Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed by school or school work, I always try to remember what got me here and how lucky I am to be here.
When I received my acceptance letter from W&M, it was December. I applied early decision. There was really only one decision for me. I was in a wedding at the Wren Chapel when I was about 4 or 5 years old, and I told my mother that day “I’m going to go to school here.”
With that goal in mind, I tailored my entire educational career to getting into the College of William and Mary. You may think I’m overexaggerating, but that’s just how it was. In 3rd grade, when I got a “needs improvement” on a math paper, I was horrified because people with “needs improvements” didn’t get into William and Mary. That kind of attitude only intensified when I entered high school. I was determined to take all the right classes, and make As in all the right classes so I could secure my spot at the College.
When Junior year rolled around, I made my appointment with the college counselor to talk about my options for college. Both of my parents attended this meeting, and we were all told that W&M would be a “reach” for me. The counselor suggested that I took more carefully at schools like James Madison University, George Mason University, and Longwood. I was horrified. Granted, these are all good schools, but in my mind they are NOT what I wanted. I wanted Williamsburg and colonial people and Duke of Gloucester Street. I was crushed: so crushed that I almost didn’t apply.
I went into turbo mode: I did everything I could for the next two years to get into W&M. I took as many APs as I could, volunteered, set up an interview at William and Mary, inquired about shadowing a class.
The waiting almost killed me. Senior year was not the easiest year of my life. I was neurotic about possibly not getting into college, I was making myself ill, I was probably living with an undiagnosed thyroid disease, I got mono, I got denied the role I lusted for in the spring musical…life was hard Senior year. I remember sitting in the local pizza parlor with my mom the night before the letter was supposed to come: all my friends who applied Early decision had already gotten their letters, their ACCEPTANCE letters. I was sure that with five of my classmates getting in, there was no chance I would get in. I remember sobbing at the pizza parlor, telling my mom if I didn’t get in, I honestly had no idea what I was going to do. Nobody in my house slept that night. I heard my dad go to work at 5 that morning, and my eyes had still never shut. That morning, in the freezing rain, my mom and I went to sit at the post office. The post wasn’t put up until 11, and it was 8am when we got there…but I had to be anywhere but home. I even told the postmaster that I was looking for an envelope…maybe a big one, and if she saw it to please let me know.
The postmaster walked out into the rain with nothing in her hands…I could have cried right there. Then she pulls out a big envelope from her jacket and asks “is this it?” I ripped into the envelope so quickly that I failed to notice it said “Welcome” in big letters on the front. I read the first line of the letter and sobbed. My mother sobbed. The postmaster sobbed. I called my dad, and he sobbed. That was it: the culmination of everything I had wanted and everything I had worked for for literally 13 years of my life was right in my hands on green and gold letterhead.
My dad came home from work at the end of the day, and he was wearing a william and mary baseball hat. “I put this in my car this morning, just in case,” he said, beaming.
That’s what I have to remember. On days when school seems pointless, and I feel like I’m not as smart as everyone (or anyone) else here. I remember how hard I worked, and I remember how much I wanted this. I remember the look on my dad’s face, and I remember how my mother cried with me at the pizza parlor the night before. I remember how much they want for me: it was never about William and Mary. It was just about me being happy. When I lose sight of how much I love school and I love this college, I just have to remember what it took to get me here, and how blessed I really am.