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On schools:


“You’re applying to UC Berkeley, right? Yeah, you remember Daniel? No, not that one — my coworker’s son. You’ve met him before. Yes, you have! He got accepted last year, so you should go apply.”


(while watching TV) “Conan O’Brien went to Harvard, you know.”


(printing out U.S. News college rankings) “Here, I only went up to 50 since I didn’t want to waste paper. But I hope you don’t need the other part of the list.”


(reading my college list) “Huh, I haven’t heard of that one. Is that a safety school? Oh…it’s not?”


“It’d be nice if you applied to UPenn. Philadelphia is a beautiful city.”


On academics:


“Math is a coachable skill. Anyone can do it.”


“Do you need more prep books? Let me know if you want any more. I’ll buy as many of these as you need.”


“Why are you not taking six APs?”


(standing in my doorway while I’m studying) “Leslie’s daughter got a 5.0 last semester. She also got AP awards her freshman year. No, I know you’re not her. I’m just telling you.


(preparing breakfast before the SAT) “They say blueberries help your short-term memory.”


“All the Ivies use SAT super-scores, right?”


“Your GPA’s high enough for cum laude, right?”


“Oh…calculus. I don’t remember this at all. You really don’t use this after college, you know.”


On extracurriculars:


(as I’m walking in right before dinner) “They really work you hard nowadays — I didn’t even know what an ‘extracurricular’ was back in my day. I just had clubs and…school.”


“See, I told you we should’ve started her on a sport instead of an instrument. Look at Jeremy Lin!”


“Why are you always home so late?”


“The equipment fee is how much?!


On life lessons:


“Stop wasting time.”


“Work harder.”


“Get off Facebook.”


“It’s better to work harder now, while you’re still young and have the energy. That way you can afford to slack off when you’re older. Like me.”


(as I’m walking downstairs) “No, no, no — go back up. You’re not wearing that to your interview. Blue on blue is no good. And what did you do to your hair? No, it’s not a good look!”


To me:


“Don’t sleep too late, all right?”


“I know sometimes it doesn’t seem like it, but we really do just want you to have a stable future. We want you to be happy.”


“Just know that no matter where you end up, we’re proud of you.”


Jeanette Si

Jeanette is part of the class of 2018 at Cornell University, double majoring in Information Science and China Studies. She hails from a public high school in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and enjoys geocaching, skiing, and gaming in her spare time. Admissions season has given her humility, resilience, and the ability to answer ten different prompts with one personal statement.