Monday, September 04, 2006

Taking a Chance

Last week, US News and World Report came out with its much anticipated annual college rankings guide. At the top of the list this year is Princeton University. This was one of the schools Anuj wanted to apply to as a high school senior. As luck would have it, the application materials from Princeton were among the last to arrive at his house in India. By that time he had already applied to a number of other colleges. Back in the early 90s, currency was tightly controlled in India and each household could only convert a certain amount of rupees into US dollars for college application fees. Unfortunately, when it was time for Anuj to apply to Princeton - the last school on his list - he had used up his quota of dollars. He asked several banks to see if there was a way around this restriction but it appeared to be an insurmountable hurdle. Since he had applied to several good universities already, and fees were an important component of any application, he was advised to give up on Princeton.

However, Anuj never let any impediment, whether big or small, get in the way of his ambitions. On a train ride back from New Delhi, where he had gone to take the SAT, Anuj had an idea. He would apply to Princeton, submitting the entire set of forms, essays, transcripts, etc. but also attach a letter explaining the difficult situation he was in and why he could not include the application fee with his material. He indicated that he would gladly pay the application fees when his quota was refreshed in a few months. After a few weeks of waiting, Anuj received a note indicating that his application had been accepted. The university of course was much more interested in evaluating the credentials of an ambitious and enterprising youngster than collecting a few dollars in application fees.

When decisions started rolling in, Princeton was one of the first places Anuj heard from. The short telegram declared that he had been admitted to the Class of 1998. He was extremely delighted. While in the end Anuj chose to attend MIT, it was his decision to take a chance at Princeton that stands out as the truest indication of his unrelenting determination and perseverance.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Andy,
You lived a beautiful life. Not only did you teach us to be respectful and helping to others but also fearless and daring in life. You had the perfect combination of all the right trait that only the very few and selected come with. And now that you have become a part of each and every one of us, I feel blessed for having a part this great person in me. You were truly a remarkable person, one whose legacy will live on for years to come.


1:30 AM  

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