“Stepping” into the Portal

//PICTURED ABOVE: Views editor Emily Wu, copy editor Ponette Kim and managing editor Paige Halveson

‘Tis the season, but Christmas presents are not the only surprises seniors will be getting during this time of the year. As early decision results are hitting the calendar, many people have already started picturing the moment of surprise. Should the moment be joined by a number of friends, or should it be enjoyed separately? The Fourcast writers take their stances.

Joy Sharers

by Paige Halverson

Forget the holidays—it’s college season, seniors, whether you like it or not. You’ve written the essays, sent in the scores and satisfied countless strangers’ college questions with “any state but Texas” or “east coast,” hundreds of times. Now, college decisions are coming. Appearing ominously either in your inbox or on your doorstep, the bombardment of acceptances or rejections will be arriving your way very soon, and there’s no hiding.

If you happen to get your hands on these letters before your meddlesome and apprehensive parents, you must determine when and where to open these life-changing envelopes. In your short life, these may as well be the most consequential, thrilling and painful seconds you will ever experience. So, the next question one must undoubtedly ask is: with whom do I share these moments with?

As for myself, I first surveyed the few secluded spots in my house where I can curl up, open a letter and continue either to cry or scream in peace, but after further investigation, the clear answer came to me. After spending my last four years with amazingly intelligent, compassionate and competitive girls at Hockaday, I want to share these special moments with people who have gone through the same thing as myself. Laughing, suffering and growing together throughout high school, I feel as though it is only natural to share these experiences that will determine my future with the people who have helped shape my present.

You could say I am slightly biased, having spent my last 18 years doing everything with my mirror-image hovering unwaveringly beside me, but having a twin has taught me that special moments usually tend to be shared with the ones you love the most.

From school to sports to taking out the trash, we’re conjoined at the hip. So, like many students, we’ve set a plan to open our letters with each other, whether it be in the car, at home or during Y period.

If that doesn’t float your college-boat, you can follow the example of our beloved graduated senior class of 2018. Try opening them in the school parking lot, your advisor’s classroom or the bathroom on the third floor of the science building–my personal favorite.

In such an encouraging but similarly competitive academic environment, sometimes seniors forget that one is not defined by the institution that awards your college degree. A rejection doesn’t indicate that life’s doors will now close indefinitely, as an acceptance also doesn’t determine your life’s success, effort or drive.

Knowing this, and ready to face either an acceptance or a rejection with a group of compassionate people by my side, I can conquer these letters with a celebratory entourage or a consoling shoulder to cry on.

So whether you choose to celebrate with a throng of your closest comrades or just your non-judgmental cat, remember that your worth and value in this world doesn’t change after you open your college decision letter. So no matter whatever comes in the mail around Dec. 15, the world awaits your contributions.

Privacy Lovers

by Emily Wu

Life is a bellowing river that runs through valleys and plains. The upsides and downsides of our lives, often unexpected, mark the milestones in our journey that surface throughout different phases of time. Though the river of our lives flows freely with streams constantly dividing and then rejoining, this river will always remain intact, roaming down to the ocean and leaving its own unique mark on the vast expanse on earth.

For me, my life is about me. Don’t take this the wrong way: like the blossom on a tree, every- one’s life is separate yet intertwined. It is important to recognize this so we can to reserve some portions of our lives while sharing others. By drawing a clear boundary between what is to be shared and what is to be kept to oneself, we can maximize the joy of experiencing aspects of living a complete life.

But some might wonder, why should I live the so-called “complete” life? And how will not sharing make my life complete? Most importantly, how do I know if my life isn’t complete now?

To be honest, such joy was also foreign for me until almost half a decade ago. Although I advocate for the preserving of some privacies in life now, even I did not understand the importance of such preservation until a chilly March evening in 2015.

It was March 7. An unforgettable date which caused an immeasurable amount of anxiety and concern for me, even in the leading up to this date. Although I had been living in China for almost 16 years, the next phase of my life would be going to the United States for high school. After a year spent preparing, traveling and test-taking, the day had finally come when I had to face the results of my efforts.

Therefore, on the evening of March 7, I turned to my parents for help. Unloading the passwords and account user names for my application portal on my mom, I seemed to be freed from the stress and uneasiness of facing my results.

Oddly, I found myself breaking away from the intensified atmosphere as the minute hand of the clock approached closer to the release time. While my mother sat across from me and refreshed the application status page once per minute, I felt a strange sense of distortion, as if she was the one whose future was at stake.

I wish I could tell you how we hugged and screamed together when the acceptance letter finally hit the inbox. I wish I could describe how her face lit up and how I felt a huge sense of relief. I wish I could tell a vivid story or picture a scenario. But the truth is, I cannot.

The “great news” became different when it was delivered from another person’s mouth.”

As my mother rushed over and wrapped her arms around me, I felt the weight of the news landing heavily on top of my head. I watched her mouth move in excitement, but I felt like a child whose Christmas present was left unwrapped.

It is true that the process of decision checking can be stressful. I was able to trick my brain into escaping from the stress of checking the decision alone, but when I cast out the anxiety and the responsibility of shouldering the pressure, I also gave up the ceremonial and solemn sense that comes along with taking a new step in my life.

Opening college decisions are like opening Schro?dinger’s Box. You never would’ve known what’s laying behind the sealed box—vital news or disappointing misfortune. But no matter what kind of news it contains, it represents an important phase in our lives. Accepted, rejected, wait-listed– all three of these words hold a key to a corresponding door, and all three of the doors can lead to a different branch in the junction of life.

Accepting the decision alone symbolizes the acknowledgment of taking on a new phase of life. Sharing the joy or asking friends to shoulder our disappointments is not forbidden, but for that instant in time when our future is about to be revealed, the step taken needs to be our own.

And for that reason, I would like to keep the process of opening decisions for, and only for, myself. I would like to be alone when I’m standing at that junction. I would like to stand by myself, facing whichever result I receive and quietly witness my life fall into its next phase.


Emily Wu

Emily is an amateur gamer who loves fencing and digging into her avocado. Her dream is to have a jewelry box filled with a collection of her most favorite rings—including her Hockaday senior ring.

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