‘Tis the season, y’all. No, not just the festive one — ’tis also the season of soul-crushing college rejections! Some of the most renowned U.S. schools are sending our their Early Decision acceptances and rejections this week, and if you’re the parent of a high school senior, you may likely be feeling the stress — and the potential loss — just as much as your kid is. But for those teens currently opening the dreaded Small Envelope Of Doom, Twitter has stepped up to remind you: It’s not the end of the world.
A powerful, often hilarious, and always reassuring Twitter thread on the topic of college rejections surfaced this week courtesy of Billions showrunner Brian Koppelman, and plenty of successful, good-at-adulting adults — from writers to tech folk to celebs — are coming out of the woodwork to confess their own past college admissions rejections.
The message to today’s teens? Life is SO much more than your “dream school.”
Some prestigious colleges are sending early decision notices today/tomorrow. I know this can seem life or death to students and parents. So: if you were rejected or deferred from your first choice, and life ended up just fine the following years, shout out. Tufts deferred me!
— Brian Koppelman (@briankoppelman) December 12, 2019
The list of decidedly non-loser people weighing in on how their own college rejections did everything but end their career dreams runs the gamut — from Hollywood folks like Mike Birbiglia to journalists such as Helen Rosner.
I was determined to go to Juilliard. I didn’t get in. I moved to NY anyway and was lucky enough to find acting work right away. Who the f knows what would have happened if I was in school and unable to audition???Thank you Julliard for rejecting me 🙏
— Shawn Hatosy (@ShawnHatosy) December 13, 2019
All I wanted in life was to write for the Harvard Lampoon. Rejected. Went to Georgetown, met a writing professor who changed the way I think about everything. Met Mulaney, Kroll, Novak. A few years ago Harvard Lampoon made me an honorary member. Nothing is anything until later.
— Mike Birbiglia (@birbigs) December 13, 2019
I was such a terrible high school student that I was rejected from literally every school I applied to and had to go to community college for a year before I could go to a four year school. Turns out that wasn’t the end of the world.
— Maggie Serota (@maggieserota) December 13, 2019
I went to a public party school and couldn’t be happier with that decision. I had the scores and grades for a fancy private school but it wasn’t what I wanted and I was right! There are many good paths.
— Amanda Mull (@amandamull) December 13, 2019
I tend to think most smart HS students will be able to be really fulfilled at almost any college. Even at the tiniest, most off-the-radar schools, the faculty are going to be sharp as hell.
— Helen Rosner (@hels) December 13, 2019
I didnt even go to college and ive had a wonderful life
But perhaps the most delightful (and the most cheekily “F you, Academia”) response is that of iconic actor and humanitarian Mia Farrow, who tweeted, “I didn’t even go to college and I’ve had a wonderful life.” Damn straight she has.
While yes, it’s worth arguing that the importance of having a college degree has likely grown since Farrow was a teen choosing to forgo that route, we may also be approaching a tipping point at which the workforce is so saturated with college degrees that they’ll actually matter less and less. Then there’s the fact that the cost of college is rapidly skyrocketing, pushing more kids and families to find other ways to pursue their career dreams (see: Sean Hatosy’s tweet about finding acting work faster because he wasn’t in school).
Bottom line? Heed what our nation’s once and forever Dad said: “I have no idea where most of the people who worked for me went to college,” he — President Barack Obama, that is — confessed at a tech conference in Salt Lake City this year. “I just know: Did they get stuff done or did they not?”
Dearest dejected teens: We know you get stuff done. And you’ll continue to get stuff done, regardless of where — or if — you attend college. Obama and Farrow say so.