Jessai Flores

Anastasia Ibrahim:

Two days before my acceptance letter came out, my mom knocked lightly on my door and kneeled at my bedside with the most endearing look I had ever seen since my brother won the Sensitivity Character Award in first grade, when she thought he would come out as gay soon after. She was coming to talk to me about my imminent college decision. She looked at me, so full of love — but with an equal amount of pity — and said, “Anna … don’t be upset if you don’t get in. … We all know you didn’t deserve it anyways.”

You think I’m lying — you also think she was kidding. Neither’s true. Two days later I said, “FUCK YOUUUUU BITCH!!!!” over shrimp tacos at Red Lobster while she berated me that getting into Yale was not enough and that I should apply to Stanford and Harvard also. Also, I’m kidding. I didn’t say “fuck you bitch” to my own mother. I said “fuck that bitch” to my father about my mother, and he laughed.

Am I airing out trauma from 3.5 years ago? No, not at all. But also, I didn’t think I was going to get into Yale, so I really had no idea what time the decision was going to come out, and I didn’t really care either — I knew I wasn’t going to get in because my mom told me I didn’t deserve it. I came home from school, ate Nutella straight from the jar like a G, invited my secret “boyfriend” over for 15 minutes because I didn’t want to get caught so I kicked him out after a literal 15 minutes — even though he had driven 30 minutes to see me — and then took a nap. 

When I opened the decision letter, it was some arbitrary time like 9:07 pm, and that stupid Bulldog dancing video came up, and I thought it was an advertisement to make me feel better about getting rejected. I couldn’t figure out how to skip it, so I waited for the whole thing to play thinking the entire time that it was an advertisement for Yale College, and I was like, “Are you kidding me? I already applied to your school dumbasses. I know you exist,” and then I opened my letter, and I was like “no way” and then the next Monday at school, the girl who also applied to Yale and got rejected — who was, by the way, exponentially more qualified than me — told me that the video was a welcome video.

The more you know.


Anabel Moore:

In the hours preceding the release of Yale early decisions – unfortunately empty, owing to a wonky pandemic high-school schedule – I was wandering the aisles of Costco with my dad. Both my phone and his were tucked snugly into his pocket, notifications silenced. He feigned nonchalance, but our nerves were equally frayed: I’m the youngest of three children by far, and this decision would be the beginning of the end of my dad’s nearly 40-year run of raising kids. He was ready, I was ready. 

The first hour of this Costco trip was productive. We collected the usual groceries, stopping first to chat with Christine, the front-of-house clerk who’s known me since I was a small child being pushed around in the shopping cart. My dad told her that today was the big day, to which she responded: “Oh honey, you’ll be fine.” Even these words made me want to burst out in anxious tears. How do you know, Christine? How can anyone know? 

I’ve always enjoyed Costco, for the fact that when it’s not you opening the wallet it’s terribly fun to find random things you didn’t know you needed to spend money on. Memory foam bath mat? Need it. Electric toothbrush heads? Hm, maybe we’ll run out at some point in the next three years. Highlighters in seven colors? Yes. Sorry I keep stealing your favorite pens, Dad. 

But it soon became clear that we were doing laps of the store wandering and trying to talk about anything but the decision that we knew would soon be in my inbox. At one point, we took turns riding down massive empty aisles, giggling like children. My dad and I had done this since I was little. He retired when I was born, so I was his grocery buddy. Albertsons, Top Foods, Fred Meyer, Costco. I know all these aisles by heart. We were adding three hours to the countless I had spent as a little girl. 

It was then that I remembered Brittany Stinson, who wrote her Common Application essay about her childlike wonder at wandering through Costco, exactly as we were now doing. She had been accepted to Yale, amongst other top schools. I should have written my essay about Costco. I’ve certainly spent a lot of time here. Why didn’t I write about Costco?  

It was eventually 3:45, at which point we drove home for the PST decision time. I sat down at the kitchen island, the same place where I’d done so much studying and homework over the last four years, and even more when the pandemic struck and my family would gather around the stovetop to work or read together. We called my grandmother on my mom’s phone, my two older brothers on FaceTime. My dad held up his phone to record my reaction — though he never pressed record, which in hindsight I consider fortunate. 

I started to sob, and those on the phone couldn’t tell if they were happy or sad tears. Then my brothers spotted my dad crying — one of two times in my entire life I’ve seen him cry. I knew it, he said. I knew it. 


Jessai Flores:

I was rushing to finish a biology report for class the night I was accepted to Yale. I had almost three weeks to do it, but I ended up doing it at the last minute because I hated writing lab reports. To make matters worse, the report was due at midnight, but I had promised my friend, Annie, that I’d go to her 16th birthday party, so I had to finish the report by 6 p.m. I started the report at 4 p.m, but then I lost an hour because I couldn’t find my laptop charger. As I was looking for my charger, my sister, who was at my school formal, which was held the same night, called me because she found my charger in the cafeteria. Just as my computer was about to die, I decided to check my Yale application status because of a sadistic need to make things worse. Instead of being met with rejection, I came face-to-face with a dancing bulldog and realized that I was, in fact, accepted. I was shocked, but I didn’t have time to celebrate because I had a report to finish and a party to go to. Looking back, it was the most stressful and disorganized night of my life.


Anabel Moore edits for the WKND desk. She previously wrote for the WKND, Magazine and Arts desks as a staff writer. Originally from the greater Seattle, WA area, she is a junior in Branford College double-majoring in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and the History of Art with a certificate in Global Health.