what I wanted. That’s all that matters, right? I just have to keep doing it again and again.
Right now is when I can start a new chapter, whether with a rejection or an acceptance. I hope the world will precisely be a better place, but that’s only possible if I do me, and be me. Only if I accept myself first. I hope acceptance will come in more and better ways than just college acceptance letters. I believe there’s always hope; till the time there’s life, there’s hope. #YouOnlyLiveOnce