A Bittersweet College Story

I never thought much about applying to college until the summer before senior year. Entering senior year felt like a rush into adulthood. Everywhere I went the recurring question about my future was all anyone asked me, when all I wanted was to get through the senior year.

My ideal college was a small, private school outside of the city. I’ve lived in San Francisco all 18 years of my life and am eager for change. My perfect choice was the University of Hawaii. I recently traveled to Hawaii and fell in love with the culture. I began to envision my life living in Hawaii a place my mom was born and raised and always spoke highly of her life in Hawaii.

Unlike the average senior student, I only applied to 6 private schools and no UCs or CSUs. University of San Francisco, University of Hawaii, Saint Mary’s (Moraga CA), Allegheny College (Meadville PA), Siena College (Albany NY), and Washington and Jefferson (Washington PA). I worked tirelessly perfecting my personal statement and finished my applications months before the deadline. I interviewed with three out of the six schools, Saint Mary’s, USF and Washington and Jefferson, and  felt pretty confident about my interviews. Overall, I felt optimistic while I waited for my decision letters.

October and November were months when I could still focus on my senior year and push college aside, except when I would receive the occasional email from colleges to schedule an interview.

In February I received my first decision letter, which was a rejection letter from my dream school, University of Hawaii. It was disappointing and a little hard for me to get over, but I later went on a tour of Saint Mary’s, and fell in love with the school.

At the beginning of March all my friends who applied to CSUs and UCs started receiving their decision letters, but private school didn’t send out theirs until the end of March which made the wait painful as my impatience grew.

Right before spring break, I started to receive a decision letter every day, all of them being rejection letters, which included Saint Mary’s. Getting three rejection letters in the span of a week felt like a punch in the face! I had spent so much time working towards getting into a good college only to be knocked down by a piece of paper. All the letters said the same thing about how 2018 is a competitive year, we hope you apply next year. I couldn’t help but feel like it had to do with my race. Most colleges are predominantly white and looking for diversity to help the appearance of the college.

I was still waiting to hear back from two of the schools. The two schools that I had put little effort into and applied last minute to. I didn’t even bother waiting eagerly for the last two letters because I hadn’t thought much about those colleges, to begin with. I was sad, but my family and friends told me that it wasn’t the end of the world especially since many of the colleges had promised an acceptance into the spring semester as long as I had good grades at a community college. This still didn’t sound enjoyable because the idea of having to stay in the city while everyone was heading off to college.

I had accepted the fact that I was going to City College along with a large portion of Galileo seniors. Spring break was a nice distraction from the pressure of college. I had come back from a camping trip to both of the last letters from the colleges. I wasn’t very eager to open them because I knew I wasn’t mentally prepared to be rejected again if that was the case. I finally opened the letter from Allegheny College and saw the word that I had dreamed of reading from all the other colleges…. Congratulations!. And on top of being acceptanced into their college, I had received a special Alumni Scholar Award which consisted of a generous amount of money! I was overwhelmed with emotion and happiness.

This whole process has been bittersweet. Not getting into my dream school or my other top choices was frustrating and discouraging at the same time. Not to mention having to wait until the last week of March to find out where I am going to college was exhausting. But getting into Allegheny College despite it not being my top choice made me feel like I could finally breathe again.



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