Dear Abigail Fisher

25 Jun

Abigail Fisher

Dear Abigail,

I read about your rejected application to the University of Texas and your subsequent lawsuit challenging the university’s decision, which you, a 23-year-old white woman, believed was due to the university’s policy of affirmative action.

Let me start by saying I’m sorry you didn’t get into your dream university; rejection sucks, and it can feel unfair. As a 27-year-old white woman, I’m not going to patronise you by saying that you have your whole life ahead of you and that this rejection will soon feel like nothing more than a tiny bump in the road that is your life journey. I’m too close to your age to tell you this, and I haven’t clocked in anywhere near enough time to be that dismissive of your life experience so far.

But I can tell you this; sometimes, in life, we don’t always get our way.

Sure, you might have it all planned out, you might have written a list of goals that you want to achieve by the time you’re 30, but if something is not going to happen, it’s not going to happen. You can’t force your dream university to take you on as a student, because there is a lot of evidence to prove that your application wasn’t rejected because of the colour of your skin.

When we fail, we have to get back up, dust ourselves off and keep moving. I know it hurts to realise that a long-time dream you had won’t come to fruition, but just because you want something, doesn’t mean that you’re entitled to it. Sometimes you put your heart and soul into something and it doesn’t work. Sometimes you don’t quite work hard enough, and expect the glory to appear overnight, which it doesn’t.

The fear of failure is something that has swept our society; as modern people we are terrified of doing something wrong, of taking a risk, of not getting what we want, or of changing our minds and creating new goals. The important thing to remember is that everyone around you, including the most successful people in the public eye, will have failed at something, be it a work endeavour, a relationship, an investment, an exam, an essay or another seemingly important task.

Walt Disney was fired by an editor, he formed and liquidated several companies before he found success with his animation. Bill Gates ‘ first business failed miserably. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Stephen King had his seminal horror masterpiece, Carrie, rejected 30 times by various publishers, before it was eventually accepted. The late Iain (M) Banks’ The Wasp Factory was rejected 6 times before it was published in 1984, and he has since been named as one of the 50 Greatest British writers since 1945.

My point is, Abigail, that failure is inevitable at certain times in our lives, we can’t avoid it, but it represents a massive opportunity for personal growth and change. I’m not denying that it’s a difficult process, but anything worth doing usually is. Let me tell you a few secrets; I’m a theatre critic and I failed Higher Drama when I was 16; I had missed a lot of school that year because of illness, and I got pneumonia 2 weeks before my exams. When I resat the course the following year I got a B.

When I first applied for university, I didn’t get an interview for the course I really wanted to do, I just logged into my UCAS account one day to find that my application had been rejected, no reason was given, all I got was a computer screen with the words ‘application unsuccessful’ staring back at me. I was crushed. However, 5 months later, I managed to get onto that very same course through clearing.

I stayed up all night drinking vodka when I got the mark for my university dissertation, which was a painful 52%. This mark dragged my overall grade down from a First Class degree, to a 2.1. I was very unhappy about it at the time, but that 2.1 hasn’t held me back at all, in fact, I haven’t seen my degree certificate since I graduated four years ago, I think it’s somewhere in my parents’ house.

I know that you went on to successfully apply to and graduate from Louisiana State University, and for that I congratulate you. However, I must ask you, what you thought you might gain from your lawsuit? Ask yourself, have you really experienced discrimination because of your race?

Obviously, as we live in different parts of the world, and are unlikely to ever meet, I must admit, I don’t know you, so I can’t get a good idea of your reasoning, or the reasoning of those around you, but I do hope that in time, you will realise that this lawsuit was unwise, and you will be able to fully move on with your life.

Yours sincerely,

Trash

(No kisses yet, we barely know each other)

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