Opinion: Leave college reactions at home

Chloe Fishman, Author

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Seniors Jozy Prabhu and Ankita Avadhani scroll through college emails in the Paly Library. Students check college-related emails frequently on campus. Photo by Lydia Barry.

Seniors Jozy Prabhu and Ankita Avadhani scroll through college emails in the Paly Library. Students check college-related emails frequently on campus. Photo by Lydia Barry.

You unlock your phone. Your heart beat accelerates and your stomach drops. You tap on the email from [insert name of the college of your choice], and for a moment, the world seems to halt as you search for key words.

Submitting college applications can ignite a slew of stress and anxiety. But what’s worse than this is that moment when other people announce to you the results of their applications when you have been rejected, have not heard back or have decided not to attend college.

We propose that seniors save all the college reactions for when they get home.

People used to find out the fate of their applications when they returned home after school and checked the mail. No matter the results, their reactions were confined. Only family and close friends were privy to this information. These are the people who have helped you to this point and are there to congratulate or to console you.

Peers in class, students on the Quad or teammates at practice are not people to whom you should turn. Yes, they could be proud and happy for your acceptance. Yes, they could empathize with and support you over a rejection. Yes, they could make you feel better. But you could make them feel worse. To hear that someone else was accepted to or even rejected from your dream school only increases the possible angst, disappointment and jealousy that surround college admissions.

Screaming, whether of excitement or disappointment, is always inappropriate.

Some people may simply not want the added distraction of college reactions during their classes. College decisions revealed in class have caused more awkwardness than positive reactions, according to Biology teacher Erik Olah.

“I’ve seen it where people hear about it in class and everyone else gets super happy, but then I’ve also seen it where someone’s super happy and it gets really awkward for someone else who got rejected,” Olah said. “The safest thing would be to keep it at home, away from school.”

Assistant principal Jerry Berkson agrees that the best place to receive college decisions is at home.

“There might be some kid sitting right next to you who might not have gotten in where they want, meanwhile you’re jumping up and down,” Berkson said. “I think the safest thing is to be with your family and let them enjoy your success or help you out with your disappointment.”

Today, Dec. 15, April 1 or any day in-between, we must resist the urge to gossip about, criticize others’ or boast about our own college admissions decisions. By the end of the year, everyone will know your final choice. It is unnecessary to publicize all acceptances and rejections.

We will be keeping our college news relatively private, and we invite you to join us.

So, let’s turn off our email notifications during school. Let’s contain our impulses to ask others where they have gotten accepted or rejected. In doing so, we will be respecting not only our classmates but also ourselves.