Ah, what a time to be back! The air chills your bones, and the wind rushes through your hair as you remember wow, I really need a haircut.
The start of the second half of the year has been flurried with these fine moments, I did plenty of reflection over break. A time marked by copious college writing and research, I found little “break” during my break at all.
This all makes it sound like being deferred from college was bad. And it definitely was: I wish I was in college right now. But taking a step back to reflect, I have realized how impactful this failure has been to my life.
I want to preface my story by saying that my experience was not heartbreaking: I knew the risks I took when applying to college, and it’s been more than uncertain this year. But I was definitely disheartened as I opened my letter of deferral. I was a bit numb, as my family sat around my computer, anxiously waiting to hear the news. A laugh, a brief moment, and a response: “I got chalked.”
My parents were not disappointed in me, but they were definitely sad. We went back to the table, enjoyed some noodles, and watched another episode of The Office. This time, though, my stomach was knotted and I was shell shocked.
I went to sleep that night, or I tried to, and I began to think about my path to my current position.
I kept my parents at a distance when completing my application and struggled to find a satisfying narrative to write about for my essays. I convinced myself that I was putting in my maximum effort, but I knew that had not been totally true. And most of all, I had believed I was better than those around me, and that for some reason, I deserved more than others—I was clearly wrong.
I used to be someone who was afraid to admit when I blunder. Failing stings; failing in relationships, failing in school, failing in sports. But my biggest failure over the past few years has been a calculated effort to avoid acknowledging my shortcomings. And that, my friends, is the biggest lesson I learned. It’s easy enough to say that mistakes can be good, but actually learning from them takes action. Looking yourself in the mirror and seeing your failure; waking up with that failure in your brain every morning; wearing this failure on your sleeve.
I also realized the value of my family. I’ve always loved my family and the best part of my break was learning we would be adding to our collective with a dog. But your family are the only people in your life that you can always count on to fight for you. When you are struggling, you may be embarrassed to turn to your family to ask for help, but in fact, that’s the best time to reach out. I failed to utilize my best resources the first time around, and I knew I wouldn’t make that mistake again.
So while my break was hardly a break, it was the perfect reset in mentality for school: Late night revisions with my parents, connecting with old friends, enjoying a good book. So maybe this was the best break I could have asked for, but I hope you can take this lesson into your own life. Care for the important people in your life and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. They often teach you the most.