XIR3675 Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, c.1555 (oil on canvas) by Bruegel, Pieter the Elder (c.1525-69); 73.5x112 cm; Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium; (add.info.: Icarus seen with his legs thrashing in the sea;); Giraudon; Flemish, out of copyright

Bruegel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, c.1555. I think the story of Icarus is very relevant to what high school seniors face today.

Feeling alone as you swim through the terrifying waters known as the college admission process? Have no fear! We have several seniors blogging about ups, downs, and random in-betweens of their college process for the next 12 months (from June 2015 to June 2016!). Sit back, relax, and get that “OMG I totally get you, bro” feeling. Information for how to contact a blogger will be at the bottom of his/her posts.

Over the past few weeks I’ve experienced a fair amount of self-growth. One of the most important things I learned is the double-meaning of the word ‘acceptance’.

Colleges can accept you into their school, and that’s a good thing, something for you to be grateful for (hopefully). Whether the school is a ‘safety’ or ‘reach’ or ‘target’, you now are going to college, which you probably have been working toward for a very long time. In other words, if by the end of March you pretty much got shafted from everywhere, this connotation of the word acceptance still carries a small aspect of positivity.

Now, ‘accepting’ your decisions is an entirely different story. I rewrote this post many times, and I think the best line from my earlier drafts was “At this point, I think I’m so strung out about being happy, getting into a good college, finding some positive thing to point to in looking back on what has been a rough year. I’ve thought about these three things over and over again, they’re all jumbled up and I’m not sure if I can separate them enough to achieve my goals for the final stretch of senior year I have left.”

I’ve gotten a lot of advice from friends and family recently on the subject of not being admitted to schools I really wanted to attend. One of my friends told me, before decisions came out, that he had mentally prepared himself for rejection. He said he would be at peace with the outcome and accept it.

So when I got rejected from schools, I knew the healthy decision was to adopt this attitude and move on. But I didn’t think I was doing it right because of my misperception about what acceptance really means. When someone tells you to accept something and move on, you feel like there’s some sort of peace of mind you’ll achieve upon reaching that acceptance. Like, you’ll be ok with what happened and your negative feelings will slip into oblivion.

But that’s not really it. Now I realize acceptance is just acceptance–recognizing that you didn’t reach your goals. Maybe it was your fault, maybe it wasn’t, maybe you feel angry or resentful about the subject matter of your current life, etc. But you also know there’s a lot to be thankful for, and there’s always a way to reach your goals, even if it means you need to work harder than you anticipated or take a different route. You may not find peace, but ‘accepting’ what happened is the first step, I guess.

‘Accepting’ helps you separate yourself from your emotions and focus more clearly on your goals. This might go completely over your head but I wanted to share it because recognizing what acceptance means helped me find resolution to many of loose ends I’ve encountered this year.

Want to get in touch with Shivani? Email her at msnshukla@gmail.com, and she’ll write you back ASAP!

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