NYU is who they reject, and i was rejected by them. Somewhere in that exchange of $50 and a heavy manila piece of paper with my essay about intolerance and growing up attached we agreed to define each other. NYU already knows exactly what it is because i am just one tiny speck of rejection on the wide face of their thirty thousand plus applications every year. But, i have yet to define them. To this point i have just been “peter, who did some theatre and took some advanced placement tests and didn’t get into NYU.” And, so, now i feel like i have to be something… something that represents what NYU passed up when they passed on me.
Of course, Mr. NYU didn’t really mean “You are who you reject” with any sort of positive intent other than increase in reputation. He never gave the indication that students could use their rejection to define themselves better or that they should realize that they were only being turned away because a fine institution is as much about who they admit as they are about who they don’t. There isn’t any reason to wonder about such things, and that’s why his school can afford to be nearly the most expensive place to get a degree in the entire country. He said his catchphrase and then launched into how the school targets their mailings at specific grade levels and about how they guarantee four-year housing to all students from outside of the five boroughs because none of them could ever afford to live anywhere near the school on their own.
And i was stuck on instant replay in my head, taking the meeting’s minutes down like an automaton while i wondered. He didn’t mean it as a key to self help, but i’ll be damned if i don’t use it that way. Because, i do not want to visit drexel in 10 years and hear someone say in some faceless heartless presentation that i’m the kind of student that they gobbled up 15 years ago but that now i would barely even meet the criteria to slip in the back way through our local community college. The thought of it makes me sick.
NYU and i are stuck together for life. And, if you want to get more compulsive about this than i’m being, every job and listener and reader and girl who turned me down is now saddled with me more than if they had just gave in and paid me some effort. But, the burden is on my shoulders. I’ve got to become somebody.