We were sitting in a booth across from each other, chatting lightheartedly while waiting for our food to arrive. It had been a great afternoon, a look at what Spring would bring over the next few months.
The air smelled of fresh blooms, of new life and new opportunities.
My phone rang just as I was taking my first bite of food. I gulped it down quickly and pressed answer. My mother was calling to tell me that a letter had come for me. A letter from the one and only college I had applied to. "Well, is it big or small?," I asked. "Small." My heart sank and a wave of nausea ran through me. "Do you want me to open it?," she asked after several moments. "I already know what it says, but read it to me anyway."
"Dear Jennifer, we regret to inform you..." and as she proceeded to read the rest, tears welled in my eyes. Mr. B looked bewildered, not understanding what was transpiring. And there weren't words for it. It was more than being rejected. There was nothing else to fall back on. I hadn't chosen a single safety school. I hadn't even considered the possibility that I wouldn't be accepted.
In that instant, my entire future became completely uncertain. At the time, it felt like everything that had led me to that moment was wasted.
In life and especially in our youth, it's hard to diverge from the path we choose for ourselves. Mostly, this has to do with fear. Fear of taking the road less traveled, the road we never envisioned in the first place. It is only with time and acquired wisdom that we begin to understand the full potential of those unbeaten paths. That there is opportunity at every passing.
Five years, two states and four schools later, I graduated college. It wasn't my dream school. It wasn't part of the original plan.
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