Teenagers are facing insurmountable pressure from parents, teachers, college counselors, and society as a whole. They are constantly told they need to be better, brighter, more talented, and more capable than the next student. The reality is they are no longer competing with themselves or their schoolmates, but are now competing with teens from all across the globe for selective spots that are few and far in between. Students are doing whatever it takes to be the best, and this desire, nay, requirement to be both perfect and number one is a newly formed idea that starts at an early age. This competitive nature and, quite frankly, unhealthy drive is terribly problematic, and what’s worst is that when students fail and are rejected, as we all inevitably do and are, they don’t know how to bounce back. They don’t know how to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, dust off their shoulders, and keep moving despite adversity.
So, you got that thin envelope, huh? Or maybe you received a pretty standard and stale email? A quick scan of the note goes directly to “sorry,” “unfortunately” or “regret” or other similar synonyms. You toss it in the trash and try to throw your feelings out along with it. Rejection feels like betrayal. This institution you’ve placed so much faith in, this institution you’ve dreamed of, this institution you’ve loved for so long doesn’t feel the same way. It’s an unrequited love, and you now feel like the scorned lover. Whatever do you do? Just keep swimming!