Friday, April 17, 2020

Microstory 1345: Gifted

University Admissions Interviewer: So, I didn’t realize this when my assistant first put it on my calendar, but you’re a freshman in high school, correct?
Gifted Student: That’s right, sir. It’s been my dream to go to this university since I was a kid, though. I’ve been working on a thirty year plan since I was six.
University Admissions Interviewer: That’s...impressive, but why does your plan involve doing an interview with an admissions counselor when you’re only fourteen?
Gifted Student: I’m fifteen, sir, and I don’t see my age as a hindrance. I’m preparing myself for a bright future, and I’ve always seen education as the most important aspect of my life. I wasn’t born a prodigy—
University Admissions Interviewer: Yeah, yeah, yeah, you had to work for everything you have, but that’s not what I asked. Why do this interview so early? You’re not going to be admitted, and so much can happen in the next two years before any institution will take you seriously. High school is all about showing us what you’re made of. Right now, all I have to go on is whatever you did in elementary and middle school.
Gifted Student: Uhh, I didn’t provide those transcripts before, but I have them with me...
University Admissions Interviewer: No, you misunderstand. I don’t mean I’m going to look at your history, and make a judgment about your potential to excel at this university. I mean I don’t care about it, because no one does. My point is that I have very little to go on. Hell, you’re not even finished with finals for this year, so who are you?
Gifted Student: Well, I’m obviously an academic, but I have a range of interests. I play tennis and golf, I’m on the debate team, and I’m not yet allowed to work on the school newspaper or yearbook, but I’ll be doing both of those next year. I’m already and Eagle Scout too. My project was landscaping the courtyard for my middle school.
University Admissions Interviewer: You play tennis and golf. I’m going to take a stab in the dark and assume your school is in a fairly wealthy district.
Gifted Student: Umm. It’s true, I live in the wealthiest county of the state. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know hardship.
University Admissions Interviewer: That’s not what I’m saying. You brought up your Eagle Scout project. You fixed up your school’s courtyard.
Gifted Student: Yes. I had tons of volunteers. I learned a lot of leadership skills during that experience.
University Admissions Interviewer: That’s lovely, except that’s still not my point. Your school is rich, Gifted. It didn’t need your help. You could have repaired a home for someone living in poverty, or blazed a trail for a community arboretum. You chose to do something easy, in a place where you were not needed. Now, this university may not care about that. In fact, I doubt it will take anything into consideration other than the fact that you attained the highest rank in Boy Scouts. But I was a scout, and I do take it seriously, and I’m not impressed.
Gifted Student: Once you’re an Eagle, you’re always an Eagle.
University Admissions Interviewer: Well, I’m gay, so I renounced my affiliation many, many years ago, but that’s neither here not there. This is about you.
Gifted Student: Well, I do charity too. I donate a thousand dollars to Homes for Humankind every single month. If that’s not enough, though, I’m sure I could raise that to once a week.
University Admissions Interviewer: Oh my God. I don’t care about charity either. I care about what you’ve done personally for your community. Where do you get that money? Lifeguarding? Stacking shelves at a grocery store?
Gifted Student: I take it out of my allowance.
University Admissions Interviewer: Right.
Gifted Student: I don’t understand the problem here. This is one of the most expensive universities in the country. Everyone here is rich, except for maybe a few academic scholarships, and recruited student athletes.
University Admissions Interviewer: You’re right, this is as rich as your neighborhood. You would fit in well. But it’s not going to be today, or even next year. Come back when you’re a senior, and really think about how you’re going to grow as a person until then. That’s why we don’t do interviews like this when you’re so young, regardless of what legacy connections your parents may or may not have with someone here. You haven’t learned anything yet, and I don’t want to talk to you until you have.

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