Not Failure, but Low Aim is a Crime.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep. 

– Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening; Robert Frost.

Let me tell you a story. A story of a high-school student who had dreamt of going to Harvard College – reputed by many, as the number one institution of higher education in the world. A story of how he tried his best, but failed. Let me tell you, My Story!

Last night, I received the e-mail I had been anticipating since long. The e-mail was from ‘Harvard College Admissions and Financial Aid’. It was a long read, and not one I would have wanted to receive. In short, I’d been rejected.

Now normally, I’d have been fine.  A quiet evening walk with my iPod, a cup of steaming hot coffee and an episode of The Big Bang Theory (or any other light-hearted sitcom) would have been enough to get me on track. But this was different. This rejection was from my dream college. It was from the college I’d dreamt of getting into since 7th grade. I hadn’t expected Harvard to announce its decisions yesterday, and the rejection came as a sudden shock. If I had known they were going to reply, I’d have prepared myself for it.

The problem with dreams is that they hardly ever come true.

No, don’t get me wrong, I’m not depressed. I’m actually surprised how easily I accepted this decision. I guess there was always a part of me that had seen this coming.

Frankly, the admission process taught me a lot. Having spent a considerable chunk of the past half a year writing essays, requesting my teachers for recommendations, writing tests, ruminating on which universities will accept me, and sending in supplementary materials, I’ve realized that there’s more to me than I can ever portray on paper. The admission process made me realize that I have the ability to give my heart and soul to a cause (in this case, to get into the university I want); something I wasn’t quite sure I’d be able to.

It also taught me that no matter how hard you try, there will always be someone who is better than you (in this case there were 2000 odd high-school seniors better than me. Ah, depressing!). But that doesn’t mean you don’t try hard. I’m sure I would have never forgiven myself if I hadn’t given my best.

Luckily for me, I’ve already got acceptance letters from quite a few amazing universities, a couple of which parallel Harvard’s ranking and reputation. But a dream is a dream, and it will always remain dear.
I won’t go so far as to insult the universities in which I got accepted by saying that getting into them was a consolation (as I’ve heard some of my friends say such), as it wasn’t. I’m immensely glad and honoured to have gotten offers from The University of Edinburgh, The University of Manchester, The University of Kent and London School of Business and Finance (in UK), and The University of Michigan, College of William and Mary, University of  Denver, University of California, Los Angeles (waitlisted) and Hartwick College (in USA). April is going to be one heck of a month as I’ll have to choose just one of these amazing universities to spend my next four years in.

Now, I’d like to thank the admission committees of all the universities that accepted me – I thank you for believing in me, and I assure you that I will not let you down. I would also like to thank the admission committees of the universities that rejected me – I thank you for giving me a reason to try harder next time.

For all you high-schoolers in a similar situation as I find myself in, I would like to quote the second last paragraph of Harvard’s decision letter, “Past experience suggests that the particular college a student attends is far less important than what the student does to develop his or her strengths and talents over the next four years”. I wholeheartedly agree to that, and I think we should all make sure so as to hone our skills to the best of our abilities, regardless of which university we choose to study in.

The day I had decided to apply to Harvard, I had told myself, ‘When your aim is high, even the fall is glorious’. Today, having aimed high and fallen, I’m not too sure whether it was actually glorious, but it sure was a learning experience. And as Zig Zigler once said, ‘If you learn from defeat. You haven’t really lost’.

P.S – I would also like to thank my parents for always being there. You guys are my refuge, and my strength. Without your support and guidance, I wouldn’t have been able to do anything.


2 thoughts on “Not Failure, but Low Aim is a Crime.

  1. You have really taken the rejection very sportingly, Nishad. And, of course, we are always there for you, we are the safety net at the end of your ‘glorious fall’! You will definitely rise to great heights in the future. And we will still be few rungs behind you with the net, in case you slip a bit, and guiding and praying, so that you won’t.

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