It's here! The day where tens of thousands of hopeful applicants have their dreams dashed, while a lucky few experience probably the best day yet of their young lives.
For those who feel rejected and dejected - I'm sorry. The odds were stacked against you from the beginning. Use the experience as an opportunity to fuel your ambition. You have the best years of your life just ahead of you, and no matter where you go I know that you will grow.
The Los Angeles Times published a very interesting Op-Ed two days ago:
The Asian American Pursuit of Prestige
Pretty timely from them, right?! And now timely of us to piggy-back with a blog post.
Some interesting thoughts in the article:
"Asian Americans are more likely than other groups to believe that attending an elite university — and preferably an Ivy League one — is a necessary step to a successful career."
That statement rings so true to me. Through my involvement with ACE: NextGen I've often thought about the general disparity and apathy among different Asian American groups. Unlike other minority groups, we just don't care to move and act as a voting block. The one thing that binds us is our shared value of education. As a group, I would venture to say that Asian Americans care more about education than any other minority.
"There is at least one clear reason for the emphasis on prestige: Elite credentials are seen as a safeguard against discrimination in the labor market."
Asians, discriminated against? Say it ain't so!
"White men and women are twice as likely as Asians to hold executive positions. And while white women are breaking through the glass ceiling, Asian women are not."
Oh. Well, that sucks.
"Asians are often viewed as smart, diligent, focused, quiet and technically competent — traits that make them desirable employees, but not desirable leaders."
Philosophically, I think a lot of the stereotype stems from a broad and abstract differences in how the two cultures - Occidental and Oriental - view the world. Much of eastern philosophy stems from the idea that we are part of a greater whole, that time is cyclical, and we are just one small part of the vast universe.
Western philosophy on the other hand dictates the importance of the individual, imposing a theory of the universe as solveable as opposed to ultimately unknowable.
Asian Americans and other two culture kids have the unique opportunity to experience and rectify both points of view. And maybe, just maybe, that should be seen as an advantage?
"But our research also indicates that Asian Americans are less likely than white and black Americans to engage in civic activity, which is strongly correlated with corporate leadership."
Totally true, and why Breakthrough has decided to start a Civics program.
It's hard to change broad cultural stereotypes. Understanding, education, and action. We at Breakthrough employ all three to train our students, the majority of whom are Asian American, to prepare them for a better future, and to hopefully one day tear down that bamboo ceiling.
College rejection sucks...
Hey guys, It's Ivy here - or what is left of Ivy after the catastrophic event of finding three rejection letters in my portals after getting home from work. *Side Note: it's like these rejection letters have separation anxiety! I swear they always have to come together!* Anyways, all jokes aside, I would like to share some of my thoughts to the rest of you.
Survivors, if you've gotten into your dream school - great! I'm so happy for you! All of you are such hard-working and unique individuals. I'm sure schools have seen your drive and commitment through your scholarly achievements, extra-curriculars, personal essays, and/or other dedications you have made. Amongst what seems to be billions of applicants, you guys are the chosen ones, and I'm sure you deserve it! :)
Now, for those of us who did not get into our top choice of college, take a deep breath, cry or watch a movie, just let it out. I know how personal these rejection letter can feel, so I'm writing this mainly for you guys. College rejection sucks, I know. "Thank you for submitting..." "I regret to inform you..." "After careful consideration..." AH, these are like bullets to the heart! On the other hand, it's important for us to remember that nothing about college rejections is personal. Here's an article post I thought we should all read. It's written by a guy named Ben Jones who was the Director of Communications for the MIT Office of Admissions. Here's a glimpse of the article:
"I read about your triumphs, I read about your dreams, I read about the tragedies that define you. I read about your passions, your inventions, your obsession with video games, dance, Mozart, Monet... I read about your parents getting divorced, your house burning down, your girlfriend cheating on you...
I come home each night and tell my wife over dinner how lucky I am, because I never seem to pick boring applications out of the pile. In fact, I tell her, I'm inspired enough by the stories I read to think that the world might actually turn out to be okay after all.
In March I go into committee with my colleagues, having narrowed down my top picks to a few hundred people. My colleagues have all done the same. Then the numbers come in: this year's admit rate will be 13%. For every student you admit, you need to let go of seven others.
What? But I have so many who... But...
When it's all over, about 13% of my top picks are offered admission. I beg, I plead, I make ridiculous promises (just ask the senior staff) but at the end of the day, a committee decision is a committee decision...To the 87% of you who have shared your lives with us and trusted us with your stories over the last four months, please know that they meant something to me, and I won't forget you. When I say that I share the pain of these decisions with you, I'm not lying. I'm really not lying."
However meaningless the opinion of an admission officer might feel to you (I mean, he isn't the one who got rejected!), we should understand that rejections are never personal; college decisions in no way reflect how we are as people. Maybe we made an admission officer shred some tears during a family dinner because he/she likes us so much! Who knows! I think it's crucial that we don't lose perspective on things. We are still who we were before the rejection letters came in. We are still able to accomplish whatever our heart desires. Here's a quote I stole from Reddit which origins from the movie Ratatouille, "Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere."
One thing I hold true to my heart is that, personally, I see colleges as big fat hammers. Yes, some hammers are more well-done than others. Yet, what matters more is the person using that hammer. Most people in the world don't even know how to hold their hammer correctly, and most people in the world never use their hammer to the full potential. Also, an important consideration of colleges is about fit; a great hammer for another person may plainly create scratches and bruises on your hands. Maybe you didn't get into your dream college, so what? Everything passes through, and this rejection will just be a tiny sentence in the novel of your life.
Aye, so, guys, go chase after your passions and dreams. College is only a tool we can use in our lives after all (If you're still bitter, go do great things and prove those colleges wrong haha).
P.S. Isn't one of the main strengths of Breakthrough the way it teaches us how to succeed in life regardless of where we end up in college? Let's use that to the full potential!
Ivy Chung is a student at Breakthrough who took a gap year after her senior year, She had the unique pleasure of going through undergrad admissions twice. In her spare time she dedicates herself to working, learning, and having fun,
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