I cannot express the happiness I have felt in the past week. Hard to believe how only that short amount time can be life-changing. If I actually dissect moments more within those days, a second can even define your future. And the sliver of time I am typing about, is the moment my decision letter from UCLA came into frame on my iPhone.
Here’s some background, I applied to plenty of universities. My top 3 were UC Santa Barbra, Berkeley, and Los Angeles (from low to high). Honestly, I worked my ass off for the grades and student leadership opportunities I achieved. I kept straight A’s as I created the first Communication Honor Society and led the Honors Student Council (HSC) to its former glory. I founded the Why We Love OCC event and successfully executed it, while I got almost perfect grades on my Finals that same week. Did I mention I had a job and an internship all at the same time? I am still amazed by how much I did and what I was able to handle as my schedule for such a long time, but I loved doing it. Like they say, just because you do all the right things doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get into your dream school. So if you’re going to go above and beyond, quick advice, make sure you’re doing the things you love or else all that work feels pointless no matter if you get into your university or not.
Moving on, I’ll let you in on a little secret. It is a rare occasion that a transfer student gets into both Berkeley and UCLA. You usually get one or the other. If you get into both, give yourself a grand old pat on the back because you did the impossible according to community college counselors and alumni students. Thus, I was extremely terrified to see my decision letters. Especially since, I decided I wanted to attend UCLA over Berkeley at the end of my Fall semester. UCLA is very impacted, and Communication is a very impacted major. In 2017, UCLA only accepted 12% of students who applied for Communication. Over 950 Communication students applied. If you can’t do the math, let me help you out, a little over 100 students were accepted. The odds were not good at all.
March came, a month before UC’s decisions. I found out I got into Cal Poly Slo and holy shit it felt good. Then, the first week of April came. I got my first acceptance letter from a UC. I burst into tears because the first UC I got into was UCSB. I was accepted into one of my top 3 schools! I was relieved that if it wasn’t meant to be with LA and Berkeley, I was going to be at one of the best Communication departments and live near my older sister who is a UCSB Communication graduate.
With each day in April passing, my anxiety and nerves heightened. Along with a decrease in my confidence of being accepted to my top 2 schools. The last week of April was here, and UCLA decisions usually came a day earlier than Berkeley’s which was set for Friday April 27th. My boyfriend and I made plans to go to the Carlsbad Flower Fields for Wednesday April 25th. The Monday of that week, I received a text from my HSC group chat of a screenshot. The picture showed UCLA Admissions just responded on Twitter they would be posting decisions the day I was going to the Flower Fields. I immediately thought, well either I’m going to have a pretty good day until I am devastated by that decision letter OR it’s going to be one of the best days of my life. One thing that struck me with absolute fear, I find out in two days.
In those two days, I graphically narrate what shall happen once I am rejected from UCLA to my boyfriend, my family, and my friends. First, I will accept why I was rejected but then start ugly crying. I will keep refreshing the page of my decision letter thinking I maybe read it wrong, and cry some more. I will keep moaning how devastated I am and apologize for my existence. I will officially go missing from social media and be off the grid, until everyone stops talking about how they got accepted to UCLA while I didn’t. Until finally, I start to draft my appeal. Yes, I was going to do that because I am crazy.
Wednesday was upon us, and I was shitting myself. I kept thinking to not think about UCLA. Focus on the pretty drive to Carlsbad, and I will soon be surrounded by flowers like the poppy scene from Wizard of Oz (if you don’t like that movie, you don’t have taste). I check the UCLA decision’s site again and again, but it is still down. It says it will be back up in the evening. WELL THAT IS NOT SPECIFIC AT ALL. I even checked the definition of “evening” to get a better answer, not specific as well.
We arrive at the Flower Fields and oh my god. My jaw dropped when I saw the color oriented fields of flowers. They went on for miles, and we were right near the ocean. It was beautiful. My boyfriend came to the rescue with his nice Nikon camera snapping pictures of me in a dress that I was supposed to help promote. It wasn’t all business, we walked around the fields holding hands, we ventured into the sweat pea maze, and had an amazing strawberry milkshake. He’s busy too, so it was nice that we had time to relax and enjoy a small day trip. For a second, I almost forgot about UCLA decisions. Well, almost. I start to say what if I don’t get into UCLA, but I get into Berkeley. He looks at me and speaks as if he’s carefully picking his words. He says, “We will figure it out, we will make it work.” We both smile with hope, but still have a ping of sadness.
We were back in the car and heading home, when my phone vibrated. A text from HSC, I knew what the message was about before I even read it. UCLA decisions were up. As I type my information into the decisions page, Jamie and I are dead silent. I quickly hit “enter”, already fearing the worst. In an instant, I see in big bold blue letters “CONGRATULATIONS! YOU’RE UCLA BOUND.” I am blown away with happiness, but I still ugly cried. I still refreshed the page to make sure I didn’t read it wrong, and continue to happily cry. I still moaned, but cried instead, “I cannot believe I got in, I am so happy, I have never been this happy before…. I shouldn’t have worn makeup today, I am so stupid, I cannot stop crying.” I didn’t go missing from social media and go off the grid, but I decided not to share my decision letter at the time in respect to my peers who may not have gotten in. A planned out scenario, for a completely different outcome. What made it better, my boyfriend holding me (as best as someone can in a car while driving) saying how proud he was of me and he’s so happy for me.
I called my parents, my sister, my wife, and all my other nearests. They were so excited for me and made the moment even more immensely special. My favorite phone call was with my grandpa. He kept saying how proud he was, how I absolutely deserved it for how hard I worked, how happy he was I called him to share this moment with him, and how he cannot wait to tell everyone his granddaughter is going to UCLA. My heart melted.
The next day, I found out I was invited to Honors Night at OCC where scholarships are awarded to students. How could it get any better than this? Until finally, I found out I got accepted to Berkeley the next day. I was shocked and so thrilled I was able to be one of the rare students that has gotten into both Berkeley and UCLA. However, when I found out I got accepted to Berkeley, I was satisfied but not overwhelmed with happiness like I was for UCLA. At that moment, I knew I was making the right choice that UCLA was my school. I am going to Bruin Day, and if all goes well, I am not going to hesitate to submit my Statement of Intent to Register (SIR).
The point of this blog post is that there are going to be days where you feel like you’re contributing to an end goal that is not in view. If you can’t see it, what makes you think you will ever see it? My answer to that, I had one goal my whole life. I wanted to go to UCLA ever since I was in 1st grade. I was 8 years old. Now, here I am with an acceptance letter to my dream school at 22 years old. Do dreams take that long to achieve? Not necessarily, it took me three years to get my life together and work towards transferring to UCLA. If I was told in high school I was going to end up at UCLA, I would’ve laughed thinking there was no way in hell I was going to be lucky enough to go there. Once again, here I am. The point I am trying to make, if you’re going to work towards something and you remain on top of it even when it gets so hard, the energy you put in is bound to come back. Of course failure can be inevitable, but you’ll only cement the failure if you give up. I promise you, someday, it will all pay off.