With only a couple of days to go until the first cut-off list is out, you are probably a nervous ball of excitement and fear. You worked hard for your exams, attained excellent percentages, and are looking forward to starting a new phase of your life. Without crushing your dreams right away, here is the harsh truth – not all of you will make it to your dream college. This is not to say that you will not find a college that is equally fulfilling, possibly better suited to your personality, and a group of amazing friends. So when you expect to get into the college of your choice, but miss the cut-off by a hair’s breadth, here are 3 things you should repeat to yourself:
1. You are not a failure
It’s tempting to blame yourself for missing a cut-off by 0.5% (I say this from personal experience) but the reality is, sky-high cut-offs can throw anyone off-course. Could you have put in a tiny bit more effort and met that cut-off? Maybe. It is irrelevant. You could have always done better, could have always met another cut-off. Complaining about it will get you nowhere.
Pro tip: Sulk for a while. Get it out of your system. Then, take this opportunity to recognise your full potential and work towards achieving your goal. At the end of the day, your syllabus is the same and you have common exams. Continue to work hard in college.
2. Challenge yourself
When you know you have skills and talent, certain situations can be disappointing when they do not turn out as expected. This can lead to an intense fear of failure and can hinder you from truly challenging yourself to achieve new heights. It is natural to feel demotivated, but do not let this fear paralyse you. Get out of your comfort zone to make the best of your college experience by joining societies and applying to internships.
Pro tip: Start out easy. Apply to internships you know you have a good chance of getting. This will boost your morale and give you confidence. If still unsure, you can apply without telling any of your friends, so if you’re not selected, no one has to know. When it comes to societies, there’s no choice but to jump right in. It can be daunting, but on the bright side, no one knows you, so you can be whoever you want to be.
3. It’s all about you
When I was still in the sulking phase of my journey, one of my first ever college friends pointed out, “It’s we who make the college, not the college who makes us.” That statement still stands true, and is also the reason I am now able to write this article without crying (also the reason that friend is now one of my closest). Chances are that despite not being your first choice, your college will provide you with a plethora of activities to indulge in, excellent societies to be a part of, dedicated teachers to work with, and above all, the most supportive group of friends. Step back from the negativity and let yourself recognise and embrace the opportunities you now have.
Pro tip: Throw yourself out there. As cliched as it sounds, pursue what you want – audition for societies, sign up for new courses, strike up a conversation about Harry Potter with the pretty girl sitting behind you (and then become best friends). It will probably take you a couple of attempts to find that special group of people, and it isn’t always easy – like the time I rejected my now-best friend’s offer to hang out with her – but it is definitely worth it.
Once you make it through orientation, chances are, this is the college you will be attending for the next three years. It will become your home. With time, your Grade 12 percentages will fade off into mere numbers, and you will be surrounded by the activities and people of your college. It is up to you to take these experiences and make them your own. Not attending your dream college does not mean giving up on your dream. Be an active participant in the process of becoming the best version of yourself.
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