Remembering the College Admissions Experience in Oz

Whenever I hear the song “Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead,” I think of getting into college. This association isn’t nearly as strange as it might seem. During my senior year, I was the stage manager for my school’s production of The Wizard of Oz. The show ran at the end of the March, and between corralling the grade school students who were playing munchkins and dealing with the cute but stubborn dog that played Toto, I was too tired to worry about hearing from colleges. I had already heard from several schools, but I was holding out for the letter from my number one pick.

Getting home at 11:00pm after two shows (and a long day in the land of Oz), I saw what I had been waiting for on the kitchen table: a thick envelope from Vanderbilt.

I’ve been thinking about this moment a great deal recently, as admissions decisions have been rolling in for our students. While I remember being excited (teenage shrieking was definitely involved), the main thing I remember was an overwhelming sense of relief and accomplishment.

This sense of reprieve didn’t last. I had another show the next day, and then I had to put some serious thought into deciding where I wanted to attend. And since receiving that packet, I’ve gone through the application process for grad schools and for jobs. That said, I still remember the acute level of satisfaction I felt that night. It was the perfect respite before dragging myself (and the munchkins and the dog) down the literal yellow brick road one last time.

Most seniors are probably in a similar situation right now. Faced with a list of college decisions (including what is probably a very impressive list of acceptances), you now have to weigh your options and figure out which school is best for you. You’ve been accepted to some great schools, and now it is your turn to make some decisions.

However, as you contemplate your final decision before the May 1 deadline, be certain to take a moment to enjoy your success. Before you follow your own (metaphorical) yellow brick road, save the sense of accomplishment and celebrate with your family and friends. No, college isn’t the be-all, end-all, but it is a heady achievement nonetheless.

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