Click here to read The Cornell Waitlist: Part 1
Flashback to May 16, 2012 and I still haven’t heard back from Cornell. It’s a Wednesday morning I’m driving with friends to a big group breakfast at IHOP because we have a delayed opening. It’s a beautifully warm, though cloudy, spring day and everyone in the car is buzzing about prom, graduation, and most definitely not school because lets be honest, we’re seniors in high school and have all been fully diagnosed with senioritis. I’m going about 50 mph on Route 27 when my phone starts ringing. Who’s calling? None other than the director of admissions herself, Heather Fortenberry.
My friend Mike, is lounging calmly in the backseat, but Sarah, another of my friends, is next to me in the passenger seat, who looks at my phone and shrieks, “AHH SHE’S CALLING!!! IT’S HERRR!!!”
“OH MY GOSH WHAT SHOULD I DO? SARAH WHAT SHOULD I DO??,” I return, afraid that I’ll cause a car crash if she tells me my decision while driving on one of the busiest highways in my town.
I quickly pull into the IHOP parking lot and thrust the car into into park. I scramble for my phone and quickly answer, hoping I haven’t missed her call.
Luckily, she picks up. I distinctly I remember her not getting right to the point right away, asking me how my morning is going, how I am doing, etc. On the inside, of course I am cringing at the small talk, wishing she would just get to the point. I feel my hands actually start shaking and my voice getting quivery. I guess she gets the message too because eventually she leads up to telling me that she and the admissions committee have made a decision. She says that she understand how much work I’ve done to earn my place at Cornell and understands, that my determination has not gone unnoticed, and finally, informs me that I have been accepted to Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.
I feel like I just got hit by a bus. But not in a deadly way, more of a bus made of happiness and the good kind of shock you may never feel again in your life.
“Are you serious? Are you kidding me? Wait…seriously?” is pretty much how the conversation foes for the next few minutes-eventually I say that I have to go because I’m just repeating myself. Like I said in my earlier post, I had not even considered the possibility of acceptance. I ruled that out of my mind and kept low expectations, so naturally, hearing that I was accepted initially filled me with intense relief, elation, and complete satisfaction. All of my hard work paid off and Cornell finally rewarded me with acceptance. That day was full of congratulations from friends, family (I saved the voice mail my Aunt left me and still have it) and from people I didn’t even know.
But once I got over the first few days of bliss, I woke up and drank a strong cup of reality. For months I was mentally and tangibly on paper enrolled at Drexel. Acceptance to Cornell had not crossed my mind and therefore I was unprepared for the making such a significant decision in only a week and a half (that was my given deadline!). On one hand, Cornell had the best hospitality program in the country, but would force me to take a big risk, sacrificing many things beyond its monetary value, including most importantly, accessibility. Meanwhile, Drexel had given me literally all they had to offer.
Here’s an idea of what I ended up choosing in case you didn’t know: