It’s that time of year – college acceptance time.
Recently, I noticed a Facebook post from a friend regarding all of the happy acceptance posts. You know the ones I am referring to – “BLANK UNIVERSITY 2023!!!!!” or the video of the very excited student as he or she gets the thrilling news.
This friend’s post was trying to remind us that, while some are getting the best news of their lives and want to share it with the world, others are terribly disappointed after not being accepted. Her advice was to remember those who are sad and going through a hard time, and to be respectful.
As you can probably imagine, there were many comments on this post, both agreeing and disagreeing with her opinion. People truly have strong feelings on this subject and I understand why.
I am a mom of two daughters, one who was not accepted to her top choice college, and one who got the thrilling news that she was accepted into the school of her dreams just a few weeks ago.
As you can imagine, I have been on both ends of this spectrum.
Two years ago, I watched my older daughter become sad and feel rejected. Because she didn’t have a clear second choice school, she ultimately chose the “wrong” college for herself. She ended up leaving the school, and then transferring second semester to a better fit for her. It all worked out in the end but it was a very stressful time.
While this was all happening, it seemed as if everyone else in the world was accepted to a school that they loved, and then settling happily into college life. We know this is not always the case, but it sometimes appears that way on social media.
This past September, my younger daughter applied Early Decision to the college of her dreams. She fell in love with the school years ago and had her heart set on going there. She worked very hard all through high school to achieve the grades and test scores to be accepted.
When the decision came last month, she was more nervous than I had ever seen her. She and I sat in front of her computer screen while her sister videoed us. We decided that if the news was bad, the video would be deleted immediately. I saw her hands shaking as she clicked on the “decision” button, and I held my breath.
There it was – she was accepted. Her sister continued to video as we jumped up and down with excitement. I had truly never seen her so happy.
When we calmed down, the question went off in my head, “Should I post this happy video or not?”
I wanted to shout the happy news from the rooftops. I was beyond proud of my daughter and wanted the world to know. She had worked so hard to get into the college of her dreams and she deserved all the happiness she was feeling.
Having been on the other side of things, I couldn’t help but think of those who did not get happy news and were feeling very let down. Would it be unkind to “show off” our happiness when others were so sad?
My answer came quickly, and it came from my older daughter. Within two minutes of taking that happy video, she posted it on her own Facebook page and on an Instagram story. She was the one who shouted from the rooftops how proud she was of her little sister.
Although I am sure she remembered how sad and disappointed she was just two years earlier, there was not a jealous or bitter thought in her head. She was not sad that she had missed out on this wonderful experience. She was only happy and excited for her sister and wanted to share the news with the world.
At that moment, I was beyond proud of both my girls. They were creating a wonderful moment of happiness together and I wanted to be a part of it.
That was when I created my own Facebook post to congratulate my daughter on her fabulous achievement. She deserved for me to share our happy news.
College acceptance time is stressful for all our kids. Social media and sharing our lives with the world makes it even more so. Posting our own happiness this year was a personal decision, but I do feel for all kids who are going through this at the same time.
Stacy was a stay-at-home mom/part-time preschool teacher whose life was turned upside down in 2011 when her husband tragically passed away. After a few very difficult years, she started The Widow Wears Pink, a blog about her widow life.
Stacy has been published in Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Her View From Home, Better After 50, Modern Loss, Grown & Flown,, Option B, Kveller, Mamalode, Sammiches & Psychmeds, and Thought Catalog. She is a contributor on Hope for Widows Foundation and freelances for Today.com. She is currently working on both her memoir and a fiction novel.