Name: Anjani Patel
Year: Class of 2017
Hometown: Duvall, WA
Intended Plan of Study: Applied Mathematics and Statistics
From Koenig and Cake to Anticipation and Acceptance
As the guttural, gnashing sound of a lawn mower ripped through the most vivid dream, I woke up with a start. (Fine, since you’re all dying to know, I will share: I was eating chocolate cake with Ezra Koenig in a sun drenched meadow filled with dandelions. It was nice. No, it was rather spectacular.) With one eye, I glanced at my alarm clock. 7:03 a.m.
and chocolate cake. My two loves!
One of our neighbors has a strange propensity for mowing his lawn at 7 o’clock every Saturday morning. I am almost certain he’s a nice guy, but unfortunately, I could never get past that particular character flaw and find out for myself.
Nearly crying with exhaustion and frustration, I hauled myself out of bed and toddled downstairs to find some comfort at the bottom of a cup of coffee. Just as I was pouring my java, I remembered.
Today is Saturday. Yesterday was Friday. And the day before was Thursday. (I’m starting to sound like Rebecca Black.)
Bellatrix, for once you actually make sense.
Admissions decisions for Johns Hopkins came out on Thursday. Even the memory of opening the email informing me that my “Johns Hopkins University admissions decision is ready” had my heart racing. Two days later, my stomach still clenched at the mere thought. The hand that was pouring coffee was shaking, and I willed it to stop. After I’d finished pouring, I sat down.
It was time. I’d put off checking my admissions decision for a good 40 hours or so and it was time to put my big girl pants on and check. I mean, how hard could it be? I just had to enter an ID and a password, which I was 107% sure I still remembered. I could do that. I could.
With a little laugh, I flashed back to yesterday and last Thursday and thought about what had happened then.
I could not do that. Checking that account was not so easy.
Trust Staples to hook you up with the perfect button for every occasion.
I didn’t even try to check my decision on Thursday, knowing the system would crash. I also knew my blood pressure couldn’t take it. And I had to babysit after school. In the case of a rejection (and let’s face it, a majority of the decisions are rejections), I would not be able to properly take care of my neighbor’s children if I was lying on the floor in a fetal position wearing a sweater made from my tears.
“I made this one with my tears.” Spongebob understands.
Yesterday, I took a tour of the University of Washington (UW) because my parents are convinced that it is “the school of [my] dreams.” So, like the obedient daughter that I am, I went to check it out. Actually, they just threw me out of the house and told me to come back only after I’d “soaked in the UW atmosphere.” Once at UW, I quickly gave up on actually touring the campus because I was too preoccupied to notice much around me. Instead, I decided to end the suspense and went searching for Wi-Fi to check my JHU admissions decision. In my question for internet, I spent an hour and a half in a UW bathroom because apparently “blanket Wi-Fi at the UW Seattle Campus” means “adequate Wi-Fi in one stall in the bathroom at the Visitor’s Center and absolutely no Wi-Fi anywhere else.” (Yes, I’m cheap and don’t have a data plan. And even if I did, my phone wears the pants in our relationship and does what it wants to… which is to say, nothing much.) Yesterday, I spent five minutes attempting to access my ISIS account to view my admissions decision and the rest of the time trying to muster up the courage to actually look at the decision.
After I had spent way too much time accepting the surprising amount of terms and conditions set forth by the university (It was hard clicking on all those little boxes when my hands were shaking as much as they were.), I managed to connect to the university Wi-Fi.
Heart pounding, I checked my email and got my ISIS ID. Surprised and energized by the progress I was making, I quickly went to the ISIS login page.
Things started to go downhill from here.
I went on to the ISIS login page and entered my ISIS ID and password.
And then I froze. For the life of me, I couldn’t click that “Login” button.
After several deep breaths, I tried again. Nope. I was stuck.
I just needed to tap the button. Then, I would know. I’ve been waiting for my decision for three months. Just do it. Just do it.
I told myself that in the bathroom mirror for over an hour, seriously wigging out all the other women filtering in and out. Just do it. Just do it.
I will never look at the old Nike slogan the same way again.
After upwards of an hour had passed with me standing in the same spot in front of the mirror and my mantra no longer made even a modicum of sense, I decided to give it a rest and go home. I had psyched myself up too much to get much done tonight. As soon as I got home, I changed into my pajamas, put the covers over my head, and willed myself to sleep and dream of cake and Ezra Koenig.
And now, it’s Saturday and I need to stop being such a scaredy cat.
And here you go: A requisite cat picture for ya’ll.
With a calmness I had not possessed yesterday, I poured myself more coffee and went to the computer. (Coffee makes me calmer, and happier, and nicer, and… functional, but moving on.) I had realized just now that though my admissions decision was ultimately out of my control, how I reacted to the news was very much in my control. The realization did wonders for my frazzled state of being. The time had come for me to face the facts. No matter how much or how hard I ran, the decision would not change. The house was quiet. No one was leaning over my shoulder, no one was breathing down my neck. Though my hands and legs were still a bit shaky and my heart was going faster than normal, I was ready to press the “Login” button.
After taking a final deep breath, I clicked the button that had caused me to sweat off two pounds the day before.
“Yes,” what? Yes, that I’d logged in successfully?
Or “Yes,” I was accepted?
I refreshed the page. And again. And once more.
I leaned back, waiting for the screen to change. Then, the screen switched to my acceptance letter.
I let out a breath that I didn’t know I was holding. There, in that chair, in front of our family computer, I was truly happy. After almost two days of running away from this exact moment and two days of hysteria, I was finally still.
In the days (and hours) to come, a lot of decision making would go down. There’d be many loud calls made to California, Philadelphia, Texas, Oregon, New York, and India informing friends and family of the news. I’d be fielding several calls loaded with congratulations, advice, worries, and requests to watch The Wire. Sitting in that creaky computer chair, I almost ran upstairs to tell my parents and brother and start the whirlwind that the next few days were sure to be. But I reined myself in and took a few minutes to contemplate the future.
When I woke up this morning, my future was murky. Now, it is still undecided, but at least I know where I will be heading next year. As soon as I saw my acceptance letter from Hopkins, I forgot about all those other colleges (sorry, Mom and Dad). And so, quietly whistling “Good Morning Baltimore,” I headed to the kitchen, donned an apron, and started to measure out some flour and sugar because it was time I whipped up some cake for Mr. Thompson, the owner of the lawnmower that had woken me up at the crack of dawn this fine Saturday.
It was time to bury the hatchet and thank him for jump starting the day my life changed.
Now can ya’ll see why chocolate cake is one of my loves?