Setbacks and Turnarounds

I have the response letter from the college of my son’s choice sitting on the counter. He applied a month ago and has been waiting impatiently for it. We just talked about it today, as a matter of fact. It came later while he was out. It’s the one and only college he wants to attend. He’s been throwing away letters from other colleges because he won’t even consider them. This one is “it” for him. His dream.

You know what I’m going to say don’t you? I couldn’t wait. I slit it open to peek. He was not accepted. My heart sank. I’m sitting with this knowledge hoping to get to a place where my response to him is the right one. It’s like when they are toddlers and look to you when they do something to see what your reaction is. Our kids take their cues from us. I want my cue to be positive and confident. I want him to know I believe in him and I will help him get where he wants to go. It will just be a different route.

I’m really sad for him for right now. But, really, I know it’s going to be just fine. I said so today when we talked about it earlier before we received the letter. “You know, no matter what, you’re going to be okay, right?” He agreed. He’s got a fantastic brain and nothing will stop him from reaching his goals, so I’m okay with this minor setback. This will not crush him. It’s not the end of his dream. We just have to find another way. They may be the gatekeepers for admission for right now, but there is more than one way to skin a cat and we’ll find it. He can: go to a local college for a year and boost his grades, take a few classes but not officially enroll, go back to admissions when his AP grades come in, talk to the director of admissions for suggestions, etc….There are ways to get where he wants to go and it’s just a matter of how, not if.

Setbacks can be a gift. It forces you to think your way around a problem. It humbles you a bit. Then, you look around and say, “Now what do I have to do?” and, you get to work.

(He just walked in. I’m going to give him the letter now….I’m getting a little choked up. Need to stop that….compose….)

Okay, so I handed it to him. He was all lit up until he realized he wasn’t accepted. He was cool about it though. I said, “It’s going to work out.” and he said, “Of course it is! I kind of expected it.” We went through our “losing everything” phase during his freshman and sophomore year. His grades suffered  because of it. So, though his ACT scores are stellar and his current grades are as well, those first two years of high school brought down his GPA. So, 2 minutes after getting the news that he was not accepted at the school of his dreams, he sat at his computer and started looking at other options for his first year and is figuring out plan B. Ya’ gotta love a kid like that.

Wait a minute, now he’s talking Europe. HA! “Since this whole thing is out the window, I can go anywhere. How about Europe? I could find an international study program” Ha, ha…..This is kind of funny. I typed this as it unfolded. You went through my initial angst and nervousness to tell my son that his dream school did not accept him, and minutes later he was on to the next thing and laughing about it. I just told him I typed all this out as it happened. He was kind of shocked, but laughed about it, “At least you didn’t take a picture of my reaction and put it on Facebook.”

It just goes to show you that setbacks aren’t the end of the world, they can be an opportunity to open your mind to even better possibilities. My kid wants a PhD in physics. He’s going to get it. He might be in Europe somewhere studying for it instead of in Golden fifteen minutes from me, but he’s going to do it and we’re going to enjoy the ride…..

“Sometimes good things fall apart, so better things can fall together” Marilyn Monroe

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