You matter most

This piece from The Chicago Tribune’s Heidi Stevens, “What I want high school seniors to hear loud and clear, in the wake of the celebrity college cheating scandal,” should be required reading for all high school students and parents who have felt anxious, disheartened, or just plain beaten down by the competition for admission to highly-selective colleges. The message is important enough that I’m hesitant to share a passage here as I’d hate for readers to gulp and move on. But here’s the overarching message, the details of which deserve a click and a thorough read.

“You can find happiness and success — not to mention brilliance and inspiration and lifelong friendships and mind-blowing authors and really good art and really bad coffee — on thousands of college campuses…The key ingredient is you. What you bring. Who you are when you get there. Who you are when you leave. You matter most in this equation.”

One of the messages I hammer home daily here is that it’s what you do in college, not where you go, that matters. Students, you are what’s important. You, not your test scores, and not the ranking of your college.  You are the most important ingredient in charting your future. I say that not to pressure you, but to empower you.

No matter what happens as your admissions decisions arrive, no matter which colleges say yes and which lose out on the chance to add you to their freshman halls, you are still the x-factor for your life today and tomorrow. Wherever you go to college, what matters most is what you do with that opportunity.

You matter most.