A recent study revealed that if your kids have low self-esteem, lavishing them with praise just makes is worse. In fact, it makes them less likely to accept challenges when given the option between a difficult assignment and an easy one. We were skeptical (since one Gabbler writer swears that praising her cat is what made “my ickle-cuddlekins finally achieve the self-esteem he deserved), so we looked at the facts: the journal entry of a 17-year-old boy who was recently rejected early decision from the University of Pennsylvania, his first choice school. Turns out this whole “scientific research” thing may actually get stuff right once in a while.
January 6th, 2014
Well, it’s finally happened. The expected rejection letter from UPenn sailed into my mailbox this morning sometime after I enjoyed my last bowl of Fruit Loops ever. Why? Because losers don’t deserve Fruit Loops, that’s why.
I always knew. My mom would chatter on about how I was “just about the smartest little man in the whole wide universe.” On a side note, Mom, little men don’t tower over their mothers at almost six feet tall, okay?! I’m at the very least just about the smartest big man in the whole wide universe.
But they both told me that, my Mom and Dad. They said I was so smart and handsome and charming, with a devilish grin and a witty sense of humor that must just about drive the girls crazy. Never mind that I just had my first kiss about a month ago. I mean, sure the chick was super hot. Except for the braces. And the acne. And okay, maybe she was my second cousin. And maybe my face just kind of fell on top of hers while we were both drunk and laughing on the basement couch after Thanksgiving dinner. But I’m pretty sure our lips touched, so I’m counting it.
The point is, my parents told me to go for it. “Apply to UPenn, Charlie. They’ll be lucky to have you. Someone needs to class up that joint. And did you see the students in their brochure? It’ll be nice for them to finally have a student who’s actually good-looking enough to be an international supermodel.” Not that I’m a supermodel. My parents just like to remind me that I could be one, looks wise, if I just weren’t so smart that I would get easily bored by a job that’s so beneath the reach of my intellectual capabilities.
Turns out UPenn will have to wait for their supermodel, though, because I wasn’t good enough. That’s right Mom and Dad, your athletic, creative, resourceful, intelligent, and handsome son wasn’t good enough. Of course I don’t actually play any sports (“it wouldn’t be fair for all the other boys, because they would never get time on the field,” according to my dad) and the most creative thing I’ve done recently is draw 3-D boxes all over my Calc notes (but I “have the soul of an artist,” according to my mom).
So it’s over. I guess college just wasn’t in the cards for me. I mean, SURE, I had all those other applications that I was going to send out in a week or so for my backup schools. But what’s the point? The jig is up.
I did tell my parents that to be athletic and smart and involved you actually had to be good at sports and get good grades and actually join extracurricular activities, but they just shook their heads and told me to shoot for the moon. “Just go for it, Charlie, you’re so special that everyone will see you belong among the stars!” Yeah, right, Mom. Yeah, right.
Now I know for sure that I’m not good enough for college. I’ve dedicated my whole life to this (okay, maybe just about half an hour studying a day since sophomore year, but it FELT like a lot) and now I’ve failed. There’s no reason to waste my time applying to other schools just to face the heartbreak of rejection all over again.
I’m off. I need to see if McDonald’s is hiring. It looks like that’s the only future I’m qualified for. I can only hope that I’m at least good enough to work at the register, instead of flipping burgers.