On Being Deferred

Thoughts, Feelings, and Acceptance of Being Deferred

It was a normal Saturday. My family watched the news and played endless games of cribbage, while I was nestled downstairs watching “The Office” with my boyfriend, Gabriel. As I heard the laughter of my parents, my dogs not-so-viciously barking, and the comments of Michael Scott, I beamed with happiness.Stress from college applications, school, work, and my responsibilities slipped away as I sunk farther into the cushioning couch. My smile did not diminish regardless of how many times Netflix asked if I “was still watching ‘The Office’,” yes, I was watching, and I loved every millisecond of it.
Everything was simple, normal, and when my brother, Josh, trudged in with the mail, I expected the day to continue following the routine. He had his lips pressed together as he handed me a single white envelope, with my top school printed in the return address. My family gathered around with the same uneasy look settled upon their faces. The laughter, barking, and humorous conversations halted as I look down at the letter.
After receiving package after package of acceptance letters, I knew if a school sent you just a letter, the contents inside was not something to be happy about. My heart sank further and further the longer I looked at the unopened envelope, and doubt riddled through my body.
I got into more prestigious schools than this one, did they really not accept me? If so, why?
With my hands shaking of disappointment, I slowly tore the edges of paper packet. I scanned the composition, and when my eyes hit the word “deferred” the letter slipped from my hands, I stumbled over to my mom and clenched onto her back. Her arms held me tight as tears rushed down my cheeks. Her words tried to comfort me, but thoughts of defeat, frustration, and adversity were all I thought about.
“It’s not a definite rejection, you still have a chance!”
“Screw them, they don’t deserve you anyways”
“It’s nothing to worry about Bek, we’ll figure something out and we’ll make a plan for college”
I already planned my future, figured things out and began dreaming of my days on campus. In the moment, I finally realized what it was like “to put all your eggs in one basket” and regretted getting my hopes up. More tears clouded my vision, and right then, being deferred was worse than any tragedy I ever faced.
The day would have been perfect, relaxing, and simple, but instead, my top school threw a wrench in my easy bike ride of a day. As arms wrapped around me in hopes of soothing my worried mind, only tear stains were placed on their right shoulders. Within five minutes, my perfect day was ruined, and I couldn’t recover the authentic happiness I felt earlier.
However, like my family stated, this letter was not a straight rejection, and there was a glimmer of hope. Hope. I desperately needed hope to get me through this one small obstacle in a lifetime of difficulties. With my mother beside me, the tears were interrupted with more words of hope. Her hand patted on my upper back, and relief began to wash away stress. Hope began to fill the places disappointment once occupied moments before. My journey back to a perfect day commenced once more.
My family uttered more words of encouragement and faith, and tears dried on my cheeks. They went back to their usual day, and I went back downstairs to continue  “The Office”, in hopes of comedic relief. Within two episodes, I’d forgotten getting deferred, but the feeling of this setback lingered a little longer. While I felt a pit in my stomach get smaller and smaller after each laughing marathon, I realized that getting deferred wasn’t the worst thing that could happen. I still got accepted into five out of six schools, and I carried on with my college endeavors. It was a speed bump, but getting deferred didn’t slow me down on the highway of my future.
It was a perfect day with an unexpected twist, but a day I will forever be grateful for. For happiness to disappointment and back again, life will give you unanticipated events that will continually shape who you are. Each decision and choice, whether yours or someone else’s, dictates how the road of life will change. With curves, hills, and narrow passages, each person goes through a series of obstacles in order to reach their destination. After being deferred, I know that specific university isn’t my journey’s end and that I have many more failures to come. This lesson has given me the grace to accept failure in my stride and to drive on.
So, to any seniors who got deferred, there’s a college out there for you, and your dream school may not suit your prospective plans. Take this first major setback in your career as a starting point, and grow from there. There’s a place for everyone, even if right now the feelings of confusion, dissatisfaction, and let down remain, your path to a bright future is inevitable. Life is a difficult journey, but I guarantee you, you’ll end up on the right course and will fulfill a lifetime full of happiness.

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