Posts Tagged interviews

The most intense 3 hours of my life.

khadijah-85Hurry bus! Please hurry!!

March 31st was the craziest time for me. I elected to get my admissions decisions from Stanford, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Williams, and Harvard by email, because truthfully, I didn’t want to wait for mail. Although I got into a lot of schools previously, including Dartmouth and several other amazing liberal arts colleges, these were the schools that would guarantee me full aid all four years, so I was excited and anxious, because they were the most competitive and selective in the country. Because I was in west coast time, I had to wait until 2pm (5pm Eastern time) for admissions decisions for all except Stanford. And for some dumb reason, that day was an early day at school. I didn’t want to wait at school for three hours, so I took the long bus home. I couldn’t stay still. “I find out where I get into today!”  I say to some people I see on the bus often. I try to read, but I can’t. Finally, an hour later, I get near a computer. 12:32 pm. Seriously?! I pace. I pace some more. I worry. I check for Stanford. No. I deflate. I cry. So impersonal! I get a yes from Williams! I feel a bit better. I have to call for Princeton and Yale, because I forgot my online password, and it was very upsetting talking to the Princeton staff. “You know, I can give you your password, but how about I tell you now, so you don’t have to wait.” Ok. “I’m sorry….” Thanks! Bye! And I quickly hang up. By now I’m so nervous. I’m anxious. I’m shaking. This is so important to me. Not just going to college, but saving my life, and soon my family’s. Securing my future. No from Stanford, Princeton, Yale. Yes from Columbia and Williams, but how can I get into three top schools in a row- let alone the most prestigious? Harvard’s up there. I got two interviews. I know they don’t know about whether I’m worth the risk. I’m homeless. I missed a lot of school. Can I handle the change? The work load? The people? I hope I convinced them. I hope my not traditionally-stellar scores will be considered under the lens of where I came from. I hope my optimism is enough to convince them I’ll be ok, I can and will handle the challenges. I hope all the help and recommendations from South Central Scholars, my school, and mentors, are enough.  By now, I’m feeling VERY insecure. I can’t take this.

At exactly 2:01 (5:01pm eastern time), I refresh Gmail. In very generic type- Harvard College: Your Admissions Decision.

“I can’t open this!” I yell to Trisha London, co-founder of South Central Scholars, and Randy Winston, the director of SCS. I was in Trisha’s office, where she and her husband, founder James London, work, and Randy Winston was comforting me. “Open it.” They say. I click. It loads. Sloooooooowly.

“…We are delighted-”

I stop there!! I can’t read anymore! I scream! I shout! I GOT INTO HARVARD! I GOT INTO HARVARD! I GOT INTO HARVARD! WHO CARES ABOUT STANFORD, PRINCETON, OR YALE? I GOT INTO HARVARD! I play the melodic classical music video given to admits. It seems so Harvard-y.

Then, I call my mom. I tell her the news. She was staying at a shelter in downtown at the time.

The relief, the happiness in her voice. Yes mom, you didn’t mess up. Our trials, our tribulations, the pain, it’s ok now. Because mom, your daughter, your daughter, got into Harvard.

Interviews go well when you’re you

jesse-85Interview time! Whether you already had them or still got some late ones, this is often the last step in the application process, aren’t you relieved?

Some tips though- I know you have heard this before, but be yourself! Of course, you want to get cleaned up and dress nice but don’t feel like you have to put up a front and be someone you’re not. You want the school to want you for you. I remember for my Harvard interview, I was crazy nervous. While I was waiting, all kinds of thoughts were going through my head. Thoughts like, “They’re not going to like me because of the way I talk or look or smell or..” No, just kidding, I wasn’t worried about that last one haha.

When the time finally came, I took a deep breath and had a regular conversation with the guy! He was really nice and we talked about my experiences in high school and why I wanted to go Harvard. I shared my experiences as a first-generation college student amongst other things and I think I was able to really connect with him. I did my best to show my true self because if you try to act fake, they’ll be able to tell.

Look, you made it this far! There is no need to worry- prepare what they ask you to prepare, comb your hair, smell nice, and do you.

Now that you’ve finished interviews, focus in school, don’t slack off, and try to keep your mind off the letters. I know it’s hard but at this point, the only thing you can do is wait. Go out and do something in your community! That’ll help keep your mind off things haha.

Also, Video Blog coming soon! Things have been way hectic with events and event planning but I think it’s about time for one with LOTS of updates.

Until next time!