So I turned away from my steering wheel and peered at The Daughter: "You had EIGHT A level distinctions and a whole host of CCA and research awards. If those people got in, why didn't you? Why did Cambridge University reject you?"
I must shamefacedly admit that I was very sore about having been denied the prestige of having a child in a top university.
Cambridge makes its selection BEFORE the A level results are out. I could have reapplied the following year but I decided not to because I didn't want a scholarship with a bond, and I didn't want you to pay.
Me (still very sore about being denied a child in a top university):
Whaaaaaaaaat?! Why not?! You're a twit! You're a silly slip of a girl!! I TOLD you that if and ONLY IF it's Cambridge, I would happily pay. I would sell a house to pay for ANY Ivy League university if I had to!!
I wasn't sure if I would do well at A levels, Mom. When push came to shove and everyone was taking the SATs, I chose to prioritize the A levels. Mom, you said yourself that the global ranking of an university doesn't matter. You said you wanted me to ENJOY university... that you didn't want me to slog in university... that you wanted me to chill out and hang out... and still be in the right hand tail of the bell curve. You said yourself, that in university, I should learn about people and explore avenues that are non-academic. I am having so much FUN now!! You said yourself that as long as I graduate well from the best university in the country, I would be able to find a job... and after a few years, it'll be my job performance that would count. You said so yourself!
Dang! I once said a sight too many things for my own good! Are you sure you didn't CHOOSE to stay here because The Boyfriend chose to study Law locally?
Mom, ALL my friends have long distance relationships. In my opinion, The Boyfriend would have gotten into Oxford Law easily. We didn't want bonded scholarships and we didn't want our parents to pay. The no bond scholarships we both have, work out great for us both.
Me (wailing loudly):
But I waaaaaaaaaaant to pay!!
It doesn't matter what you want, Mom. It's what we both want, The Boyfriend and I. I am enjoying myself in university. I've started 2 businesses. I get to see my family every weekend. I've been to Russia, France and Switzerland on exchange programs. I get to work part--time. I'm happy. Like you said, I hang out and chill out... without having to kill myself trying to stay on the right of the bell curve. I like things the way they are. You're sore because of the lack of prestige. I'm a little sore too when I see all my friends come back cheeks glowing. At the end of the day Mom, it's only the lack of prestige that goes with studying locally, that bothers me... and I just tell myself that it doesn't matter. My friends, no matter what their university... they still love me, Mom. I should be happy for them.
I have no crystal ball. I have no idea whether my advice about hanging out and chilling out in a local university will do The Daughter any disservice in the long term. I ask myself whether her decision had anything to do with fearing failure so much that she didn't even TRY to get into any of these universities except for Cambridge. Did she chicken out so much that she didn't even apply?
Ohhh... I am such a witch to even think that.
I do know that she has denied herself the prestige of being able to say "I'm in Cambridge/Stanford... blah blah blah...", and I must confess that I am proud of her for being able to tell herself "It doesn't matter to me. I am happy for my friends."
Meanwhile, I am blessed to be able to see her every weekend. And I pray... oh I pray... that it really doesn't matter what the university she attends.