I sat in the middle of the hallway, the envelope still in my hand. For weeks, I haven’t slept or eaten. The answer to my anxiety is in my hand. Why can’t I open it?!  

Just get it over with Simone.

I grab the envelope and go outside. After a few trips up and down the driveway, I stood on the front steps and open the envelope. Holding my breath, I scan the letter for an answer.


Whew! For months, I’ve hoped that I wouldn’t get accepted into the colleges I applied for. I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out. This is what my family wants. In elementary school, one of my teachers had me tested for the gifted program. When the results came back, I tested in the highest percentile. 

Everything changed after that. I became my family’s hopes and dreams. Everything that they couldn’t accomplish in life fell on my shoulders. Getting anything less than an A is unacceptable. Meanwhile, my siblings and cousins get away with barely passing grades. 

I was different. 

I was gifted. 

Nobody cares about what I want. How I envision my future. When I do share my dreams, I hear crickets. They want me to be a doctor or a lawyer. Something stable that generate the money to support them. They didn’t say the last part, but it’s implied. 

I don’t want to resent them, but it’s getting really hard not to. Senior year is coming to an end. They want me to apply to every Ivy League college. They’ve yet to say where the money is coming from. I’m sure they think I’ll get scholarships. 

I’m pretty sure I’ll get accepted to at least a quarter of the schools I applied for based on academics alone. That’s a problem. The only way I can ensure that I’ll get denied is my personal essay. Every essay was a plea for them to not accept me. Why? Because college isn’t MY dream.

Thankfully, all of the schools I’ve applied to sent denial letters. My family can’t understand why I got denied. I told them that these schools are super competitive. They brought it.

Unbeknownst to them, I applied for an out-of-state trade school. Each year, the school assigns you a mentor who gives you real-world experience. I want to learn HVAC so I can own my own HVAC company. The school also has a ton of business courses that I plan to take as well. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper than a four-year college. 

I got my acceptance email from them three weeks ago. They also offered me a full scholarship. My uncle Shawn lives 30 minutes away from the school and said that I could stay with him until I’m ready for my own place. He’s so supportive of me. 

He’s picking me up this morning while my family is out running errands. I put a note on my bed for them. I told them I’m at Shawn’s. My uncle doesn’t communicate with them, so I doubt they’ll call him. I also put my cell phone next to the note since my parents pay for it. Shawn got me a new phone with a new number so they can’t pester me to come back.

I grab my bags and head to the foyer to wait. I hear a horn blow. I look out the sidelight and see my uncle’s truck. I grab my bags and walk outside.

“Baby girl! You ready?”

He takes my bags to the truck. I lock the door. I’ll miss my home, but I know home is wherever I am. It’s my time now.  

“I’ve been ready. Let’s go.”