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Alice Yang
Yang is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star.
She is a student at Stephen F. Austin High School-FBISD.

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.
 
Rejection: lifeís first lesson  
I play the piano, so I know what rejection feels like. Ever since I was six, my parents have entered me into annual competitions in hopes of one day carrying home that six-foot high trophy to display for the relatives.

These competitions were intense. Calling all Houston players in a specific age group, we each played two pieces in front of a board of judges. There were two rounds, then the performing final open to all.

And I would walk each time with tacks in my shoes and a butter churn in my stomach to the bench, crack my cold clammy fingers, and pray, beg, plea not to mess up.

And of course I did; year after year, I saw the trophies given to someone else. Year after year, I wasted an hour each day practicing for something that was obviously not good enough.

The highest Iíve ever made in those stupid competitions was third place. That was a year ago, and my teacher told me that really, the first three places all sounded the same.

Fast-forward to yesterday, when a bunch of my peersí dreams were either made or broken. D-day. The day ivy-leaguing universities gave out their courteous rejection letters.

I was over at a friendís house when she checked her status online. Before left clicking on that mouse, I thought of the unexplainable cruelty of the whole system. In a flash, in a neuron-firing minute, her whole life was to be changed, to be made valid by a highly valid college.

I heard her inhale, then click.

She didnít get in. Rejected. But of course the letter said something painfully beautiful like, weíve reviewed the decision intensely and made the hardest choice of our lives to let your talented soul go.

And I guess she was stunned because she didnít cry until hours later. She flashed back to the past two years, working her butt off to climb up the GPA ladder, squeezing the limits of her self-control to do SAT questions on the weekends, volunteering, joining clubs, all down the drain. What was the use?

For the first time, her life was outside of her control. And as we lay on her floor looking up at the crevices in the ceiling, she slowly relaxed and gathered herself up again. Thereís always grad school, and she will fight for it in college.

College decisions are subjective, highly subjective and sometimes unexplainable. The student with the perfect transcript may be rejected from all the top schools while an imperfect other may be arbitrarily accepted.

But lifeís not over. College is just the beginning, and to do well, to keep on trying is all that matters. Though sometimes, lifeís hard work doesnít always pay off, it is what it is, and the best thing to do is just move on. The worst, would be to drown in fear of rejection and not try again. Giving up would be to deliberately never see the other side.

My third place trophy now sits encased in the glass shelf downstairs. Did I deserve it more than others? Maybe. Maybe not. Did I win it because I put in more effort? I donít know. But none of that matters because ten years of failure has hardened me into a practicing pro.

Yang is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star. She is a student in FBISD.

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   Last Update:  May 02, 2007