Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A College Admissions Mission

By Patrick O'Connor Ph.D

“Dr. O’Connor?”

“Hello, James! I understand you received some good news.”

“I didn’t think Yale would take me at all, let alone as an early applicant.  I can’t thank you enough.”

“All I did was sign a few forms and point at the calendar.  You took care of the rest.”

“You did way more than that, Dr. O’Connor.  That’s why I feel bad asking for your help again so soon.”


“Like I said—I was surprised Yale admitted me, but I don’t really know the school that well.”

“Have you visited the campus?”

“Last summer.  It was the fourth college in one day, and I don’t remember a thing.  Until I got the acceptance letter, I thought their school color was crimson.”


“That’s why I’d like to head to Yale for a quick visit before break.”

“A quick...?”

“I just need you to sign the excused absence form.”

“James, I’m a big fan of visiting campuses, but Christmas is in five days.”

“And my Uncle Phil is coming for the holidays.”

“The Uncle who told you not to apply to Bard because they only teach Shakespeare?”

“But he’s actually heard of Yale, and if I can’t tell him about the campus, I’m gonna spend the whole break wishing the Mayans were right about the calendar.”

“You’re not painting a happy picture, James, but this trip won’t tell you much about life at Yale.”


“They’ll be in exams, if any students are on campus at all.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Plus, you’re already admitted. You’re could go in February.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

“James, are you listening to me, or are you reciting Beatles lyrics?”

“It’s—it’s just that Jenny McMillan and I were going to go together.”

“Jenny was in this morning.  So was Heather Shea.”

“Yeah, she’s going, too.”

“Why James, you sly—“

“Dr. O’Connor, this isn’t some kind of Jack Kerouac adventure.”

“I was thinking more ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower.’”


“That idea seems to please you.”

“Believe me, Dr. O’Connor, this isn’t about that at all.”

“What is it about, James?”

“It’s just that—that—“

“It’s just that New Haven is 47 minutes from Newtown.”


“Yes, James. Newtown.”

“Who-- who told you?”

“The three founders of our school’s peer counseling program separately ask to be excused from the last three days of school to visit the same college in Connecticut.”

“I told Jenny she should have said UConn…”

“Yes, well…”

“But I do want to see Yale, and since we’re so close—we feel like we want to help.”

“I know, James.  We all do.”

“Still, the plan is pretty lame.  We’re convinced we’ll just show up without any references, and they’ll put us to work as peer grief counselors.”


“That’s not much of a plan.”

“That’s exactly what I told Julie.”


“A former student of mine who’s a state social worker in Connecticut.  She’s meeting up with you in New Haven, and is very eager to meet the three best peer counselors I’ve ever known.”

“You’ll meet at the bookstore, buy a pennant for Uncle Phil in Yale’s school colors…”

“…um—white and blue?”

“… then make the 47 minute trip to Newtown. Take State Road 15—it’s shorter.”

“Wow—this is amazing. Um--any advice once I get there?”

“’Here is my secret, a very simple secret. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.’”
“The fox’s farewell speech from The Little Prince. So I should lead from the heart?
“Well done, Eli.”

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