A Letter To High School Seniors: You Are Not Defined By A College Rejection Letter

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Dear Seniors,

I remember the sinking feeling in my chest when I got the letter in the mail. It had a college crest on the corner of the envelope and appeared to contain only one sheet of paper. I already knew what it was before I even opened it. I already knew that the words on that piece of paper would form a brief, impersonal rejection letter. 

I opened the envelope, and just like that, a simple piece of paper completely changed everything. Except this isn't a sad story. Everything changed, but it would end up being the best thing that could possibly happen. The college didn't want me. I was rejected. It kinda sucked. But it was okay.

I didn't know it at the time but now, a year later, I've come to realize that this rejection closed a door. In fact, it slammed the door in my face, but there's always a window. And I found the window. Sometimes all your plans go wrong, but suddenly you realize that yes, everything went wrong, but you're exactly where you need to be. Things didn't work out the way you wanted them to, but there's a lot of joy and love and adventure in Plan B.

I'm telling this story because by this time, you've probably received a college rejection letter in the mail. Unless you're me. In that case, you've probably received 2 or 3 rejection letters in the mail. But you are so much more than a college rejection letter.

It may not feel like it, but this letter is ensuring that you will end up exactly where you're supposed to be. Maybe you need to do basics at a community college. Maybe you're going to go to a state school for a year and transfer into MIT. Maybe you're going to get a scholarship to a small school you overlooked. Maybe you're going to stay close to home. Maybe you're going to end up in another country or across the United States. Maybe this letter is the start of something incredible.

Don't focus on this closed door. Instead, look around for the open window. Because there is one. There's something wonderful planned for you, and as of right now, it doesn't involve the college that didn't accept you. There's a school that wants you. There's a place where you're going to grow and thrive. It might be your first choice college, or it might be the last place you wanted to end up, but it's exactly where you need to be.

So take rejection letters with a grain of salt. They're a bruise, not a tattoo. You're on your way to better things and bigger skies, and you don't have time for schools that don't want you.


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