It’s weird: A recent Wall Street Journal op ed by embittered high school senior Suzy Lee Weiss — an open letter to all the colleges that rejected her — reads like an April Fools’ Day joke. Except it’s not, and Ms. Weiss seems to believe that it’s everyone else, not her, that’s responsible for her failure to get accepted to her preferred schools.
Writes Weiss in the lengthy screed, “Had I known two years ago what I know now, I would have gladly worn a headdress to school. Show me to any closet, and I would’ve happily come out of it. ‘Diversity!’ I offer about as much diversity as a saltine cracker. If it were up to me, I would’ve been any of the diversities: Navajo, Pacific Islander, anything. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, I salute you and your 1/32 Cherokee heritage.”
Weiss then notes that in order to impress colleges she should have “started a fake charity” — a statement that undermines all the actual good works her peers do as volunteers. Then she blames her parents, whom, she says, “left me with a dearth of hobbies that make admissions committees salivate. I’ve never sat down at a piano, never plucked a violin. Karate lasted about a week and the swim team didn’t last past the first lap.” And if that wasn’t enough, she argues that her lack of life-changing summer camp experiences are to blame for her failures. “I should’ve done what I knew was best,” Weiss writes in a breezy, nonchalant tone. “Go to Africa, scoop up some suffering child, take a few pictures, and write my essays about how spending that afternoon with Kinto changed my life.” And internships? Well those are just for people who are lucky enough to have relatives that will let them hang out at their offices. “I could have been a gopher in the office of someone I was related to. Work experience!”
Plus, she says, aren’t colleges all about you just “being yourself”? Well, no, actually. Colleges aren’t about coddling your very low personal expectations because you’re such a unique little snowflake. And in reality? Most colleges — good ones, anyway — have fairly high expectations for potentials students. They want kids that push themselves to achieve, who exhibit social and intellectual curiosity. Because, as Gawker’s Caity Weaverputs it, “Being yourself is not a talent. If you worked two full-time jobs all the way through high school and one of them was ‘being yourself’ and the other was ‘trying your best,’ you actually worked zero full-time jobs. It’s important to make time for yourself, of course, but you should be making other things in addition to that. Like goals and plans and effort.” In other words, you shouldn’t get a trophy (college acceptance) just for showing up (being yourself).
So what did Suzy Lee Weiss do to prepare for college applications instead? It seems that she treated herself to the world’s biggest pity party. While her classmates were out getting internships, participating in after-school activities and volunteering, Weiss was doing what? Whining about how it was so unfair that other people were developing themselves? Complaining that her parents didn’t offer her the best of everything and “Tiger Mom” her into a success?
Maybe the lesson for Ms. Weiss isn’t that she’d have gotten into college if only she’d “worn a headdress to school,” but that colleges are no different than the general population: They don’t like assholes. And they, like the rest of us, don’t appreciate deep-seated resentment, mild racism and selfishness in potential friends, mates and students.
Maybe, Ms. Weiss, you were rejected because your piss-poor attitude of entitlement and privilege seeped out of every word you wrote on your college application. No one “lied to you” about what colleges want. They want you to “be yourself,” as long as the “you” in question isn’t a smug jerk who believes you’re entitled to get everything you want just because you want it. And that, Ms. Weiss, is where you went wrong. [Wall Street Journal]