When you don’t get in: Accepting life sans transfer

Heather Richards and Heather Richards

I’m going to start by telling you the truth; I probably didn’t get accepted to any of my chosen schools this fall.

I’ve been considering the possibility since November – that slight possibility, like a blazing sunset I’m expected to walk right into.

I received my first rejection letter a few days ago.

I’m surprisingly ambivalent about the whole mess, but a friend of mine failed an exam today. Even though she was accepted to State, failing this class will mean a withdrawal of her acceptance.

She’s been at City three years already, and it got me thinking about the whole deal.

A few hours ago her plans were laid out, all the important dates scribbled in a calendar, FAFSA sent out etc., etc.

Now the two of us are packing up and wondering where to. Neither of us are from San Diego, and both of us had banked on going to school here.

I have vacillated, without the comfort of a conclusion, on the relative value, not to mention purpose, of the educational system in the United States.

I’ve wondered, often, about the winnowing out of certain people and the graduation of others; considered the racial and social disparities that are so brazen that we as a society have come to expect marginalization as a justifiable reality.

There are theories about the cruelty of capitalism, a state in which there must be an economically raped portion of society for there to be an economically satisfied portion, and the system of education plays large into the continuation of such a state.

But sometimes, ill intent is not the worst of things. Randomness is. The random winnowing.

My sister says higher education is just about stamina.

The truth is, racist or not, useful or not, I have always wanted to go to school. And though it’s been a headache, and though I’ve had to come and go, I’m grateful for my education.

I think differently than I did when I started out. I’m a better writer, which was my first and only declared goal for college seven years ago. I’m educated to some degree, just without a degree.

City College has a real hold on me, personally. I came here expecting to get a few credits and go back to a four-year school. I expected to be here a semester and no more.

I’ve been here three. I’m not sure now when I’ll finish. A year is not that long to wait, to try again. All I’m missing is a math class, but I’ve been in this game for a little while now, and a part of me feels that I’ve been winnowed out.