As the arrival of decision letters starts to taper off, most of my friends have a good idea of where they're going next year. Some were lucky enough to have gotten into their dream schools, others were accepted by a slew of equally amazing colleges (though perhaps not their first choice), and a few were rejected to all but a handful of great schools. We should all 'be happy', our friends, family, and counselors tell us; the hardest part of senior year is over and now remains the best months of high school. But 'great' is a very subjective word and some people are inevitably disappointed. I'm not discounting any of the students who got into their top choices: I believe that they all deserve it 100%, but I'm sad that my top choices don't feel the same about me.

Yes, I did get into a couple of great schools, and I am truly honored and grateful to be accepted by them. But at the same time, I am utterly heartbroken that after years of pushing myself to excel academically and pouring my heart into the application essays, the response is still: 'Dear [x], I am very sorry to let you know that we are unable to offer you admission to [z]'. And I feel so, so guilty for feeling like this, as if I'm jilting my accepted schools and betraying my friends who try to cheer me up.

There's also regret. Maybe I should've written about different topics, maybe I should've applied to more schools, maybe I should've gotten more/other recommendations. And while it's very appealing to just blame the system for my failures (ahem College Confidential ), I know that it's really no one's fault but my own. So there's an unhealthy amount of anger, bitterness, and disappointment directed at myself right now. Summed together, all of this is strangely numbing and emotionally exhausting.

But there is always some hope, even if we do have to trudge through this unpleasantness. It's quite honestly pointless to continue feeling this bad. Rejection and failure is a part of life, and even though my lifelong dreams were crushed over the course of two days, I have to accept that and find new ones. I know that I will eventually be happy and successful at a school that accepts me, despite all the inevitable sad laughter in the coming days.

Now I just need to believe that.