The New York Times stooped to a new low by publishing a not-worth-a-dime item on college admissions. Sh*t, that’s not news. Not from my standards. It’s more like the NY Times sales pitch, so screw it. Let’s get to what they’ve got to say. Here is their first argument:
Peter & Jenna managed to do well even without it:
Yes, that, according to the NY times, is an argument! Even a high school kid could spot the glaring fallacy in it: That some smart kids who couldn’t get into an Ivy League school managed to do well even without it doesn’t prove that if you didn’t go there, you are well on the road to something big. It merely proves that there are some students who will find their way to the top even if they don’t have one of the hallowed brands of higher education on their CV. Is that news? Heck, no. Here’s what Harvard has got to say about its process:
“Of course, no process is perfect. Inevitably, some students who are not admitted will see great success, and even with a 97 to 98 percent graduation rate, some admitted students might have been better served at another institution”
So if you are one of those thousands who have been turned down by the school of your choice, I’ve got some bad news for you: you simply weren’t good enough. It’s harsh, it’s cruel, it’s heart-rending, but it’s true. And facing the truth now will save you a lot of pain later. Stay in the state of self-denial, as these popular-views-pandering paparazzi would have you do, and you’ll see all your bubbles bursting at some point in the future. And when they do, they will burst all at once, and then, all hell’s gonna break loose. And your entire life from that fateful point will be nothing but a tale, relentless and endless, of gloom and depression. Do you want that? If yes, go on and keep believing that you were good enough & Ivy League schools are stupid. But you could be another Peter or Jenna, no?
Well, yes. I am not saying that the admissions process at the top schools is fool proof. It’s not. And there will always be students who are smart, yet won’t make it. But the percentage of those students will be small. Not everybody turned down will go on to build Apple or Ali Baba. There will be a Steve Jobs somewhere in the rejected pile, but there will be only one. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that just because you haven’t been admitted means you’re good enough. So should you accept a low self-worth and live with it for the rest of your life? Well, here’s the trick.
The traditional elite would have you believe that if you went to an Ivy League school, you will do great. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t. The dissenting voices like the NY times’ would have you simply dismiss the worth of going to a good school. For this latter lobby, it’s no big deal that you didn’t attend a prestigious school. The reality is somewhat different. Actually both of these groups put you in, what philosophers call, a false dilemma, i.e. they give you wrong choices. They limit your choices and exclude many other equally strong possibilities.
The reality is that the stage of rejection is an important point in the life of any student. You can simply choose to sink into a state of denial or accept the reality. If you accept the reality, then you are left with two options: A) Buy the old school’s view and accept that you are going nowhere in life- which is surely false; B) Accept the reality that you are not good enough, spot your weaknesses, work on them and be like Peter and Jenna. And that’s possible. Human beings show very little variation in terms of intelligence. If one person could do it, there is all the likelihood in the world that you could do it too provided you take the necessary steps. Simple!
The Crap called Self-Worth:
This is an equally important part of the rejection stage. The NY Times article includes the letter of a boy whose parents told him before the acceptance/rejection intimation stage that his worth didn’t depend on the outcome of his college application. To some extent, it’s true.
The thing about self-worth and the school you attended is that your self-worth surely doesn’t depend on your college, but to the world outside, it pretty much does. Yes, the world, the real world is cruel and insensitive. You may not like to hear this, but it’s a fact. The world is very unforgiving and if you think you’ll be judged on your own strengths and not by your school name, you are damn wrong. Employers don’t give a sh*t about your realities. They need guarantees and prefer to stick with the brand names they already trust. Most employers- and by most, I do mean most– would not even give you a hearing if you didn’t attend a top tier school. You will never get the interview call, and be fu*king real, there’s hardly anything you can do that will make you stand out in a competition where everyone is trying to stand out unless you have built Facebook. And if you think you’ll be able to build it by the time you graduate from your mid-tier college, good fu*king luck!!!
My Little Suggestion:
So don’t just dismiss your rejection, slip into self-denial or start telling yourself that everyone from Harvard to Berkeley made a mistake. Take a day or two off. Then go back to your room and start analyzing. Read what was expected of you. Going through the profiles of the people who got accepted could be one good idea. Read on what SAT exams are supposed to assess. Then make a list of the skills your dream college graduates are expected to possess. After you have made these two lists, stick them to the wall in front of your study table or bed, and start working on them. Make it your target that, by the time you graduate from your mid-tier school, you’ll have mastered both the skills that you lack and the ones the ideal graduates are expected to have. And one more thing: do something alongside to spice your CV, like learning a language or winning a debating competition. This will help you stand out from the crowd. Here’s another good tip: download the resumes of some “ dream graduates” and start learning a skill that they don’t have. This will give you a small leg-up when you’d be competing against their juniors. Best wishes!
If you’d like me to write for you, simply ping me at firstname.lastname@example.org. 🙂