Will "Being Yourself" Get You Into College?
On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed from Suzy Lee Weiss, a high school senior who was not just sad she didn't get accepted by the college of her choice (we all could relate to that), this girl is angry! Suzy complains that colleges tell you to "just be yourself," but then just when you do that, BLAMMO! They deny your acceptance in their school.
She writes that colleges tell you to be yourself, and that is "great advice, as long as yourself has nine extracurriculars, six leadership positions, three varsity sports, killer SAT scores and two moms. Then by all means, be yourself!"
Being true to yourself is a vital life skill in all areas, whether it be applying to school, making friends, finding a significant other, or picking out an outfit in the morning. But Suzy took the "be yourself" advice a little too literally (something a smart-like college student might be expected to rise above). Yes, be yourself, but be the awesome-est version of yourself.
Suzy wishes she was a minority, gay, played three varsity sports, or had two moms. If only she was totally out-of-the-box in nature, or had a compelling life story, she figures, she'd have nailed the admissions process in the school of her dreams. She even belittles people who volunteer, saying, "I should've done what I knew was best—go to Africa, scoop up some suffering child, take a few pictures, and write my essays about how spending that afternoon with Kinto changed my life. Because everyone knows that if you don't have anything difficult going on in your own life, you should just hop on a plane so you're able to talk about what other people have to deal with." She then tacks on to this sarcastic list of attributes "killer SAT scores." Yes! Schools look for good SAT scores. That is a thing!
Suzy's version of being herself seems to involve doing absolutely nothing, just being Suzy. She seems to think that she is inherently awesome enough to just show up at Princeton and be greeted with a standing ovation. "Suzy's here! She's Suzy! Let her in!" Suzy could very well be awesome, but if that was all it takes to get into Princeton, we would all in Princeton.
Don't let Suzy's bitter tirade persuade you into thinking you should not be yourself. You should be. But you have to work hard. You have to prove yourself. If you're so awesome, announce it to the world by starting a charity or a blog, excelling in sports, writing for the newspaper, playing an instrument, becoming an active member in the community, and yes, getting killer SAT scores helps. Find the thing deep inside you that makes you unique and put it on a big, beautiful platter. Because if you don't, you're just your awesome self, sitting on a plate of awesomeness and a big bag of resentment.
Do you think Suzy has a point? How can you be yourself, and prove it to the college of your dreams?