. . . today learned that she had been accepted by the college of her choice. That she was headed to college before today was already clear, in that she had been admitted by others, but she was anxiously awaiting the news from this particular school.
I'm just a family friend, so when I called to congratulate her, I asked, "Am I allowed to be proud of you?" Her reply, "Oh, yes you can!"
I was really happy to get that response. I had nothing to do with her success. But I reserve the right to be proud. She worked hard for this -- academics, athletics, volunteer service -- and she did it her way. Notwithstanding a college application system that sometimes felt like a random process, she deserved to get in.
But, I am not just proud of her. I am proud of the dozens of kids I know and the many more I don't know who made a multi-year commitment to personal and academic excellence in high school and who are now set for the intellectual and social growth they will experience in college.
But what of that random process, the one that left equally hard working and talented kids disappointed? For many years, the late Boston Globe columnist David Nyhan published a column at this time of year entitled, "The college rejection letter." It has probably helped thousands of kids deal with the disappointment of not being accepted at their hoped-for college. The final paragraph says it nicely, in the somewhat rough language David would sometimes employ:
And the admissions department that said no? Screw them. You've got a life to lead.