The past few months have been really hard on my self-esteem. All my life I’ve been considered a smart guy. In elementary school the other kids made every effort to copy test answers off me or get me in their groups for projects. It was kind of fun, being in that position. I mean, all of us nerds got picked on by the cool kids back in the day, but my treatment was substantially better because the cool kids needed me every now and then, and if they picked on me, I wouldn’t help them with their schoolwork.

In high school I was no longer the single Smartest Man Alive, but I was still part of that elite group. And coming out of high school, schools threw small amounts of money at me in order to try and sway my decision.

So you can imagine how it feels getting rejection letter after rejection letter. It hurts, it really does. I’ve tried to play it stoic, but I can honestly say that it’s been the single most demoralizing and humbling experience I’ve ever had. Going into this, I thought I was a sure bet for a number of schools, and had a 50-75 percent chance at most of the others. The only school that I really expected to get rejected by was U of T. Instead, I’ve been rejected by more schools than have accepted me. Within Canada, I’ve only had one positive response.

One out of six, when I was expecting three for sure, and possibly as many as five.

That on its own sucks, but what really gets to me is seeing people I went to high school with posting joyous news of their acceptances to various law schools. These are people that I know I’m smarter than, and they’re getting accepted by schools which have rejected me. I know I shouldn’t feel sad or angry about other peoples’ success, but it still stings.

I know why this is happening, too. It’s because after first year I made the decision to transfer from Queen’s to U of T. I very quickly learned that U of T is a much more difficult school, and that achieving a 3.85 GPA at Queen’s is infinitely easier than achieving the same at U of T. But for some insane reason, law schools don’t care. A 3.85 is a 3.85, no matter where it came from. I had convinced myself that this was not the case. Surely graduate schools must be aware that some schools are more difficult than others, right? It’s a fact that’s obvious to anyone who has experience at multiple institutions. And yet, somehow schools remain oblivious to it. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to admit any disparity between undergraduate programs at different schools, maybe they’re too lazy to work out a way to equate grades to each other, or maybe it’s just ignorance. But for whatever reason, that’s the way the system works.

And the result is that people like me who have worked much harder than people studying at Queen’s or Western are not rewarded for our efforts. In fact, we’re punished for it. If it sounds like I’m whining a little bit here, I guess I am. But I think I have every right to. It makes me wonder what my options would be if I’d just bit the bullet and stayed at Queen’s for the remaining three years of my undergrad.

When I’m feeling like that, it makes me glad that I have this blog, because it makes me realize that I never had that option. I look at September and October 2009, and dozens of memories come back to me: Eating in the cafeteria alone every day. Being passed over for invitations to every party and get-together. The coldness that most of the floor treated me with. And then I look at September and October 2010 and see the difference: Eating in the cafeteria with a dozen people every day. Being invited to every party and get-together. The warmness that most of the floor treated me with.

No, I never really had the option of staying at Queen’s. So really, why should I worry? What’s done is done. In September I’ll be starting a new adventure. I don’t know where I’ll be yet, but even though it won’t be the place I’d prefer to be, I still have to get through it. Nothing can change that, so I might as well enjoy it. Right?

Advertisements