Saturday 22 November 2003, A level Year 2, Surrey, England

I kind of missed the university application system in China: brutal as it was, it also guaranteed a quick death. The UK system, on the other hand, was more like death by a thousand cuts. (I would change my mind on this once I tried the American system ten years down the road) I thought I was very anxious already before I submitted the application, but since then I found it still had plenty of room to grow. Whenever there were a few free minutes, I wanted to find a computer and log on to my UCAS portal. Even during evenings, when I knew everyone in the UCAS office had surely gone home, there was still the urge to have a quick peek just in case there was any update.

Every few days, I discovered things I wished I could have put in my application. I should have used “avid” rather than “keen” in my Personal Statement, for example. Or should I have left both of them out to focus on the verb and noun? I did not jeopardize the whole application for using that word, did I?

The anxiety didn’t stop at me neither. Mum, who initially asked about it every week when I called them, gradually began to message me every day. Earlier this week, she took the next step. She got the login details of my UCAS portal and began to check whenever she wanted. I would be be surprised if it was a dozen times a day.

The atmosphere of anxiety was only occasionally broken. Like today, when I received a rejection from LSE. If I had not got another rejection from LSE already last week, my world might have collapsed there and then. Practice, even if it didn’t always lead to perfection, certainly helped. While Cambridge was a dream school, I thought LSE was a reach. Apparently not. The only comfort was that at least 1/3 of my application was done now. Most others were still totally in the black. Poor them.

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