Decision Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Myself

Ah, spring break! A time to decompress, relax, breath deep, and preapre for the final haul of projects and work that looms over us all. For some of you, this also means the end of a long wait. One day to go, Candidates! You soon will be getting a decision in the mail that will change your course for better. "But wait, William, you charismatic blogger," you say, waving your hand. "Isn't the saying 'For better or for worse'?" And I would say you would be right. But that saying does not apply. No matter what decision comes next week, you should know that it is only a positive one, even if it may seem negative at first. And of course, the strangest things may surprise you in ways you never would have imagined. So, here comes my tale of how I found out my Olin Admission's Decision, also know as Decision Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Myself.

Dr. Strangelove Movie Poster
I am bad at photoshop, so unedited this will have to do. And it's surprisingly accurate.

Our story begins a week and a year ago today, the day before Spring Break at my High School. I talked to my friend, a very good friend of mine, who's name is Josh. Josh is a swimmer, a navy guy, and a general all around guy, and the scrawny nerd me was always amazed that we, despite our differences, became such good friends through computer science. So, I talked with him after class and asked if he could stop by my house the next Friday. He, of course, asked why. Now, Olin's online portal was going down for maitnence the week they were releasing decisions for my year, so the UPS package would arrive well before I could check online. That wouldn't be a problem, however, I was going to be away on a famly vacation over spring break, and wouldn't be back until the decisions were posted online anyway. It was quite the pickle. But Josh said he was going to be around the area my house was anyway, so he'd stop by! I was estatic, and I thanked him so much for helping me out.

Fast forward a few days, and it is Thursday. Sitting with my family in our hotel room, I look whistfully over the vast pacific ocean and the distance between me and the UPS man who, no dobut, had either stopped by my house or passed it over. I had known that for Candidate's weekend the transitit time for the UPS guy was precicely one day, and it would arrive at my house around 7PM that night, which had long past by the hour that I was looking. I pushed it out of my mind as best I could though, and enjoyed a good meal later that night.

Hawaii View
Something rather close to my view. It was nice.

Later that night, my parents got a phone call from the alarm company. They had responded to a glass breaking alarm at my house around 11PM, and police were there and bumbling around. My first worry was that someone had broken in. My second, and much less rational worry, was that someone had stolen the letter off the doorstep (if it was there!). Again though, I pushed it out of my mind, and went on to tomorrow with high hopes that Josh would send me good word.

The next day, a few things happened in paralell. As we were preparing to pack to island hop over to Kauai, Someone who helps take care of the house stopped by on my Grandmother's request, and made sure everyting was in order. They also moved an envelope inside, but nobody knew about that at the time. She then went to tell my grandmother what she knew, including telling her about an envelope she moved, but that news would not reach me until later that day. Josh called around noontime, and was walking up to my house. There was excitement welling in my chest, heart was pounding, and I waited.... He said he saw nothing.

You get nothing
You lose. Good day sir.

In an instant, I felt crushed. Deflated. I was so excited to go to Olin. Candidate's weekend was one of my favorite moments of the year, perhaps of most of  my high school days. It was just so exciting to be around such smart and interesting people, to do all this cool stuff, to meet all these wonderful students, and to live and breath Olin, just for a few days. And to have all of that come crashing down around you is painful, to say the least. I remember talking to my mom, who was consoling me, "If it were any other school, I would have been able to say that they didn't know me, that I was just a number and some test scores." And you do get that sense. In a way, if you really want to go to Olin, and you get rejected, it somehow hurts much much more then being rejected from any other school. It's the curse of what is, in my opinion, the best possible admissions process. Because it involves the trip out to the school, those who fall in love with it obviously feel a sense of attachment, and to have that stripped away can hurt.

But in that hurt came clarity. Because as I sat on the plane, I smiled a bit. While Olin would have been a wonderful place to go, I still had other options. And I know now that if I hadn't gotten in, if there was no letter, I would have been excited to attend any of the other schools that I had gotten into! I might have ended up attending a school where a good friend decided to attend in paralell with me, or perhaps found myself on the west coast, or somewhere completely different! And all of my experiences and challenges would be different and new and exciting! We make a big hoorah about the place that people go to spend four years of their life, but in the end, no matter where you go, you will make big waves, and you will be happy. It sounds kind of wishy washy, but I felt that way, everyone whom I talked to who didn't go to their first choice felt that way... It's the sign that despite all the crazyness of admissions and the math.random() that works into the whole process, people end up in places that are good fits for them. And that's important.

Now, as you probably have guess, this story has a much different ending. Around 6PM that night, as we were about to sit down for dinner, my grandmother emailed my Father and told him that in fact, she knew that our housekeeper friend had moved an envelope inside. After debating with my mom for a few moments, he dropped the factoid on me, and I had to excuse myself to run outside and shout for a moment (just as a family was walking in... awkard!). And after the vacation was done, I arrived back after a long flight to see a UPS envelope, a letter, and a flash drive waiting for me. In a way, I'm glad it worked out how it did. Because it helped me to realize in the end, it's what you make of your four years, not what the four years make of you.