Two Choices Became One

April 3, 2009

River Cam

Half a year ago I submitted a university application which I had spent many summer weeks writing and perfecting. I had the most glorious of plans; I was only going to apply to only one university; the highest ranked university on the continent where I happen to reside.

People warned me and told me that it would not be wise, that things never turn out the way in which one expects them to, that I should use all the five choices which I were given. But I refused. I knew I was going to be admitted to the university most people can only dream of ever attending; because I was the best.

Two months after my application had been submitted I visited the university to attend an interview. It did not go well – it was nothing like I had expected it to be. The mock interviews had cemented a stubborn belief in my own superiority over everyone else; to be interviewed by professors employed by the continent’s finest university would be a piece of cake!

I was wrong, so wrong.

I returned home worried, hoping I had read the situation the wrong way, that the professors’ face-palming gestures were because they were tired at the end of a long day – not because I was a Swede born yesterday. A month thereafter reality befell me as I learnt that my application had been unsuccessful.

And I thanked my lucky stars for having made sure people warned me, that such belief in oneself would be unwise; I thanked the people who had warned me for being foolish; I thanked myself for having used my five choices.

My first choice was unsuccessful and the fifth choice I withdrew (though I am certain I would have been successful). My third choice made me an offer and like-wisely did my fourth. My second choice of university I did not hear from until today: unfortunately, my application was unsuccessful.

A sting of regret passed through my body upon learning that I had been rejected once more, I am however surprised to realise that I now am only a little numb, seated here in front of my computer monitor, telling the world of my failure. When my first choice rejected my application, I cried and regretted my stubborn pride for days. These two feelings are different.

I had two choices (three really, but only two I considered) and now the two have gone down to one. The rejection hurt me – this I cannot deny – and yet I am in no pain. It is because I had two choices, two choices which have gone down to one.

To decide upon two matters similar, yet different, is a task impossible for someone as undecided as myself. Should I choose the finer of the two universities I wished to attend, though its course was longer and a little less in my taste? Or, should I choose the other university; less well-recommended, but with a shorter course which appealed to me more? The choice may seem a simple one to make, but for me it was not; I wanted them both.

When I learnt that the finer of the two rejected me, I felt tears burn behind the lids of my eyes. But I wiped them away, attempting to see the matter from its brightest side, and I succeeded. The tears were blinked back – for now my dilemma has been solved.

Half a year ago I submitted an application to five universities overseas. I thought four of my choices unnecessary; there was no way I would ever fail. And yet I did – which I never would have believed had I told myself before the fact. Yet, I cannot help but smile deep within, though I of course still am a little bit disappointed in myself.

I cannot help but smile because my choices have gone down to one; the choice I had to make is to be made no more. It was made for me, and everything turned out for the best. For, truth being said, though I applied to the most sophisticated university on the continent – the university of prime ministers and kings – I would not have been happy there. Where I am going now I believe I will be happy – though I would never have believed my own words did I tell my own self six months back.

Life is a marvellous experience, and it is during bitter-sweet days such as this that I realise that every disappointment has a gilded edge; it is only a matter of noticing it.

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2 Responses to “Two Choices Became One”

  1. Kathy Says:

    How honest and earnest you are, and your sincerity has already served you so well.

    I had much the same experience as you when deciding on my major. I just knew it was supposed to be bio-med and was supposed to study medicine. It’s not thankfully how it turned out but I think anyone who has strived for and really put themselves out there for something whether it be a university application or any other thing— can relate to your experience.

    It’s all part of the on-going process of balancing our self-perception with the world’s perception, don’t you think? Is one more valuable than the other?… are both perceptions to be constantly shifting? And so goes the process— a wonderful, albeit arduous one it is.


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