Thank You, College Promotional Emails

Michelle So, Campus Focus Editor

While some people listen to podcasts for affirmations, I read emails from colleges.

My unlikely source of daily positivity came about through a flurry of messages that arrived in late August. The hectic swarm destroyed my beautiful “less than 50 unread emails” tabulation. Several colleges had gotten a hold of my email–through some questionnaire I mindlessly filled out, I suspect–and began trying to “reach out”.

These customized templates caught my attention at first with their alluring subject lines: “Michelle, I’m impressed with your work…” or “Hey, smartie! Yes, we mean you, Michelle!” Not yet drowning in the woes of junior year, I had been keeping my inbox to a minimum, reading what I could and discarding the spam. These emails were of little importance to me with their frantic sales pitches and applicant deadline reminders. College worries are for seniors; I like to be in the present. (I promise I’ll “think of you,” UChicago, when the time comes.)

As time passed, I got weary of stamping out the little buggers. Like well-established weeds, they filled my space with nuisance and annoyance. A stray Reed College email would pop up every few hours, it seemed. Three University of Connecticut announcements appeared for each one I deleted. My efforts were futile, but my AP classes left me with more pressing stressors than a pristine screen. So, against a sworn pact I made with my 5th grade self, I let the emails win.

It has been several months since I stopped obsessively clearing my unreads, and the number has slowly been climbing (200 and counting!). In that time, I also had the honor of experiencing high school stress at its finest. I can proudly say that 11th grade has made me sleep-deprived, cardiovascular-activity-deprived, and exhausted. Every day, I hope that living the sad, dying junior trope is just one stage of my life cycle–aesthetic; early twenties please come soon. 

In lieu of my dwindling spirit, checking my inbox is still a daily must. But now, instead of being bothered, I find solace in these excitatory university emails. Their eerie tendency to know my interests–”Love the Environment? Come apply!”–makes me feel seen as a person. Reading their simple but poignant advice–“Jump in at your own pace, Michelle.”–gives way to a bright new day. Plus, whatever software/coding program they use to put my name into each email adds a personal flare that leaves a little flutter in my heart each time I read a new one.

This may seem like a sarcastic grasp at humor, but I really do mean it; these brief affirmations have genuinely cheered me up this fall. Without them, my inbox would certainly be a lot drabber and my attitude towards school a lot colder. So, thank you admissions officers for sending these delightful college promotional emails. I’ll be thinking of YOU next September.