Written by: Boot Bullwinkle
It’s decision time at Gunn High School. Emotional breakdowns are occurring regularly as we all wait for a simple e-mail, college sweatshirts are rarely worn in fear of jinxing chances or offending a rejected peer and classes are spent wondering if it’s all even worth it. But in the midst of this plight and despair is an edifice that example is what Gunn is really about: The Rejection Wall.
The students at Gunn are particularly exceptional: with many extracurricular activities and awards framing high SAT scores and shining GPAs, it’s widely expected the average student to get into a prestigious university.
Being the impatient and decisive individual I am, I made haste to apply to many schools early, certain that I would go there if I got in. In the middle of F period on Nov. 6, I got my first rejection e-mail from Tufts University. There went my number one. It was okay, though I was determined to make the best of whatever school I went to. Two days later: a rejection from Northeastern University.
A few anecdotes later, New York University, Lewis and Clark College, Denver University, University of California, Davis, Boston University, Boston College and George Washington University joined the list. Nine college rejections is admittedly a lot, and people are often bewildered as to why I so openly publish that information. I often have people pity me, and sometimes I’m negatively judged because of my “failures.”
Most of us here at Gunn know that a college rejection is not a failure, and “The Rejection Wall” is a perfect example of that sentiment. Seniors openly display their rejection letters for the whole school to see, and thus the school can sip a strong cup of reality: not everyone gets into the school of their dreams.
While this may seem like a dark and harsh reality, it’s far from that. When it seemed like everybody’s achievements and scores outshined mine, I felt far less inferior knowing that others were in the same boat. It’s no secret that the peer pressure and expectations at Gunn are abnormally high, and as colleges sent out letters, stress was at an all time high two weeks ago. But in the end, I found that the students were accepting, regardless of what school I got into.
But there was something strangely exciting about posting my many letters of rejection. My friends and I gathered all the letters we had and quickly darted over to the Student Activities Center to be the first to have our letters published. I was glad that others could feel more comfortable about their own rejections by seeing the many that I had accrued.
I did end up getting into three colleges, so I’m not in a complete pit of despair. I fully believe that a person has the potential to make the best of any college you get into, and I’m ready to have fun and continue my education in college—something most people never get the opportunity to do. Even if they weren’t my first choices (or second, or third), I’m still glad that I ended up being happy with my different options—and that Gunn is equally supportive.