Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fortuitous Meeting at Lacroix

I couldn't do any work last Friday. I sat in school, my mind a stone wall to any information coming my way. I thought about why I might get in, or might not get in 1000 times. I listed all the pros--I work at a nice restaurant, I get good grades, I'm really into business--and cons--I'm not that strong in math, I don't have many school-related extra-curriculars--then back to pros and back to cons again. I thought about getting in and what I would do. Jump up and down? Run around the block? Or would acceptance not elicit that much emotion. I couldn't tell. Then I thought about getting rejected. Would I cry? Would I lock myself in my room for the week? Would I hit the cheesecake? Or would I brush it off? I had no idea.

The day dragged by thusly, me envisioning both circumstances, accepted or rejected, embraced or eschewed. I knew that I would be able to check exactly at 3 pm--that's what the website said--and so I rushed home after school. I got there at 2:58 and stayed in my car. A slow, sad song came on the radio. Was it an omen? 2:59. I was going to stay in here and check. I didn't wanna look in front of my mom and grandparents. My heart starts beating out of control. I begin to type in my user name and password. My hands are shaking. It's difficult. 3:00. I log in. Congratulations! You have been accepted to the class of 2015.

I ran out. I screamed. The neighborhood knows I'm into college because of that scream. I started running. I told my mom. Then I ran back outside, unaware of the freezing cold. I was yelling again now. A lady walking her dog was staring at me. "I just got into college, sorry."

And so two days later I went into Lacroix working front of the house. I went behind the host stand and took a look at the reservations. Miller, Condron, Gutman, pause. The first name was Amy, party of two. Amy Gutman.

"Is that Amy Gutman, as in the president of UPenn?" I asked the manager. "Yes I just made the reservation a minute ago." I couldn't believe it. What a coincidence. The day dragged on, like the day at school before I discovered my acceptance. And then at one o clock, she came in. I sat her at table 9 in the back by the window, and following right behind me was the manager. I gave her her menu, but before I could say another word the manager was at the table.

"Good afternoon Ms. Gutman this is Nicholas, he just got into UPenn two days ago. He's been with us for four years. He's a hard worker and we're very proud of him."

Wow. Haha. That was more than I could've asked for. I work with good people.

"Nice to meet you, you must be very special, we had more early decision applicants than ever before. Where do you live?"


"Great. I'll see you around campus."

What a treat. Really. That was great. Later I was making coffee, and she called to me.

"Nick (yes she remembered my name) I have someone I'd like you to meet"

And she introduced me to Eduardo Glant the dean of engineering. I told him that I was actually admitted to Wharton but that I knew some people admitted to the engineering school.

"Well we like you anyway" he said jokingly.

Gutman was so pleasant. She wasn't the least bit condescending. She acted like just an average human being. She didn't need to display her power.

I went home amazed at the fortuitous meeting. It was a very special weekend.


cd0103 said...

What a great story! Congrats again!

Yiyi said...

Wow, Nick, that's really great! Congratulations on Wharton - you're going to love it at Penn. Amy is really nice, and really tries to make time for the students to meet her, so once you're at school, there will be lots more opportunities for you to talk to her :)

(your chances of interaction with Amy also increase if you join student government...)

-Yiyi (senior at Penn)

Sara said...

Con- you aren't a minority? You realize that for many minorities, it's more difficult to get in to the ivy leagues. There is a lower quota for minorities than for non-minorities. Think of all the Asian students with the marks and extra-curricular activities good enough to get in, but don't because the university only takes so many students of Asian descent. For many minority groups, affirmative action isn't used anymore.

Mandoline said...

That is a terrific story! And you are a really good writer. I hope that you keep up your blog in college, or at least write for the UPenn paper about food and post it here. Shouldn't you be "(now 18)" at this point?

Anonymous said...

Lighten up, Sara. I think Nick mentioned Non-Minority status as a "usual suspect" in the collection of criteria for acceptance. As his acceptance AND your observation help to underscore, it is not the same as it was previously. Nick, you can also get in tight with administration by catering faculty gigs. Nothing says "OverAchiever" like food from a freshman with four years at Lacroix under his belt.

Bob E. said...

Great story! But I thought your address was Wynnewood ...

Kerry said...

Great post. Congratulations!

Irene said...

Nick, reading your post on the morning of Christmas Eve was better than any Hallmark Movie or Christmas tv special.

I love a happy ending.

Huge congrats to you!

Snow said...

I love hearing about people getting into their ideal university. I'm a high school junior, so I expect I'll have a lot to stress about next year ... and this year, of course.

Enjoy your senior year & college as well!

Anonymous said...

For several years I have sat back enjoying the journey you have been on. You are an amazing young man, and I am so very happy for you. I hope that you always keep your passion and your enthusiasm for everything you is such a gift.

Neamah said...

This is the most amazing story I've read all week! I do hope I'll get to experience the same rush sometime in the near future!