The worst letters I ever received were during my senior year of high school. I had a plan. I’d go to some New England college. My then girlfriend was heading to a college in that area. I wasn’t going to go to the same one as her, but I’d be going to one close by. We’d last through college and we’d end up together somewhere in Maine or Massachusetts.
There were two letters in a few day stretch that destroyed that dream. One was from Bowdoin College. I really wanted to go there. I had an extremely comfortable t-shirt from there. It was historic, small, and comfortable. I had a great experience on the tour. My girlfriend was going to one of the other schools in Maine. That’s where we’d end up. I don’t exactly remember when I got that letter saying I was rejected, but I do remember heading up the guidance counselor's office and crying.
There was another letter from Dartmouth. It was an email, actually. That was my second favorite. I didn’t get in there either. I suppose you shouldn’t pin your hopes on a school that has about an eight percent acceptance rate. I think the email came in the morning. Those two letters made me reevaluate everything. I’d hate to admit it, but that was the moment I think I knew things weren’t going to last with the girl.
I remember thinking that this was unfair. So many other people I knew were getting their storybook high school graduations. They were getting the ideal relationships and comfortable situations. I wouldn’t know anybody at my school. Turns out, that was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. I’m so much closer with my college friends instead of my high school friends. (I don’t know if that’s necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, but I really treasure those college relationships.)
I forced myself to try and find some silver linings. The biggest silver lining was that I knew where I’d be going to college: in Minnesota. I’m so glad I ended up at Saint John’s instead of some place out east. I just didn’t realize that at the time.
We sputtered along for a few more years before things came to a halt. It’s probably for the best that it happened that way. From what I hear of her, she sounds like she’s a happy and settled person. And I’m pretty content with things as well. I’m settled, happy, and I don’t have too many regrets.
I thought that my college rejection letter was the worst thing that ever happened to me. I wasn’t going to be going to my dream school and I wouldn’t be with my girlfriend. I’d be settling in to some rural school in the middle of nowhere. Of course, that decision turned out to be one of the best I ever made. I think things turn out, you just don’t know how or when they will. It just takes so much time.