Pittsburgh teen bitterly lashes out at colleges that rejected her


April 2, 2013

You didn’t get into your dream school. Or maybe you were waitlisted, and you know there’s little hope you will ever actually enroll. Or maybe your financial aid package was less than expected, and you can’t afford to attend that dream school. Or maybe you got into several colleges, and you just don’t know what to do with your life.

And while it seems like everyone else in your graduating class is posting acceptance letters on Facebook, sending in college housing deposits and coasting toward graduation, you instead feel bitter, anxious and unsure what to do next.

I saw these sorts of emotions explode on Twitter yesterday when I tweeted a link to a Wall Street Journal opinion piece written by Suzy Lee Weiss, a Pittsburgh high school senior, and titled “To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me.”

Weiss wrote: “Colleges tell you, ‘Just be yourself.’ That is great advice, as long as yourself has nine extracurriculars, six leadership positions, three varsity sports, killer SAT scores and two moms. Then by all means, be yourself! If you work at a local pizza shop and are the slowest person on the cross-country team, consider taking your business elsewhere.”

After taking swipes at diversity, tiger moms and overseas service trips, Weiss ends the piece by writing: “To those claiming that I am bitter — you bet I am! An underachieving selfish teenager making excuses for her own failures? That too! To those of you disgusted by this, shocked that I take for granted the wonderful gifts I have been afforded, I say shhhh — ‘The Real Housewives’ is on.”

The comments I saw on Twitter ranged from, “Ah tongue-in-cheek racism. How clever. ” to “This is hilarious and true!” to “She’s a foolish, spoiled child.” One person simply wrote, “#nailedit.”

On Facebook, I received this thoughtful comment: “I overall appreciated the essay, but not the swipe at diversity. I do think there is a ridiculous ideal being promoted by colleges at the expense of teenagers’ mental and physical health, as well as the strength of family life.”

What do you think?

Jenna Johnson writes about Maryland politics, including the General Assembly, the administration of Gov. Martin O'Malley and the 2014 election.
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