Dealing with Acceptance and Rejection: UHS teachers share their college decision stories

Staff Writer
As the college application process comes to a close, many seniors will begin to endure the anxiety-inducing waiting period before college decisions are released in March.
Without a doubt, there will be an array of different experiences regarding college admissions this spring: some extraordinary, some earth shattering, and some unexpected. Perhaps, it can provide students comfort to know that even the most esteemed of University High School teachers went through the same situation.
During her senior year of high school, Ms. Dana Kramer (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.)  felt completely self-assured during the college application process and said, “I was ready to get out of high school. I could not wait, so I applied earlier to one school that I really wanted to go to, which was the University of Arizona.”
Kramer eagerly applied during her first week of high school and patiently awaited her letter. Finally, she found out: “ I got in and I was ecstatic. I was so excited, I got the big envelope in the mail, and that was it. I didn’t apply anywhere else.”
Similarly, Ms. Jane Huson (Social Science Dept.) felt confident that she would receive her dream acceptance saying, “I had always wanted to go to Berkeley, and I thought I was going to get in. My grandfather had gone to Berkeley, my aunt had gone to Berkeley, so I was very excited.”
However, upon opening her letter, she discovered: “I didn’t get in, and the first thing I did was call my best friend, who wanted to go to Berkeley too. She hadn’t gotten her letter yet, so she went home and checked and didn’t get accepted either.”
Huson and her best friend were so upset that they decided to go to Disneyland using their season passes that same day, but to their surprise, it turned out to be a blackout date.
They ended up in Downtown Disney eating pizza and sobbing, “Berkeley rejected us, and now Walt Disney rejected us! What kind of life is this?”
She continues, “Looking back on it now, it was so dramatic. We didn’t need to assign our self worth based on which college accepted us and which one didn’t. Now in retrospect it really doesn’t seem like a big deal, but in the moment, it was crushing.”
Huson and her best friend both ended up attending the University of California Santa Barbara, and she now knows that UCSB was ultimately the best choice and provided the happiest college experience for her.  
After hearing Ms. Huson’s story, Senior Ms. Jane Huson said, “If I get rejected from my dream school, I will still feel horrible, but I know that which colleges accept you doesn’t show your worth. We don’t always get what we want, but we can learn to move on.”
Mr. Josh Davis (World Languages Dept.) also felt the same grief after his first rejection recalling, “My first letter was a rejection, and I was rejected from… Where the hell was I rejected from? I think the school I got rejected from was the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, which I really wanted to go to. I mean, it was really the school I wanted.”
Davis felt heartbroken and thought, “Oh my god, my dreams have died.”  He sulked around the house all day, but then the following day, he got into Michigan and felt all that resolve.
Ultimately, however, Mr. Davis decided upon attending an entirely different school: “I went to the University of Arizona, which I got about a month later. I went there because my parents were getting divorced, so I wanted to get as far away from Michigan as I could.”
He also received an an offer to play college tennis there, had a good friend who was attending the school as well, and wanted to enjoy the desert weather overall, all of which were large factors in his decision to attend the University of Arizona.
He remembers his other rejection with a light heart, “ I applied to Harvard, and I got rejected from Harvard. My dad went to Harvard, so they made me apply. I didn’t have a chance in hell. My students are laughing, because they know that’s a joke. So that’s my story.”
Senior Seyeon Park reacted to Davis’s story stating, “I can’t say I relate to his experience yet, because I don’t know if I’ve been accepted or rejected yet. Having your first letter be a rejection is hard, but hearing that a teacher went through the same thing makes me feel better.”
It can be extremely easy to reduce oneself to the results found in the letters from colleges or feel as though the future is jeopardized by these results. If students can derive one overarching message from these teacher experiences, let it be this: whether or not they receive the results they dreamed of, they will end up attending the right college for them and having a fulfilling experience nonetheless.