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"The College Game" Now Becomes "The Life Game"

By Lyle Li, Vanderbilt University

Getting the News

I was born on March 28th 1994. Two years ago, I almost forgot to celebrate my own birthday.Throughout that week, I had been accepted into a number of very respectable and well-known universities. Yet, I was still waiting on my number one choice, the institution that I envisioned myself attending. I tossed and turned, trying desperately to find whatever distractions were immediately available, but I simply could not find any comfort. My mind was stubbornly fixated on the decision letter.Finally, on April 1st, my dad came into my bedroom, handing me a small envelope. I almost crumbled up the letter before even opening it since I already knew the content solely from the size of the package. It was just different from all the nicely decorated folders that were stacked on my computer desk.I suppose many of you are experiencing some of the same sentiments. You question what else could you have done differently, was there anything missing from your application, could you have better presented yourself, or did the admissions officer have a lapse in judgment during the review process? These are not signs of being “ungrateful”or “failure to appreciate what you have.” Rather, this is evidence that you do indeed take pride in your future.

"The College Process Game" Now Becomes "The Life Game" 

I want to help you reframe your internal dialogue. One consistent pattern that has surfaced in many of the students that I mentor through the NextGenVest Global Club Network is the inability to see the long-term implications of a single letter. Granted yes, the institution you attend will offer different assortment of academic rigor, social networks, professionalsupport, and so forth. Yet, often overlooked is the active agent, you. Yes, you filled out that Common App. You devoted countless hours to extracurricular activities. You pulled a few all-nighters to cramp for those exams. You went to each teacher and kindly asked for recommendations.Now, if you did all of this to position yourself for success in high school, what is stopping you from translating this dedication into post-secondary education but the temporary sense of disappointment? That grit you developed to play an active role in "The College Process Game" can't go away. You will never stop having to craft and tell your own story effectively. You will never have to stop building relationships with people who will mentor and believe in you. You will never have to stop asking people for help. The next "College Process Game" is now called "The Life Game".

"If Opportunity Doesn't Knock, Build A Door" 

During my Spring Break, I started to clean out my bedroom since my mom demanded that I do so before departing for Vandy. Shelved between my high school diploma and my deck of old Yu-Gi-Oh cards was that rejection letter. I did not even remember saving it. With time, it no longer carried the same weight.I am currently attending Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, not studying International Relations as I had originally intended, but rather, Human & Organizational Development within the university’s Peabody College along with a minor in Corporate Strategy. I hope to use all that I have learned in the classrooms to carve out my own entrepreneurial path. I hope that you guys can too.And oh yeah, almost forgot...Congrats on getting into college, get ready for a whole new game.

Want to get advice from Lyle and other NGV College Fellows? APPLY HERE to set up a NGV Global Club.