Anonymous drawing accessed through Google images
I was pretty surprised to get an invitation to apply for admission to NHS. I screamed. My parents screamed. My sister screamed all the way from college in Pennsylvania. I read through the letter and set an alarm on my phone for the application info meeting. I was jittery with excitement the whole school day leading up to the meeting. When the last bell rang, I ran through the crowded halls searching for the right room.
The next three weeks were a blur. I ran around to the organizations where I had volunteered to get signatures. It was nice seeing people I hadn’t talked to in a while and catching up. It was also refreshing to be reminded of all the volunteering I’ve done during my high school years. Of course, it was a tad stressful with the deadline and people’s crowded schedules. And on top of running around for signatures, I had to write an essay bragging about my character, leadership, and service.
The only essay writing I’ve ever done is analyses of texts in English class so I was nervous to have to write in a different style. But I gave it a shot. When I was done, I shared my essay doc with my sister, who is an NHS alumni, to check it over. She made me delete it and write it again. So I wrote it again and my sister approved of my valiant efforts. Finally the day came to hand in my application. And the waiting began.
This is when the story turns dark.
I got rejected. I was numb. I was suspended in a state of disappointment. I wasn’t sad, I couldn’t really feel. I don’t remember much of the rest of the day. Not that it mattered. What I do remember is my friend calling me later that night telling me that he got in and wondering if I did too. That moment it hit me. I didn’t get into NHS. Rejected…Am I not good enough? What was lacking? Was it my character? My leadership? My service? I wanted answers. So I decided to write to Mrs. Watkins.
Yee boi… I went off sis. I did some research. I read up on the NHS National Constitution and the Chapter Bylaws Of The Mansfield High School Chapter Of The National Honor Society. I wrote for two hours straight, ending up with a three page email which was basically a more emotional version of my application essay, hoping to convince Mrs. Watkins to have a meeting with me, where I imagined she would comfort me, and tell me what I wanted to know. I remember hovering over the send button for what felt like an eternity. And finally I just held my breath and sent it.
Mrs. Watkins emailed me back saying that she would be happy to meet with me but reminded me that our school’s NHS chapter has no appeal process (which I knew) and that she herself doesn’t even know why students are accepted or rejected (didn’t know). She was kind. She told me she was sorry she couldn’t do more. Disappointment hit me again. Is that it? I wouldn’t mind not getting an appeal, but not knowing where my application (literally me) was lacking was super hard.
In the end, I was left to comfort myself. I had to decide if I thought I was worthy, even if NHS didn’t. It took me a while, but I realized that I shouldn’t let an anonymous rejection define who I am. Not gonna lie, it still stings. But I had to let it go. I realized that colleges won’t have to tell me why I didn’t get accepted, that my Nintendo switch won’t tell me why it’s glitching, that some employers might not hire me. That making my way as an adult in the real world might be a lot less certain than I had assumed and that the defeat I feel now might seem small in comparison. Life’s a force, but let’s be honest, it be like that sometimes.