Have you heard? This afternoon, decisions for Tufts2017 go live. For me, more than a year of work - traveling, blogging, and especially reading applications - comes to a close in one spectacular moment. While you're frantically hitting the refresh button in your email, the admissions officers are counting down (literally) and holding our breath. My own anticipation (almost) rises to match our applicants waiting at home; later today, I'll finally be able to reach out to the students we admit to gush about their apps, after months of waiting, of biting my tongue.
Still, it's bittersweet.
For every one student that I helped admit, there's another I adored who will be disappointed. We had good reasons for our decisions, reasons I understand, yet my heart wishes for a different outcome. We don't have the space on campus – like my dean says, so many great applicants, not enough room. It was hard not to love you, even when our admit rate tells me to restrict my enthusiasm.
I can't help but feel, for the next few hours anyway, so what? All of you touched my life and brightened my world, and I feel proud to have stewarded your applications, no matter what the result. To commemorate that, below are just a few of the applicants who moved me this year and what I want to tell them; some of them are about to be admitted, some of them won't. But I'm going to thank you, and celebrate you, in these final hours all the same.
To the half-philosopher-half-biologist itching to delve into the wonders of evolutionary biology and biological anthropology, the one who believes that even the appreciation of the aesthetics of literature can be approached with mathematical precision: give me your book recommendations and I will read them all.
To the Marylander who “geeked out” about chemistry with our alum interviewer, has secret crushes on NPR personalities, and who loves the word 'adore': your entire application hemorrhaged enthusiasm for ideas like a stuck pig and I soaked up every gruesome moment of it.
To the gal who wrote her Common App essay about the blues: I loved it. I read it once, then read it again because it was so interesting. You entire app was from another planet, like if Plutarch were to write about 1950s pop culture from Mars, and to visit your world, even for just a slice of a February afternoon, was an experience I'll never forget.
To the “Drag King” whose interests span from theater to economics, who learns foreign languages in secret and dreams of reclaiming the power of femininity and is able to effortless drop the most hilarious Dr Who references: how could I ever possibly describe how cool you are?
To the Ohioan with incredibly dense ideas, yet such a spunky and fun personality: you are singular. It was a delight to wrestle with the kinetic energy in your app, and to attempt the impossible of summarizing your file.
To the applicant in the sticks, who lamented the lack of funding in schools and somehow managed to take more AP classes than the school actually offers, who thrives on and seeks out every intellectual challenge available: you inspire me, and I am secretly jealous of your plunk and spirit.
To the Brit with the big smile who delights in playing (and building) with fancy magnets and gadgets with maximum voltage, and who paradoxically advocates for lower-tech solutions to our problems: your teachers love you and now I do, too.
If you get exciting news from Tufts this afternoon, then find me. Find me on Twitter, or on Facebook, or send me an email, and I cannot wait to celebrate with you and offer you an electronic (and perhaps, eventually, a literal) high five. You're awesome, and we love you, and come to campus to meet the people above who got admitted, too, and to find all the people who are already your friends but just don't know it yet.
If you're reading this after being disappointed, while it's perhaps a small consolation, it was still a privilege for me, for all of us here, to meet you and perhaps to grow to love you, too. It's who you are that matters, not where you get in.