Old Westbury

So we’re not going to talk about my high school GPA. Maybe it rhymed with poo point hives. And I scored less on the SAT than someone told me you got just for spelling your name right. My ACT I did a little better on, but nothing great. The dream of college in New York City wasn’t going to happen; I can’t remember how I came across Old Westbury then. 1996? Probably in a college book. I applied, then ignored everything from them—like their letters requesting this transcript or that transcript or this recommendation or that recommendation. I had one high school teacher I would’ve asked for a recommendation letter and I waited way too long to ask. I think before high school graduation I knew I wasn’t going anywhere; I was working at my dream job—a video store (Tarantino and Kevin Smith damaged a lot of ambitions for white guys in the mid-1990s, which probably wasn’t a bad thing in the long run). Definitely by the end of that summer, I wasn’t thinking about Old Westbury at all. Their packet telling me they were expecting to see me in a couple weeks came as a big surprise early that August. I don’t even know if I told my parents about it. My best friend and I disagreed—when I did get to undergrad—about when is the right time for college. He said right after high school (I have no idea if he feels the same way, we have much more important things to do in our late thirties like watch Kindergarten Cop 2 than talk higher education), I said when the person decides they’re ready. I didn’t know I was ready when I did get to college. It turned out I was more than ready. But, in truth, I could’ve sent the transcripts, could’ve gotten the recommendation letter. I was just so scared of the whole thing I gave up on the idea. A few years later, when I was home over the summer from undergrad, I ran into some guys from high school at the bar. One of them told me our class had the highest rate of college drop-outs—like we went to college, then dropped out during the first year. College was nothing like what high school told me it would be; it was good, for one thing.

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