Valentine’s Day: College Edition

by Daniel Pugeda

I was pacing back and forth in my room. I had just received an email saying my college decision letter was just updated. After months of waiting and agonizing over my application, NYU had finally released their decisions for Early Decision applicants. For better or worse, I knew that my life was about to change as soon as I opened my letter. It said…

Dear Daniel,

After careful review of your application and all supporting documents, we would like to offer you… a place on our waitlist. Though we very much appreciate your interest in NYU, you are now released from your Early Decision Agreement.

Dang! After studying every day to maintain a good GPA and to get high SAT scores, after stretching myself thin with extracurricular activities and sports, after striving to be the model student, and after pouring parts of my soul into my application essays, I found myself friend-zoned by my dream college right before Valentines Day. I laid on my mom’s bed while anger, confusion, and disappointment clouded my head. I felt completely frozen in place and it took me an hour before I was able to compose myself.

I thought that if I couldn’t get into NYU then my whole high school experience was a waste of time. I felt like a failure. It seemed to me that high school is meant to prepare students for college. Since I didn’t get accepted to NYU my self-worth tanked based on my college decision. 

It’s been three months since I was ghosted by my dream school,  but I finally realized something: my time in high school wasn’t wasted. Throughout my last four years, I formed many close relationships, received exposure to the real world through work experience and internships, and created a strong work ethic that will help me to succeed no matter where I go. I was so fixated on NYU’s prestige, ranking, and resources because I thought that they would guarantee a successful career. Ultimately I realized that college isn’t the only measure of success, and that the skills I developed in high school are more valuable than the name of any university.

Graphic by neveah carr