A year ago today I was standing backstage at a dress rehearsal for my senior year musical when I decided it would be a good idea to check my email. Upon doing so I received some of the worst news that any college senior can receive- I was deferred from my first choice university. Now I know what some of you might be thinking. "Why is that such a big deal? Couldn't you have just chosen to go somewhere else?" What you need to understand is that because of the staggering cost of college tuition my parents required that I stayed in state for school and Michigan State is honestly the only school in Michigan that I can see myself attending. That being said, receiving my deferral notice absolutely crushed me. I felt as if my life was crumbling around me. I felt like a failure. But worst of all, I felt like I had let everyone around me down.
Looking back, being deferred SUCKED. While all of my friends were posting their admissions to various impressive schools on Facebook and Twitter, I was left struggling to build myself back up and figure out the necessary steps to ensure that I would be admitted. So, I did everything I could. I threw myself into my classes and worked harder than ever before to prove to MSU that I was worthy of a spot at their school. Long story short, my hard work kind of payed off, but not really. In late May I received word that I HAD been admitted to MSU, but not until their second semester begins in January. This meant that I was once again left out as one by one my friends packed up their bags and left for school. Although the first month or so was rough, eventually I adjusted to my alternative college experience. I registered for classes at a nearby community college, got a job at a local art theatre, and decided to focus on spending some time on myself. Now with only two months until I leave for Michigan State, I can safely say that the time really has flown by and I have learned some valuable lessons from this experience that I want to share with you.
1. College admissions aren't everything.
It sounds cliche, but there really is more to life than getting into college. High school teenagers are programmed to believe that getting into college is the only way to be successful in life. We are so wrapped up in our world of college admissions that we fail to realize that an acceptance to a university is in no way indicative of our intelligence or our worth as a human being. Although it was nice to finally be accepted to MSU come January, this experience has helped me to realize that being admitted to college isn't everything, and being rejected isn't the end of the world even if it feels like it.
2. Time will fly, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't make the most of it.
When I was informed in May that I wouldn't be heading off to college until Janurary, it felt eons away. But now as I sit here more than half way through the semester I can safely say that the time really has flown by. Life is so ridiculously short that its silly to waste it waiting for something. Although I admit to having a "Days until MSU" countdown going on my calendar, I am really trying to cherish this extra time that I get to spend at home. I'm spending more time with my parents and grandparents, and even my friends who are still in high school. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, so I am trying to make use of the extra time that I've been given at home and make it meaningful in some way.
and most importantly
3. Being rejected from college will not make your family and friends love you any less, and it will not make them ashamed of you.
I am a people pleaser. I am constantly thinking about how my actions will impact the people that I love and I always strive to make them proud and do right by them. That being said, the first thing that came to mind upon hearing I was deferred was that I had let my family down. I thought of my parents having to tell their friends that their daughter was a failure, and of my little cousins thinking that I was stupid. I thought of all of my friends moving on without me and refusing to be associated with their idiot friend who couldn't even get admitted to college. Of course I could not have been more wrong. My family and friends were incredibly supportive of me throughout my deferral process. They held me while I cried, built me back up when I felt like a failure, and most importantly they never failed to remind me that I am so much more than a college admission. To anyone reading this who supported me over the past year, I truly cannot thank you enough, I don't know how I would have done it without each and every one of you.
So yes. Being deferred is shitty, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but I am living proof that it won't kill you. If you are fortunate enough to have to a strong support system like I did you will get through it and maybe, just maybe, you'll find it wasn't as bad as you thought it would be. Remember, our lives are not shaped by the situations we are put in, but rather how we choose to respond to them. I chose to make the most of my deferral and I find that I'm happier than I have been in a very very long time.