Thank you, my son, for leading me to the best “what if” inquiry ever.

Throughout his grade school years, my son would endlessly ask what if questions, many of them absolutely bonkers, outrageously creative.

Now a high school senior, he just recently finished with the bulkiest part of the college application process: the essay writings. Multiple essays for almost every school, and he applied to 7 schools.

I got the enjoyable part of reading them; they were incredibly honest, thoughtful, some a little humorous, and some a little risky. It was clear that he took this opportunity to really share himself with his colleges of interest. We had visited a few colleges for their open house early on, and he took to heart what all of the college admissions counselors advised: write about you, not about what you think we want to know about you.

Towards the end of it, he said to me,

No matter what happens, wherever I end up, this was a good process. I really got to learn about myself, including how I think and articulate.

And it got me thinking, what if we took on our assignments, life projects, whatever, as an opportunity to delve deeper and get to know ourselves better, how we think, and how we express ourselves, most honestly, most thoughtfully, sometimes with a little humor, and sometimes with a little risk? And in so doing, what if we got to truly see who accepts us, defers us, rejects us, waitlists us? And what if we trusted that, in the end, where it takes us is exactly where we were supposed to be? And what if we knew that no matter what, the process was good because we discovered a little bit more of who we are? What if that is essentially what we are all searching for?

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