Sunday, July 8, 2012

Connecting the Splotches

They say that hindsight is 20/20. Well, I say that Life just gives us crappy prescriptions for the future. I mean,  whoever said that Life was a certified optometrist? Now, I could try to tell you how and why I was accepted into such a prestigious university, but I couldn't, and I won't, because even those with perfect vision squint in the sunlight.

Perhaps you'd like to hear about the significant happenings of December 9, 2011. Maybe you'd like to know that I was located in my counselor's office when I opened the email. It is quite possible that you'd like to envision a tall young woman bear hug a faculty member as the two figures dance to the music of their ecstatic screams.

But that stuff doesn't matter. I believe that the background, most times, is more important than a short story of a snippet in time. I was born in Los Angeles. No, not the Los Angeles of beaches, surfers, and large sunglasses, but the area in which fireworks in December aren't actually fireworks. My memories are dim, but I distinctively remember moving to Arizona when I was 9, then back to LA when I was 13, then up to the realm of Northern California when I was 14. I even lived in the infamous Compton, Ca. Yes, be scared; I was scared, too. My childhood was far from perfect. The white picket fence was graffitied, and the lilies didn't quite grow like they were supposed to. Despite this metaphorical shack, though, I always had the sun of knowledge and hope beaming down upon my misfortune. 

If you were to talk to second grade me, she would tell you that in a decade she'd be attending Notre Dame University. If you were to speak to 9th grade Jo, she would tell you that Stanford was her number one pick. If you were to run into the Jo of 11th grade, she'd confess that in 2012 she would be a proud golden bear. And if you were to interview her the day before Yale's rejection letter, she would insinuate that snow boots were looking pretty tempting. As is obvious, I am a bit indecisive. Yet, above all, I always knew that education was my gateway to freedom. When it came time to write essays for colleges and scholarships, I was unashamed to detail both my past and my aspirations. This foster child with the metaphorical mind permitted her yearnings to roam freely. I guess that is my biggest advice! Don't be afraid to bear your inner soul. The college that accepts both your smarts and your flaws is the place you are meant to be. Instead of allowing the pressure of others to guide you, allow that voice you hear everyday to sing, even if it is a bit off-key. 

Being that I am to attend the glorious Stanford University in the fall, you probably assume that I can connect the dots. But as I mentioned earlier, I can't. In fact, the dots aren't even dots-- they are splotches, smeared by tears of pain, of joy, of anguish, of farewells, and of new beginnings. I cannot wait to begin college, and I cannot wait for you, whoever you are, to find yourself where you are supposed to be. Even if you don't apply to Stanford, I wish you the best of luck. I wish you challenges and good laughs. I wish you tribulation and hope. One last word from the girl with 5 gray hairs: Do not try to connect the splotches of life; eventually, your permanent marker will run out of ink. 

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