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She was heedful, when she filled out the application form handed to her.Scared that she would make a mistake,complicating the already complex process.The past year had been painful as it is.Not another mistake.Not another thing that was her fault.

A year ago,

Valerie was a normal teenager,who had just passed out of high school.She looked forward to her college years.As she had heard a lot about it from her mom.She did everything right.Get good grades,Not get into trouble,Join many clubs,Help out her mom at home.She even gave the medical entrance exam,because her mom wished for her to be a doctor.She did everything right.

Then the medical entrance exam results came out.She was positive about it.But when she looked at the computer,she couldn’t find her ranking.She panicked and asked her friend to look at it for her,from her computer.Her friend told her that she did really bad,and she did not have a ranking in medicine.Making her ineligible to study medicine. She was heartbroken.Trying to be practical about her failure,she tried to join a different course at another college.But because she had wasted her time preparing for the exam.She had missed the deadline.Her mentors told her to take a year off and try again next year.

With no other options,she took the year off.All her friends started college. She felt stuck.Like she was at a station,and everyone left except her.She stood there waiting for her ticket,but it never came.

The year passed painfully enough.With explaining all the relatives and friends,why she is taking the year off.And often having to answer embarrassing questions like,”You are not going to college,what’s wrong?” or “What was your medical ranking?” or “Oh,you are taking a year off?” Followed by a sympathetic sigh. She started to dread the idea of going out and meeting people!

Anyway the year-long wait was over,she wrote her exam again.And now she was standing inside the college filling their application form.And she could feel all the emotions she felt the past year, rush through her at once.She could see her struggle,and now it all seemed like a small price to pay for.She filled the form and gave it in.Feeling ecstatic.With hope for a new start.

“And now we wait…..”,Her mom told her,Smiling.She looked relieved.

A few minutes later she was called inside the Principal’s office.She walked in there  smiling.Proud of her accomplishments.

“There seems to be a problem.We had wait-listed you, hoping to give you a seat by the end of september.But we got a letter today from the board.And they have sent a list of students who are eligible for admission.And unfortunately you did not make the cut.And this rarely happens,and we really wanted to give you the seat.But our hands are tied.We are sorry.But don’t be disheartened.Try again next year.Work hard and you will succeed!Thank you.”

The principal’s words seem to make no effect on her at first.That was until she left the office.And  her mom was standing there,waiting to congratulate her.The smile on her moms face broke her! She stood there feeling numb.Tears rolling down her cheeks.In shock.It felt like the end of the little world she had built over the years.Speechless,she just stared at her mom with emptiness inside her.

“What happened in there?” Asked her confused and scared mother.

She had no answer to give.A year’s wait,and nothing accomplished.Hope given to her,and then taken away! Unable to think,she stood there in pain.Still processing what had happened.Another failure.Another list she did not make.Something else she wasn’t eligible for.Another black spot in her plain book.And no light at the end of the tunnel.What will she do now??!!

-Sabah Batul.