Moby Dick? More like Moby Deferred


I was in Omnibus Primary class yesterday, listening to discussions on whales and whaling and the sea and Moby Dick for the fourth class in a row. While they talked about Captain Ahab’s ravaging desire to kill the white whale, what the whale symbolized, what Ahab symbolized, and whatever metaphors were entrenched in that book, while they talked about the futility of his quest and how this desire had consumed him, I stared at the clock, waiting for it to hit noon.

Captain Ahab wasn’t my priority now. His silly little whale quest didn’t faze me. I was too busy in my own quest, in my white whale that was some elite university with an acceptance rate and tuition price that would send chills down anyone’s back. His quest was futile, but I was determined not to let mine be.

Right at twelve, I hit the refresh button, and twelve minutes later I was out of the waiting queue and ready to check my admissions decision. I hit the login button, and braced myself for the decision I had been anticipating since November 1.

I got deferred.

When I first looked at the text on the screen I wasn’t sure what I was reading, and I had to read it slower and slower in order to fully internalize it. It didn’t seem like it hit me hard enough to be real.

But the weirdest part?

I got over it. By one-thirty I was sitting in the car, eating a Philly cheesesteak and scrolling through Tumblr. By three I was going along my usual Wednesday routine, like nothing had changed.

Because nothing had changed.

Being deferred placed me in a weird limbo between the possibility of acceptance and the reality of rejection, in the kind of in-between that gives me slight hope but also points to the glaring reality of a 7.1% acceptance rate (or rather, closer to a 5% acceptance rate in the regular decision round). Still, nothing had changed. My admissions decision is still, technically, undecided. I still have to go through the same waiting in March.

I’m still going to college, even though I don’t yet know where. The brightness of my future was still the same at 12:13pm as it was at 9:58am; the only difference was that now I have a little more clarity.

It’s over. The two months obsessing over the possible admissions decision and the constant glancing at my calendar and snapchatting Veronica about how there were ____ days left finally came to an end. It wasn’t the end I was hoping for, but it wasn’t a bad end either. It was for the best.

I suppose that’s just part of the college application process. You go into senior year with a school in mind, with all your stats lined up and your essays written, but then dozens of different factors and events and bumps in the road that you’d never considered before come flooding in. Some schools won’t work out. Some will. This was the former.

All that’s left to do is pick myself back up and get back to those few residual applications while playing loud, upbeat motivational songs. The college application process isn’t over yet.

I suppose what they say is true: when one door closes, another one opens.

And when I opened my application portal for a different college today, the words “Congratulations” on the top of the page were enough to reassure me that all was not lost.


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