Letter Of Acceptance This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I got my letter of acceptance from Harvard University today.

Oh, don't look at me like that - that stunned look of jealousy and awe. Somebody's got to fill the great universities of this world. And it might as well be me, right?

But the thing is, I haven't had any wonderful revelation or epiphany or anything since I found out. The big envelope came with the mail today, and I didn't even have to open it, I already knew what it was. But I didn't scream, laugh, or start jumping up and down, giddy with joy as you'd expect any red-blooded high-school academian to do when accepted to Harvard. I mean, you might say it was ennui - yes, I had expected this for a long time. But I'm not even happy.

Why should I be? It's not even me who got accepted, it's my parents. My parents got me into Harvard. I had nothing to do with it. Sure, it was me who got the grades, played on the teams, joined the clubs, filled out the application. But it was my dad who told me Harvard was the best school in the country when I was eight, and that I was going there. And it was my mom who was so proud of me, the "cream of the cream" of American high school students since I learned to read. But it's not about me, it's about them. They got me in, they're paying for it, and more important, they provided the motivation. I'm indebted to them.

Oh, I tried to fight it. I went through that rebellious point we all hit in high school, sooner or later, milder or stronger. Mine was no more than a mild argument: Why so important that I go to Harvard? And my mother just said: "We want you to have choices, dear." Choices. They're making all my choices for me.

So here I am, with this envelope, the goal of my life, literally between my fingertips. All I've been working for the past ten years of my life, all I've done, has ended in this, just this, a typed sheet of paper saying no more than: "Pay us an extraordinarily high sum of money and you can say you've attended the most prestigious college in the country." That's all. And I don't feel fulfilled, I feel empty, because I didn't even do it.

What's the next goal after this? Graduate school? All my energies have been put into the response in this envelope. Now I've done it ... so? Now what?

Oh, but I do have a choice. In these few short hours before my parents come home and see this and congratulate me, the happiness shining in their eyes like they knew it, I can pretend it didn't happen. I can send the admissions office at Harvard a little postcard saying that I've changed my mind; I can bury this envelope; I can tell my parents I wasn't accepted after all. I know they would lose their confidence in me. I know I would lose everything - not that there's really anything left to lose - and all I would gain is the knowledge that I'm not a fraud.

No, I'll just leave the envelope here on the counter and see, and I'll let them work out my life, as always. So I can have choices.

And I hope my parents enjoy their four years at Harvard University. Because God knows I won't. 1


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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