Everybody gather around! The tour is about to begin. Each of you should have received a viewbook and a tote bag containing a T-shirt, lanyard, beverage cozy, and other university-branded paraphernalia from the Admissions Office. These will come in handy later as shameful reminders of everything you failed to achieve.
As we start off, you’ll notice the building housing the rare books archive just off to your left. Its collection of obscure and invaluable printed works and manuscripts is perhaps unrivaled anywhere in the world, and had you been accepted here, you would have automatically been permanently imbued with a fraction of its considerable prestige.
Across the way is the east dormitory building. Some of your heroes spent four years of their young lives within its walls—walls to which you will never affix your Radiohead poster, nor slump against as you make out with an attractive sexual partner whom you picked up simply by mentioning you were a student at this institution.
You have a question? You ask whether the students here are happy? What a question! Of course they’re happy! Happier than you’ll ever be, no matter what you do. They wake up each day secure in the knowledge that they’ve attained something truly worthwhile—something you’ll never, ever have another chance at—and the exclusivity of it all only renders their pleasure that much more acute. Their lives have zero problems in them.
If you look to your right you’ll see the student union. You will never be allowed in there. Not even right now to use the bathroom.
What was that? Okay. The question from the hereafter malcontent boy in the back was: “But don’t the students at this university feel continually obligated to go after ever greater accomplishments than their acceptance here, to pursue a kind of Sisyphean ideal that will forever rob them of any true sense of satisfaction in their achievements?”
In a word, no. In fact, the students here will never really have to exert themselves again. They toiled diligently throughout high school and aced all the standardized tests we threw at them, and now, thanks to their acceptance at this school, their lives moving forward will be those of charm and privilege. You, on the other hand, will have to fight tooth and nail to complete with the graduates of this place for the jobs and titles that the merits of your arduous undergraduate and professional efforts will seemingly qualify you for, but which you will see time after time wrested from your grasp at the last second and bestowed instead upon our students.
Oh look! There seems to be a pickup game of ultimate Frisbee going on in the quad! Do you notice how all the players are better than you?
Alright. The bitter, bitter girl in the blue sweatshirt just asked whether there were any backdoor methods of insinuating yourself into the milieu of this elite university, such as applying as a transfer student from another, heartbreakingly second-class school.
I’m sorry, but no. Just no.
Even were you able to successfully transfer here—which you, specifically, will not be—you would forever be tainted by the ignominy of sneaking your way in. Your classmates would shun you, and somehow everyone in the outside world would be able to detect the dual effluvia of falseness and pretension about your person. Similarly, being accepted to this school as a postgraduate student, or marrying one of our alumni, or else having your children accepted here after eighteen years of assiduous grooming and preparation, will be likewise unfulfilling and laughably unprestigious. No, the damage has already been done. Please accept it and move on.
Only don’t move on, because your rumination on that fact serves to feed our social cachet.
We’ve arrived now at the south gate to the campus and thus the end of our tour. If there was any sense of equivocation communicated by your rejection letters, or in the haughty glares of the students you passed, I’ll take the opportunity now to clarify things: you are not welcome. Get out. Don’t come back. And don’t even think about trying to reforge the shards of your shattered self esteem into any kind of stronger, more self-reliant inner being than you’d previously had when you came to us and laid bare all your hopes and dreams and pathetic expectations only to have us shred them into a fine confetti right before your sad, sniveling face which we then rained down upon ourselves in a sublime and wholly unnecessary exaltation of our own Godlike perfection.
And out of courtesy, we will not begin laughing derisively until just before you are out of earshot.