For the kids who didn’t get their dream college.

Photo by Alex Jones on Unsplash

In Indonesia, hundreds of thousands of kids are opening their college selection results.

Some will find a green check, telling them their dreams came true. Many more will find a bright red X, telling them not today.

Some will spend the rest of their holidays celebrating. Many more will spend them wondering what they did wrong.

Congratulations to those who passed. But today’s post is for those who didn’t.

Let me guess how you are feeling.

You’re sad.

Sad your dreams died while your friends dreams lived. Sad you have to spend your vacation scrambling for an expensive chair in a private college. Sad that unlike what everyone else told you, your hard work didn’t pay off.

You’re confused.

Confused on whether you should study for a year in a college your parents will spend fortunes on. Confused on whether staying at home for a year and studying for SBMPTN again is the correct option. Confused on what you want to do with your life from here on out.

You’re a tad angry.

Angry at the kids who made it, who boast about their acceptance letters in front of you, as if you needed more reasons to feel inferior. Angry at the big G, who apparently didn’t listen to your nights of prayers, and turned a blind eye to the sea of tears you shed. But you’re really angry at yourself, because you think you could’ve done better, but you tell yourself you were just too lazy/too dumb/too stupid to do well.

Let’s make something clear first. Those names you call yourself in your head, whether it be ‘doofus’, ‘idiot’, or ‘lazyass’, are not true. No one else is calling you those names. It’s all in your head, and it won’t help you get anywhere or do anything. Stop it.

Everyone has a point in their life where they don’t feel as big as their dreams.

We’ve all been at that point where we wanted our lives to go exactly where we wanted it to go, but then life rebelled and swerved way off course.

For years, I dreamed of going to college abroad.

Ivy Leagues were out of reach for both my intellectual and financial capacity, but a state college, or a university in Germany would be a dream come true. I took SAT tests multiple times, filled out the Common App, asked my teachers to make recommendations and transcripts.

I eagerly boasted to my friends and family that I would graduate from a foreign university and that this would sadly be the final year we could meet before I fulfilled my destiny.

But as you can see, that path didn’t work out for me.

A year later, I’m still studying in UGM. I’m still living in my parents house. I’m still getting mediocre grades.

It’s not where I pictured I would be at this point in my life.

It still stings to see other people receiving acceptance letters from Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and even UI (Yeah I said it.) It’s still sad to see other people enjoying their fantastic college life away from their parents, and I’m still stuck in the same room I’ve always been in. Sometimes I open other universities websites, just to entertain the ‘what if?’ possibilities that are always screaming in my mind.

Here’s what I learned from failing to reach my dream college:

First, not all of your dreams will come true. The sad truth is we all face dissapointments in our lives. Some dissapointments will be way bigger than other dissapointments.

Second, it’s hard to forget, but it’s easy to forgive. I’ve accepted the fact that I may never study at the best university in the world, or even the best university in Indonesia, and that is totally okay. It’s always going to hurt to see your friends get what you always wanted, but you shouldn’t spend your whole life hating them — or even worse, hating yourself.

Lastly, and most importantly, there is no such thing as a wrong turn. Life sucks and you’re always going to find that something will go unbelievably wrong at the wrong time. But take a moment to appreciate where you are, and you’ll see it’s not as bad as you think

My constant and continuing failures means I have so many stories I can tell through Medium. Living in my parents house means I get to watch my little brother and sister grow up and find their own twists and turns in life. Studying for the SAT Writing and Reading section means I have enough confidence to become a freelance translator and get a decent amount of income.

I wouldn’t have become the writer I am today if I studied abroad. I definitely would’ve missed out on my little siblings lives. And I’m pretty sure that foreign universities don’t have a huge demand for an Indonesian translator.

I can honestly say that if I made it to my ‘dream university’, I never would’ve became the person/writer/translator/debater/brother I am today.

So don’t count yourself out just yet. Sure, you’re not where you want to be. But who says you’re not where you need to be? (Forgive the extra cheesiness)

All I’m saying is you should not be defined by one broken dream.

Give yourself time. Take in what’s happening now. Enjoy where you are. I promise you’ll find your life will be fine, and you may even find yourself much more happier than you’ve ever been before.

So good luck on whatever path you choose. No matter what you choose in life, I know it will never be a wrong turn.


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