About six weeks ago, I applied to my dream college, New York University. NYU has been the school I’ve dreamed of attending since I first watched the movie Eloise at the Plaza. The movie was about a girl who grew up at the Plaza hotel in Manhattan’s upper east side. After falling in love with the romanticized life of Eloise, I knew I was destined to live in the city that never sleeps.
When people think of colleges in Manhattan, they automatically assume NYU and Columbia. Columbia was tad out of my range so I’ve had my eyes set on NYU for as long as I can remember. I applied Early Decision to the school of my dreams…and didn’t get in.
Throughout the whole waiting process I kept expecting the worst and hoping for the best. People kept telling me, “you’ll get in, you’ll get in, don’t worry.”, which of course only made me worry even more. The night I received the email I was pretty torn up, yes. All I could see was failure and my dreams of living and attending college in Manhattan coming to an end. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and felt as if all my work had gone to nothing. I felt as if I had failed myself. I failed to fulfill my dreams and could not see past that.
After a few days of sulking, I had realized that not getting in NYU isn’t the end of my dream. There are other colleges in Manhattan, maybe even other colleges that are better fits for me. I had talked to a friend who graduated the previous year and he did not get into NYU either. He ended up taking a chance, and decided to attend another college in Manhattan called Pace University. He says it was one of the best decisions he had ever made. Although it’s not as prestigious nor pricey, as NYU; he couldn’t have made a better decision. He has all the same experiences of living in the city that an NYU student would get and still has the option of transferring in the future. After hearing his story, it really opened up my mind to researching other schools in the city I could apply to.
I had told myself I was not going to apply only to UC’s. There are so many students at our school who only limit themselves to schools within California, the Cal States and UC’s because that’s all their parents have told them to do or all that they’ve seen. My sister only applied to four schools and lives at home going to CSULB. I knew I could not be satisfied if I didn’t have any other options. I told myself I was going to apply to small out of state colleges despite if anyone the name of the school, or how prestigious it was; I would do it.
When I received the email of a lifetime, I had forgotten completely about what I told myself. So blinded by rejection, I failed to remember that it did not matter if I didn’t get into NYU. I can be just as happy going to a small liberal arts college in Manhattan or any other college. Yes, it was my dream school but another school can always be my dream. My dream of living in Manhattan didn’t have to be over just yet. I became so concerned with the fact that if I went to another college in Manhattan, people would judge me because I couldn’t get into a better more prestigious school like NYU or Columbia. I kept thinking about what others would say of my rejection, rather than what do I really want and where do I really want to attend school.
Similar to waiting in line at Disneyland, dealing with college applications and acceptances can be just as difficult. You’re in line surrounded by screaming kids and scorching heat and can’t help but think..is this line going to be worth it? Will this wait be worth the ride? I’m sure these thoughts have crossed your mind some time. These conflicting thoughts similarly occur during the college application and essay writing process. The hours spent writing, editing, brainstorming instead of sleeping, eating, and hanging out are lost. You question and hope that your work will pay off in the end with an acceptance letter from your dream school. You hope that your essays, grades, and scores are good enough. You spend so much time working at the idea of going to a great college, you forget your purpose.
When you finally get to that end of the line and as you board the ride, you look back and say hey that wait wasn’t so bad. You enjoy your one or two minute ride, despite the sixty minutes you may have waited…it all paid off in the end. I did not get into my dream college, but the process brought me to a new realization. It reminded me of my personal goals of attending a school I will be happy at, not a school that people go to because everyone else does, or because my parents tell me to. I just only hope now that it will pay off as well.