Which kingdoms chose me? Which one did I choose from in the end? Find out once I wrap up this tale.
The Art of College Matchmaking, a short story based on real events
November 2011 was one of the busiest months of my life. I scrambled to complete all the quests of every kingdom I’d applied to. I stayed up late, looking everything over, making sure it was right. If I could sweat bricks, I would’ve had enough to cement a wall around me so that no one could disturb me as I labored over the process. I started to doubt myself. What if King Bertrand saw who I was and wouldn’t like what he saw? What if I wasn’t as good as all the other princes and princesses? I didn’t play sports. I didn’t do a whole lot of community service. I’m not a genius. And anyone and everyone knows how competitive the entire process has become.
I knew I was a princess, but I wasn’t perfect. And I thought I needed to be perfect. But I was wrong.
The first one I heard from was King Sandy. He said yes, and I expected him to, due the credentials I presented. I didn’t even need to write a personal statement. I just gave him my grades, where I came from, and wham! I’d made my impression. He even invited me to join his Honors and Presidential Scholars programs, which was very generous of him. At the time, I started taking up on his offers just in case all the others said no. Yet I was wrong once again. King Norton, King Lorenzo, King Dante, and King Saber were just as impressed as King Sandy. It wasn’t a question of whether or not I was worthy. I was going to be under some king’s wing, whomever it was. And it made me happy to know that I did enough.
For some of the kings, at least. Not all of them thought the same way.
King Porter, King Pierre, and King Lance all denied my admission into their kingdoms. They acknowledged my talents and strengths, but I wasn’t enough of a shiny fish to enter their small ponds or stand out among the school of fish that applied. I had figured this would happen. King Porter and King Pierre’s kingdoms were far too small for me, and I wasn’t a part of the cream of the crop they could accept. And I didn’t even want to be under King Lance in the first place; applying to his kingdom was solely as a means of having a backup if all else failed. Because all else didn’t fail, I was glad I had more options to choose from.
I had six out of ten to choose from, and have only mentioned eight so far. The two that remain—Well, you can probably guess which ones they are.
I waited all of March to hear from King Bertrand. School was out for Spring Break. The weather got cloudy. All day, until the late afternoon, I was anxious. Yet it was the bad kind of anxious. The kind of anxious you get when you think everything in the world will fall into place according to your rules. The kind of anxious you get when you think you did really well on a test, and then you fail it.
I failed King Bertrand’s test. He said no. He had too many princes and princesses that applied, and not enough to accommodate me. The sheer size of his kingdom, I thought, would prevent him from the same dilemma of small kingdoms like King Porter’s and King Pierre’s. Or perhaps there aren’t enough opportunities for every good prince and princess in the world to succeed, and I should consider myself lucky.
I think I’ll do that.
It’s sort of funny. On the way home from school, riding back, I thought about King Ian and visualized myself at his kingdom while lazily listening to the music in the car. And lo and behold, sitting in my email inbox was a notification from his desk. On it said that my application status had “changed”, and I grew worried. Changed? I thought. Changed into what? Something bad or good?I wished he was more straightforward with me instead of using the word “changed” to convey what he meant. And when I clicked the link he gave me and saw the words “You have been admitted~”, I just sat there and smiled. At all the other kings I got into, I gave a nod, slight smirk, and a pat on the back. But to King Ian, who sent me a smile in that email, I had to smile back. It was just like the time I stared into his tree-filled park on my second tour there. I bet it felt hard for him to know that my heart wanted to be with another kingdom at that time, but he chose me anyway, and I thank him for that.
In my mind, it came down to King Ian and King Bertrand’s decisions. Chronologically, it didn’t. I knew about King Ian’s decision before I knew King Bertrand’s. In fact, King Bertrand’s decision, the one I believed would make my dreams come true, was the last one I received out of all ten, which made the whole thing feel even more finalized.
Like my mother says, I think I would’ve ended up fine anywhere—even if it wasn’t somewhere as prestigious or noteworthy as King Porter’s, King Pierre’s, or King Betrand’s kingdoms. But I find it funny that the first kingdom I ever set foot on and the second to last one I want to consider is the one I chose in the end. It’s hard to say whether or not choosing King Ian was “right” for me, or the “best” choice I could have taken. There is no doubt in my mind that I have always wanted to be a writer—from the time I began reading the Artemis Fowl series to the time I wrote a short story in my creative writing class. And the facilities that King Ian’s kingdom offers are some of the best for exactly what I want to do.
As I said before in the first post in this tale,
“Ever since I was little, I’d always been in love with the idea of being a princess. Being a queen didn’t appeal to me, because if I got married, I thought all my adventures would be over.”
King Ian saw the princess I had always been since I was a child. King Bertrand, no doubt, saw the princess I was, but I got the impression that he wanted a queen–someone who was the best at what they do. And that is fine by me. Being the best at what you do is very helpful. But I am not anywhere near the best at what I do, and that is why I believe I’m a princess. Under King Ian’s wing, new adventures and stories await me, and they won’t be over until I write their final words.