Albert Einstein said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
I, however, would like to say that by doing the same thing over again, I have achieved different results, better ones.
Living on the transfer floor of McCarthy Hall, I have gotten to know many of my fellow transfers. Although Georgetown University admits over 200 transfer students each year, it often feels as though I am one of the few who also applied for acceptance as a high school senior.
Georgetown was one of my top choices when I initially applied to colleges. My father first introduced me to the university when I expressed a keen interest in a career in foreign service. After researching the School of Foreign Service’s immense opportunities and vast network, I enthusiastically applied, hoping for an acceptance letter.
Unfortunately, I was rejected.
I ended up enrolling as a first-year student at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), and the summer before my first year of college, my father gently nudged me to consider applying as a sophomore transfer student to Georgetown. Already burnt out from senior year and feeling overwhelmed by the impending start of college, the prospect of completing another application was unimaginable. I agreed with Einstein at this point: expecting a different result would be insane.
I settled in at UT Austin pretty quickly. I joined several student organizations, ranging from a sorority to student government, and even landed a Spring semester internship at the Texas State Capitol, which made me even more hesitant in my transfer decision. I feared that the application would waste precious time and energy that I could instead devote to my experience at UT Austin. I was also increasingly concerned that my social life would drastically change as a transfer student starting over at a new university.
However, toward the start of my spring semester, I began to worry that my internship would be the height of the opportunities available to me at UT Austin. Despite my positive first-year experience, the idea of Georgetown still lingered in my mind.
The inner conflict boiled down to a choice between advancing my career and staying with the wonderful group of friends I had found at UT Austin. In the end, I decided that I would strongly regret not filling out the application. The “what if?” would be a burden far more difficult to bear than rejection.
Beginning only a month before the application deadline, I curated a strong, second application to Georgetown. I crafted a new personal statement and collected letters of recommendation, finally submitting my application with the peace of mind that even if I were to be rejected again, I still had a great university and group of friends to support me.
Receiving my acceptance letter in late April, all of my uncertainties with the five simple words, “You are admitted to Georgetown.” I knew I had found a path that was better suited for my dreams, and my acceptance letter was only the beginning of a world of opportunities. The feeling of watching my hard work come into fruition was truly inexplicable.
While I will never know why Georgetown admissions gave me a second chance, I would like to sincerely thank the admissions team for giving me this tremendous opportunity. They not only saw my potential, but allowed me to see it myself. Applying again as a transfer showed me that by spending time improving myself and by streamlining my goals, I would see a path to redemptive progress. I now appreciate this confidence to try again that I will continue to embrace in life’s many other pursuits.
As new potential transfers begin their applications to Georgetown, I urge the admissions committee to keep an open mind when reading the stories of the students who decided to take a second chance at enhancing their educational opportunities. I want them to know that the decision to fill out a transfer application takes immense courage, and the cohort of students applying as transfers truly can see themselves at Georgetown.
Not only do I hope that the admissions team continues to value transfer students, I hope that Hoya hopefuls and my now fellow Hoyas are able to see the value in simply trying again. There are times when it is best to move on from decisions we cannot reverse — but this is not the case for every opportunity.
Whether it be a club, internship, job or transfer application, I urge students to just go ahead and fill out an application for the second, third or fourth time and to keep working towards their goals until they achieve the results they want to see for themselves.
Lastly, if I could, I would ask Einstein to revise his quote to “perseverance is building on the same thing over and over again and expecting better results.”
Insanity is simply doing nothing at all.
Anika Rahman is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service.