As a kid, "The Sound of Music" was one of those movies I watched over and over again. There was something about the melodies of Rodgers and Hammerstein that fascinated me, and while my days of watching Julie Andrews as Maria are over, some of those lessons are still relevant today.
At the beginning of the movie, Maria—a nun—gets kicked out of the convent for being too extravagant, and as she is leaving, the head nun reassures her by saying, "When God closes a door, He opens a window."
I think that regardless of what you believe in terms of God or religion, this is probably one of the most important ideas any high school senior can understand and believe in. Just because one door has been closed doesn't mean there are no more doors left.
In fact, sometimes a closed door can be the thing that leads you in a better direction. For example, a friend of a friend got rejected from all the top-tier schools he applied to a few years ago (Stanford, Berkeley, etc.), so he ended up going to UC San Diego for his undergraduate degree
. He graduated as valedictorian of his class, and that enabled him to get into Boalt School of Law at Berkeley. Now a successful lawyer in Los Angeles, he is able to look back and see that, had he gotten in to one of those top schools he applied to, he probably wouldn't have had the advantage over other grad school applicants of being a college valedictorian.
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"Sometimes a closed door can be the thing that leads you in a better direction."
A few days ago, a classmate who had her heart set on going to San Diego State received notice that her offer of admission had been revoked because she'd failed to submit a transcript by the appropriate deadline. She's crushed now, and all she can think about is how she can't do what she was dreaming of doing, but the rest of us can see the benefits. She will end up going to a community college
for two years, but this will save her a large sum of money in tuition and fees. After those two years of completing lower-level coursework, she will be able to apply to any four-year college and have an excellent chance of getting into a school that's actually better than San Diego State.
It's these kinds of stories that have the power to inspire and instill the belief in the idea that when a door closes, a window opens. My closed door being a rejection letter
from UCLA, I take comfort in knowing that there is a window open somewhere. It's just up to me to find it, and in many ways that must be a more rewarding experience.