I woke up this morning after a restless night’s sleep. One of the main culprits? My thoughts. They were running rampant and unmanaged due to the insanity known as the college admissions process. This crazy train has been wreaking havoc recently in many of the circles that I frequent.
Along with coaching some of my client’s through this process, a few of my dear friends are walking this path with their children, and to top it off, our oldest daughter, Ellie, is in the throws of it as well. How do we help them stay grounded, keep perspective, and choose their thoughts and beliefs about the process from a place that they are always enough, that their worth is no more and no less because of an acceptance or rejection, and that they get to choose how to show up and create a marvelous college experience, regardless of the school that they attend?
By the grace of God, one of my very favorite humans and writers, Kelly Corrigan, just so happened to post this open letter today to every high school senior waiting to hear back from college admissions. You’re welcome.
So, dear ones, do yourself a favor and read this message from Kelly. Remember that whatever school is blessed to land you, and you to land it, you get to create and define your experience, not the other way around. Follow your curiosities, cultivate your gifts, be uncomfortable, do the hard, contribute to the greater whole, trust the process, and know that it’s all good. Be your own good news.
“There's a story about a farmer that's been circulating for thousands of years that's worth considering as you react to whatever news you get this week.
So there's a farmer, let's call him Joe. Joe had a horse, let's call the horse Big Red. One morning, Big Red ran away. Word spread and all his neighbors said something like: OMG that sux! to which Joe said: We'll see, and went back to tending his crops, best he could.
The next day, who turns up in the farmer's field but Big Red, and he's brought with him with two more horses and all his neighbors said: Dude you're so lucky! And Joe said: We'll see, and went back to tending his crops, best he could.
The next day, Joe's son, Joey, tried to ride one of the new horses and was thrown. He broke his leg and the neighbors said: Totally brutal, so sorry! And Joe said: We'll see, and went back to tending his crops, best he could.
The next day, the army came through village, drafting young men for war. Joey was disqualified from serving--thanks to that brutal broken leg--and all the neighbors said: that's amazing! And Farmer Joe said: We'll see, and went back to tending his crops, best he could.
Point is, it is impossible to predict whether getting exactly what we want at any given moment will end up being a good thing, a bad thing or a sometimes good/sometimes bad thing, and the single biggest determinant is you.
Personally, I got 1090 on my SATs and was accepted to one college. I cried for days after I was shot down by my first choice. I let it change the way I thought of myself. I acted like the guy who signed the rejection letter knew me, like the whole grim process has spit out a fair judgment of me and my value and it wasn't pretty.
Many months later, I settled in at the only school that would take me, jumped into every club, project and class, and became more me than I had ever been. In other words, what began as "brutal" became "amazing."
There are so many kids I love in the class of 2019, my oldest daughter chief among them. I have been rooting for you all for so long. What I'm rooting for is your daily well being, grounded in a sense of your goodness and capacity that is impervious to both recognition or rejection.
So whatever happens, remember this: You are your own good news. You can create a future for yourself, full of connection and purpose. Beneath the fear of inadequacy and the self-consciousness that suffuses public evaluation, you're in there. You have gifts and power and will develop more of both. Tend your crops, best you can, and that will be enough. I promise.
We love you.”