My heart just broke a little reading through all these posts. I was feeling a little down about being rejected from Santa Cruz as a transfer (stats above average too!) and decided to poke around the boards here. And you guys are making me feel so sad. So I thought I'd tell you all a little story. It's what I've been thinking of all day and it made me feel better.
I'm the baby in the family, so when my brother was filling out his applications in 2007, I had no idea what to expect. The little genius had a 4.5 GPA graduating from high school, community service, and other bragging privileges (SATs were in the high 1900s). I spent the majority of my childhood resenting him. I was the bubbly, social, artistic child, the one who could breathe life into a blank sheet of paper, but never the one who could efficiently solve a math problem. But my brother was so wonderfully different. He was logical and brilliant, never earning less than A's throughout his educational career. And he was never cocky about any of it. I think that's what I admire most about him, looking back.
He applied to all the great schools that weren't Ivies in California - Cal, UCLA, and USC, as well as a bunch of other UC's. He was rejected from the top three. Even with his fantastic GPA and the hours he'd spent helping the poor (an activity he genuinely enjoyed, he was always so compassionate). At the time I was a junior in high school and I couldn't understand it. That college application couldn't measure his kindness, would never have a section devoted to his compassion for animals, and never had an extra box asking him to detail the selflessness he demonstrated to his friends.
But he wasn't especially outgoing. The guy spent a little too much time playing W.O.W. And he wasn't happy - our private Catholic school stifled him. I guess we come from a long line of free spirits. So he went to UCSB. My mother wasn't happy about that - she desperately wanted him to appeal, but as he said, "Mom, they didn't want me. UCSB saw the good in me. I want to go there."
The guy who once went out with his quiet buddies once in a blue moon blossomed into a social butterfly. He made friends, went to many concerts, and had several girlfriends. His chubbiness disintegrated with the workouts and the happiness he felt. Looking at him now, you'd never even guess he was so deeply lonely and unhappy in high school. He's passionate, outgoing, and still so very smart. He keeps making the honor roll, and we get the papers in the mail.
I don't think UCLA was right for him - he was never a big city guy (we live in Los Angeles and he never seemed to enjoy the city the way I did), and I think he would have gotten lost in the hustle of it all. Ditto for USC - for someone as initially shy and quiet as my brother once was, I think both of these schools require a lot of social experience (and a somewhat specific type of it) he simply didn't have. It can be hard to make friends in a big city. And I just can't see him going to Berkeley. I have a feeling he would have been depressed at all of these schools - they just weren't right for him. I think God knew that a little better than my mom did.
So now, as I type this, I feel a little better. I even called my brother during this mini-crisis and he said, "Remember how upset I was when I got rejected from Berkeley and LA? UCSB was way better for me. You probably wouldn't have liked Santa Cruz. And there's still other schools." So while I'm tempted to be mopey, I'm not going to be. Maybe I didn't have the best grades I could have had, but having a big heart is better, and I've got that in spades. Maybe I could have done more extracurricular activities, but the comfort I give to my friends and family can never truly be recorded. And I know you've all got your little talents and traits that are so much more than a bunch of grades on a paper. Just wanted to remind you all. And in truth, remind myself too. Keep your chins up, all of you. It'll all be okay. :)