I had a big anniversary that snuck up on me a few weeks ago. No, it was not with a romantic partner — it was with Vanderbilt. On April 13, 2015 (which forever be kept in my mind because it also happens to be my brother’s birthday), I got a warm and personalized acceptance e-mail from Vanderbilt!
Like many people, I still remember the exact moment when I received the news. I had just finished a doctor’s appointment and was getting ready to go to my brother’s 22nd birthday celebration at our favorite Mexican restaurant, our go-to spot for birthday dinners. During my appointment, I had actually detached from my phone for once; I left it in the console of my car to regain its lost battery life. Once I returned and settled in to the driver’s seat, I took it out and of course starting scrolling through everything I had missed in the past 45 minutes of being disconnected. Most things were irrelevant, however I had a surprise waiting for me in my email inbox. An email from Vanderbilt.
I had only applied to Vanderbilt 4 weeks earlier. Amazingly, it was the last school I applied to and the first acceptance I received. Like the feeling of relief when you first get into a college, regardless of which one, I felt overjoyed because knew I would be transferring somewhere! I blissfully blasted my favorite music and drove to meet up with my family — but waited to tell them for a few minutes in order to avoid making my brother’s birthday about me. :)
I put my deposit down on Vandy because I only had two weeks to decide (read my other blog post about the difficulty navigating the transfer acceptance timeline here) but never ended up losing the money. Even with other acceptances later on, nothing beat out Vanderbilt.
I still think back on this day with such a sense of happiness and pride. Not only did my chimichanga serve the dual purpose of both celebrating my brother and congratulating me, I also felt so content with myself. With an acceptance rate around 10%, getting in to Vanderbilt is challenging. And once you are here, it is easy to get caught up in the competition at a top 15 university; it is hard to congratulate yourself for everything you have accomplished. With a community of people constantly vying for the best grades, the best resume, and the best future job, but I think it is important to sit back and reflect on the hard work you have put in to get yourself to this point. Of course I was on cloud nine when I got into Vanderbilt, but I strive daily to feel that I am enough without a single moment’s justification.
I think everyone should celebrate their Vandy-versary. Or, if the date is not engraved in the back of your head like it weirdly is with me (I told you, it’s because of my brother’s birthday!!), pick sometime to celebrate and pat yourself on the back for getting into such a great school.
Happy Vandy-versary, today and in the future!