Well. I’ve been counting down the months, the years, for me to finally say this: it is over.
This past week for many of us seniors was when we heard back from the last few colleges we applied to. For some, it meant joy. For others, it was seen as disappointing. For many, including myself, it is just in some weird middle ground indescribable that does not even fit within these two worlds. These past two weeks have been challenging not just academically but emotionally for a lot of people.
But, rather than diving into the other perspectives, analyzing this process as a whole (which I hope to do over the next few weeks), I wanted to share my thoughts on this whole journey I know a lot of us have been on for the past four years, and in many ways, our whole lives.
The first and most important thing I will say is that I’m grateful. To think that just two generations ago, my grandfather was walking near 30 miles to get to school in Ethiopia, to where I am sitting as someone who is going to college in the US is truly humbling. I often times would get discouraged, disheartened, disappointed, and beat myself up over not being good enough. But every time I saw that happen, I took my own time to just step back. I wanted to just give up at times, believe that I won’t be happy with how this process goes. But, the stories of my grandfather, the stories of my parents working so hard to make it here in the US, and the stories of people who look like me in this country brought it all into perspective. Am I going to be disappointed if someplace doesn’t take me? Sure. But is that going to ever truly stop me from accomplishing my lifelong missions of empowering people across this country? No. This is what continuously kept me grounded in this whole process.
The second thing that I have learned through this process is that it is not ever going to be 100% fair. Those of you who may know me and know my plans for next year would know my sincere fortune that I lucked out. And to some extent, I definitely did. But the thing that took me a long time to realize is that just because the system works in your favor, it doesn’t mean that all things in the world are now equal. The fact that you or I or anyone got accepted somewhere we wanted to go doesn’t mean that the system is fair. You can go down the line from establishing alumni bonds with legacy admissions to monetary contributions to what we saw a few weeks ago with the cheating of the system. The sooner we all acknowledge that however defeating it may be for us all to hear, this process will not be fair, I’ve found it less nerve-wracking and stressful to face this whole thing.
I’m very fortunate and thankful for the results I had with this process. The euphoria I had when I knew where I was going next year was a feeling unknown in my life. For the past four years, I’ve been trying to not just work hard but really work to establish a sense of purpose in all I do. I am beyond ecstatic about these next four years in a new place, where I hope to study political science and history. Of course, journalism won’t go anywhere, so I’m hoping to write for my school paper. A new world, a new start is something that I frankly need to continue to grow. I will miss my friends, my teachers, and so much about this Silicon Valley, I call home, however much I may strongly dislike it. Most of all, I’ll be far from family, which will take time to adjust to, but I am ready for the challenge.
However, I acknowledge that for many of my own peers, this week was one of the most difficult of their lives. And I wish I could be able to say I understand what that is like, but I can’t. I can only share and speak from my own perspective.
What I can tell anyone who may not feel satisfied with this whole thing is that I believe in you. If you believe that you want to help change the world, no school telling you no can stop you.
I know that when I arrive on campus next fall, I’ll have a chip on my shoulder. I know that where I’m going, they accepted my application, but never may have gotten to see all of me. And that’s why next year I’m going to work so hard. I want to make the most of these next four and share myself in a broader way than what 1500 words I wrote to my school that I submitted almost five months ago. I’m ready to conquer this challenge, this future.
Knowing what the plan is for next year has also just allowed me to really begin to focus more on making the most of my time I have left here. To attending more school events, spending more time with my friends, and getting back to reading for fun, I’m going to embrace all of the time I have left.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll try to write a few more nuanced takes on certain aspects of this process that I’ve found really important to my journey. I don’t know what those topics will be, but I want to help out anyone I can through this process if possible. As always, my DMs on Twitter are available for people to reach out to me! Till next week…
Being Noah Tesfaye #74: A College Applications Reflection
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