I once saw a TV commercial where the whole screen was filled with men in black suits. All together, they said “Yes,” and then one man stood up, raised his fist, and said “No.” It was a commercial championing individualism. After watching it, I realized how much the society has changed to value individualism and diversity. Colleges and work places have all became a melting pot of individuals with different talents, characters, and backgrounds. I immediately recognized the significance of individuality and have worked to become unique. I thought I had succeeded in having a distinct persona, but last year at the parent-counselor meeting, I learned that others thought differently.
After carefully reviewing my GPA, SAT scores, and extracurricular activities, my guidance counselor, my parents, and I formulated a list of colleges that I was eligible for. Before the meeting was over, the counselor warned there was no guarantee that I would even get into any of these schools because the “Golden Gates” to colleges have drawn closer. There were a million other “me”s: Asian students with my GPA and my SAT scores, who were involved in the same activities including hospital volunteer and internship. I was not unique. To the college admissions officer, I was not an individual, but rather a packaged and decorated student. His words had no impact on me at the time, but when I got my first rejection letter from a college, I realized that he was indeed right. Perhaps, I did not have a distinct character as I would have liked. Maybe I was a twin to thousands of other people.
But others encouraged me during the times of despair. Mary, my best friend, decided to write a peer evaluation for some of my colleges. She wrote a whole list of my positive attributes that I did not even know I had, which included being persistent, flexible, and logical. My parents, too, were very encouraging. Instead of getting upset about the rejection letter, they took it in differently. They said that maybe I was just not meant to go to a college in New York City. Mary helped me realize a different aspect of myself and my parents helped me realize how fortunate I was to have such kin.
I am still anticipating several college decisions. But as of now, I know that I am unique and that the rejection letters cannot diminish my confidence. Just like the man who said “No,” in the middle of thousands of other people identical to him, I can say “No.” That makes me unique.
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