Three weeks ago, I woke up from a nap after school and rolled off the couch toward my laptop to check my email. It was the day before I was supposed to hear, but I had been checking my email all day long just in case I was misinformed about the date of my notification. When I saw an email with the subject "Northwestern application status," my heart rate skyrocketed.
Clicking on the email, it told me that my decision had been made and that I could "click here" to view my letter, which would come officially by mail in the coming days. Taking a deep breath, I hovered the mouse, closed my eyes, and clicked—opening them to without a doubt the most satisfying email I've ever received.
Getting into your first choice college early decision is a feeling dissimilar to anything else. I looked at the screen for a little while and reread the letter, sitting on my couch, and thought that everything I had worked for in 11+ years of grade school culminated in that email. It was a stamp of validation on everything I had ever done.
I was really lucky with the way things turned out. Of course, I am lucky to have gotten into my top choice school, but I am specifically referring to the way I handled my application process. I was very irresponsible with my applications, and in fact only completed one other app from my list of 11 before hearing back from Northwestern University. Had I not gotten in, let's just say that I would not have had time to write an article about not getting into to college early decision. I am lucky that I had any sort of Winter Break to speak of.
The beautiful, and eerie, thing about being accepted early decision is that you are locked in indefinitely. My enrollment decision is made for me, which removes me from the mayhem and hysteria that characterizes the month of April when the regular decision applicants make their final decisions. However, there is something appealing to me about collecting all the acceptance letters one might acquire and having more time to do side-by-side comparisons between schools. This is a huge decision, and I couldn't use too much time making it.
The first question people ask me when they hear about my news is "So are you putting it in cruise control for the rest of the year?" Part of me wants to tell them that I've completed my last high school homework assignment, and part of me wants to tell them what I know is the right thing: I will maintain my grades. However, I think the real difference between Pre-Acceptance Josh and Post-Acceptance Josh will be my stress level. I will continue to work as hard as I always have, but I know that in a worst-case scenario I have a little extra room for error.
All in all, I am very happy. I recognize just how fortunate I am, and I am very glad that the term "college process" no longer has any relevance to me.
Editor's Note: Josh Solomon is a senior at Westfield High School and an intern for Westfield Patch. Westfield Patch does not encourage Josh or any other senior at WHS who has been accepted early decision to go on complete senioritis for the rest of the school year.