This is the story about the most tragic thing that happened to me; I was only a senior in high school. Most teenagers worry about not falling down the stairs or about being careful to not spill the cheese-dip on their clothes in front of their crush. All which happened to me, perhaps more than once. But that did not matter as much as the day I received my first rejection letter…from a college. And another one, and another one, until the last one arrived, seemingly with the same news.
I was floored.
What was I supposed to do?
There it was, 4 years of my life, come and gone. These years were summed up in an automated-letter filled with condolences and good wishes to all of us, the not-enoughs.
But I had done everything right — or so I thought. I had a 4.0-something GPA. I had Honor classes, AP classes, extra-classes after school and during summer. I volunteered enough hours — I swear! Too many hours that had gone on a beautifully-typed resume — and to my community!
So I had to ask: What did I do wrong, my dear, capitalistic, America?
Were my tutoring jobs not enough? Did my “A-” appall them? Did they hear about the time I was late for 3rd period?
My response arrived in a deeply-condescending-glare as it shook in disappointment at my performance. I had missed the small print that eventually would dictate my life for the better. The College Board stared down at my efforts and smirked at the fact that I messed up my SAT IIs. I made the majorly huge error (insert sarcasm here) of taking the “Literature” test as opposed to the “Writing” test, which immediately disqualified me from all of the schools who received my application. All the schools, including my plan B, C, and Y. Except…
Laugh if you will, but the sky was surely falling. But as it is with most stories about human resiliency, I had to break the mental barriers and press on. Perhaps the most important lesson I have ever learned happened that year: When all else fails, keep on going.
Which, as you would have it, is the very same lesson that has carried me through the years. Today here I am, a couple degrees later, it turns out I survived. Oh, and community college? The best investment I ever made.