Rewinding my somewhat depressing nonetheless hopeful playlist of the application season from last year, I’m instantly taken back to the spacetime coordinate when and where I finally submitted the Common Application for Swarthmore College at 11:59 pm on December 31, 2019, in Oakland, CA. It was a bumpy roller coaster ride that ultimately led me to apply to Swat for Early Decision II. I remember my shaky hands at 11:45 pm on that day when a gut feeling that I still cannot fully articulate took over my anxiety. I knew the magic of the arboretum campus and the collaborative quirkiness of Swatties were calling my name and that if I was meant to be a part of this family, I would never reject it on my end. As you probably would have guessed, that seemingly impulsive midnight decision was a matter of genuine commitment that led to who I am today.
Now, let the wait to become an official Swattie begin!
The chaotic month of January leading up to Friday, February 7, at 7 pm EST (I obviously did not memorize the decision release date and time) was a busy one. I seized every opportunity in front of me (in truly a Swattie fashion) to make sure that I would have more options for higher education as I juggled between continuing applying to bigger institutions that clearly were not a good fit for me but extended their deadlines and running around town for countless college interviews. There was this constant underlying uncertainty about me not getting into Swat and comparing other institutions to Swat certainly did not help. Coming from a large public high school where my counselor barely knew my name, I was exactly looking for Swat’s small environment where faculties from each department care deeply about their students.
There were actually some fun times and de-stress sessions amidst the distress! It was extremely helpful for me to connect with my friends who were collectively going through this. When we went hiking in the NorCal mountains and got Korean BBQ, I did use up most of my debating skills to convince them that a small liberal arts college that gets snow in winter on the opposite coast of the continent was my absolute top choice. But during all those conversations, I realized that no one could shield themselves from my overflowing enthusiasm for Swarthmore and that what helped me win the “debate” was my hope and self-assurance.
Time flew by as I tried to distract myself from “one of the biggest decisions in my life” by focusing on my architecture project that aimed to renovate one of the underserved neighborhoods in Oakland for increasing communal engagement. I jumped right back into the research-on-Swat (or going onto swarthmore.edu about 3 times a day) rabbit hole when I received an email from admissions about the release of the decision, and guess what? Surprise, surprise, the letter started with “Congratulations..”.
The joy at that particular moment when the wait officially ended was indescribable. There was me, a brand new Swattie, baffled and exhilarated, having no idea that I would be writing about this exact moment six months later on campus.
After reading about my rollercoaster ride, I hope it helps alleviate some of your stress about applying and then having to go through this wait to become a Swattie! Remember to always have hope and don’t forget to have fun and practice your debating skills just for Swarthmore!!