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Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Finding Solace in College Rejection
We're still muddling through March. College admissions and rejection letters are trickling in. With them, comes the heavy referendum on self-worth.
I've written many times about the positives on the college landscape. Most universities do accept students. College isn't everything. The best college isn't necessarily the one that is the hardest to get into.
But New York Times columnist Frank Bruni put things in a more elegant perspective than I could hope. He and I are of the same mind when it comes to college admissions as a threshold event in life. Yet, he reminds his readers of what college should be, a "singular opportunity to rummage through and luxuriate in ideas, to realize how very large the world is and to contemplate your desired place in it".
This, he says, is lost in the chaos of college admissions, which has evolved, in his words, to "a border to be crossed" instead of "a land to be inhabited and tilled for all that it is worth". College is a place, not a finish line. And if students are able to look at it as fertile ground, rather than a trophy, they will see that where they go doesn't matter in the long-haul.
In life, everyone has the potential to till the soil. So why do we treat college admission as an all-or-nothing affair? Potential does not evaporate with a rejection letter. Instead, we learn about disappointment, dusting ourselves off, and getting up again.
Like Bruni, I have put many years between me and my college experience. Which makes it a bit easier to be philosophical about its significance. Sometimes, however, grown-ups have had their knees scarred by experience. And it isn't so bad.
The full blog, and a moving letter from some very wise parents, can be found here:
NY Times >
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