Warrior Words: ‘We Regret to Inform You That …’

It’s now 12:30 at night right around the infamous April 1st when all students receive their admissions decisions from all of their colleges, and I have had an epiphany. I have found the words to express a sentiment that I have been avoiding and suppressing and letting eat away at me for the past couple of days.
Getting rejected from college sucks.
It sucks because a total stranger takes a look at the total sum of the last four years of your life and decides that you just aren’t good enough. Someone who has never and will never meet you, a person to whom you are just words on a piece of paper, has decided that you simply do not live up to their standards.
Getting rejected from college sucks because someone, somewhere down the line will ask you about a particular school you applied to and you’ll be forced to shrug and smile and say “whatever” and that you “didn’t really want to go there anyway” and pretend that getting rejected from college doesn’t suck.
Getting rejected from college sucks because it inevitably leads you to think of another senior at another high school who this fall will be attending your number one school, and it forces you to sit and wonder what exactly makes them so much better than you.
Getting rejected from college sucks because a handful of words have the ability to ruin four years of the most exciting plans. Because no matter how many campus tours you take and T-shirts you buy and hours you waste thinking about what might be you will never have the opportunity to attend the school of your dreams.
Getting rejected from college sucks because every single Facebook status and college T-shirt and overly talkative classmate serves as a reminder of others who did not get rejected from college and who will never understand how much it sucks.
Getting rejected from college sucks because it marks the culmination of months of waiting. Months of counting down weeks, hours, and even seconds until a decision can be checked (yes, I actually did that) end in the words “we regret to inform you that …”
Getting rejected from college sucks because the admissions process has turned higher education in this country into a huge, twisted competition that you just lost.
If you’ve gotten this far into my rant, I don’t want you to worry. I’ve gotten into multiple great schools at which I know I will have a fantastic four years. And I can honestly say that I am extremely excited to head off to my college next year. I am happy about the school that I’m going to, not upset about the ones I didn’t get into. But as good as it feels to get into a school, it feels even worse to get rejected.
So if you see a Wilton High School senior who may be a little unsure of their future plans, or who hasn’t gotten into the school of their dreams, give them a smile, and maybe a hug. And remember that getting rejected from college sucks.

Jackson Ward is a senior at Wilton High School. He shares this column with four classmates.