Rejection is a ritual.

Like 23.9% of Penn’s population, I applied early decision. But unlike that 23.9%, I didn’t get in.

The Penn early decisions came out at 7pm. I should’ve been home, but I wanted to be in the place where good things happen: Backstage at my high school's 150–seat theatre.

I am not and was not an actor. I wanted to be backstage because that’s where I won. ey told me I won the Bucking- ham Browne and Nichols 2012 Student Body President election backstage.

At 7pm on December 9, 2011, I crouch backstage with my laptop, hoping to win again. is time winning with acceptance to Penn. Getting into Penn was what I wanted to be, like I wanted to be Student Body President.

I lost. I was deferred. Alone. At 7pm. In a luckless room be- hind a stage I never cared for.

Eighteen other schools. A vacation lost to school applications. When I was accepted to Penn, I was in my mom’s rented condo in a room I shared with my brother.

I don’t have a lucky backstage at Penn. But as much as I would like to say there’s no such thing as luck, I create order by believing if I’m in the right place at the right time, the right thing will happen.