Monthly Archives: November 2015

The College Experience: I Didn’t Get In

College applications are pretty important.

The first eighteen years of life in the US educational system are a gradient. What you do in first grade affects the rest of your life less than what you do in second grade, and so on. If you’re not careful, you end up like the frog in the slowly heating pot: the water boiled so slowly, it never jumped out and saved itself. Maybe once you graduate from middle school to high school, the gravity of the situation impresses itself on you. Colleges look at high school transcripts, after all. But that level of awareness is hard to maintain for four years, so perhaps around sophomore year, the bigger picture gets little fuzzy.

All this meandering to say by the time I hit senior year in high school, I was too laid back to pull my act together for college applications. I had plenty of stuff to put on them–in a lazy way, all through high school, I’d been saying, “Oh, yeah, I’ll join that club. It’ll be good for my college resume.” I just lacked the motivation and study habits to sit down and work on my college essays.

So it happened that on December 31, minutes before the deadline, I was frantically typing out the first draft of an application essay to Williams College.

Williams College, for those who don’t know, is the best private college in the United States of America. It’s topped Forbes’ list for years, sitting up there like a shining college on the hill. Graduates leave with top-tier educations and bright futures. People work on their applications for this school for months, discounting the years of stellar high school performance needed to even consider filling out an application.


I got on the waiting list. I didn’t deserve even that.

I’m happy where I am now; by a fortuitous turn of events that I do not deserve, everything turned out very well for me. But I know I could have done better, and I know I will never get a second chance.

Of course I could always attempt a transfer, but it’s too late for me now; I’ve fallen in love with where I am, I actually landed a great location with many opportunities, and my financial aid here is not likely to be topped elsewhere. The point is, guys, your college application essays are so, so important. It’s terrifying to think something you do in your senior year of high school can so greatly and directly impact the rest of your entire life. Instead of hiding, fight! Write the best damn essays you’ll ever write because these essays are a direct investment in your future. If you think you’ll be cursing yourself out five years down the line, you need to put some more work in.



Karen stepped outside the front door of his apartment after fast-forwarding through three hours of footage from the security camera mounted outside his door. He did not look through the peephole installed in the door, which was progress. Once he was safely settled in his car–he’d checked that the backseat was empty and there were no bombs underneath, and then he locked the doors–he made a note of it on his phone. Tell Harman I did not check peephole on Monday morning. He set it to Do Not Disturb so that it couldn’t startle him while driving  and carefully set it in the passenger seat.

When he looked up, he saw a couple of the neighborhood kids waiting for the bus. They stared at him. Karen looked away.

The gate at the entrance to his community opened as slowly as ever, and he drummed his fingers on the wheel, trying not to turn around and drive back home. Mondays were the worst. Those or Fridays. Going to work after a weekend of high-security solitude was terrible, but so was the last day of the work week, when his nerves had been scraping horror movie music for five days in a row. Fridays, he was exhausted, too tired to be terrified, which in a way was worse because he became resigned to–to–well, to the worst happening, and when he got home alive and unharmed, the relief sometimes brought him to his knees.

Mondays, though, he was refreshed and able to fear more intensely. Karen hated Mondays.