Is this real life?

The past 24 hours I have been through a whirlwind of emotions. I got back to my room in Kellum Hall to start writing a web report about the stabbing that occurred on campus. No more than 15 minutes after I started writing did I get a little email notification on my desktop:

“Columbia University-Admission Decision Available”

My heart stopped for a moment. I wanted to desperately to click on the email, to go directly there to find out, but I couldn’t. I made a commitment to my news organization, and I had to finish writing my story for the web. Needless to say, I finished as quickly as possible. I picked up my phone and called home.

“Hello?” “Mom, get Dad on the phone, but don’t hang up.” “Alright, you’re on speaker phone.”

I clicked the email. It took me to the same page where three months ago I submitted my application. Below all of my documents, “Transcripts: received | Recommendations: received | Writing test: received” read the words “Decision status.” I hovered my mouse over that button for a moment, debating whether I really wanted to see what was on the other side of that HTML link. I had to click. I had to know. This had been eating at me for weeks; every time I got an email and heard my phone’s or computer’s email noise, I jumped.

I clicked.

I didn’t expect to see what I saw—a PDF-type document (written in HTML) showed up on my screen. It was typed like a real admissions letter, with the Columbia Journalism School masthead and my mailing address. The window happened to open up just enough to make me scroll down to see the text of the “letter.”

“On behalf of the Admission Committee, it gives me great pleasure…”

That’s as far as I got. I yelled. No, I didn’t yell. I screamed the loudest scream I’ve ever heard from my throat. My mom started bawling—she couldn’t speak for at least a half an hour. I had to read on.

“…it gives me great pleasure to inform you that you have been admitted as a member of our Centennial class to the Master of Science program in Journalism with a Broadcast specialization, beginning in August 2012.” Not only was I accepted but I was accepted into their “centennial class.” That’s truly something. Now, it is here in the letter they informed me I was not selected for the Tony Stabile Investigative Journalism specialization, but that didn’t concern me. I was more focused on getting accepted into their broadcast track, which I did!

I must admit, after I hung up with my parents—we were all speechless, so there was no reason staying on the phone—I went into a state of semi-shock. I wasn’t sure whether this was real. I pinched myself—OUCH—yeah, it was real. I posted it to Facebook. The immediate response was far more overwhelming than the acceptance itself. Within minutes I saw nothing but “you deserved this,” “they won’t know what hit ’em,” and “congratulations!” I know I already said this, but that was far more overwhelming than the acceptance.

I learned then and there I have a very strong support system beneath me. I have so many friends to whom I owe so much that I could never truly be able to repay. I have mentors who want nothing but the best for me (and I them!). I have a family who loves me. The outpouring of emotions was overwhelming. How was I accepted? Do I really deserve this? Is this real life?!

I have to give credit where credit is due, and very little of it lies with me. So much of this belongs to everyone who believes in me. I could never name everyone, so I won’t name anyone here. There was so much love shown to me yesterday that I had trouble comprehending it. My support system ranges from freshmen to university presidents. It ranges from news directors to camera operators. It goes from editors to writers to general managers. It goes from professional association members to high school ROTC instructors. I cannot thank everyone enough.

If there is one thing I’d wish y’all (I had to throw that in) could know, it would be this: I will not let you down. You believe in me, and that’s a feeling I can never replace. Thank you all so very much.

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