Applicant Number 13276

by Ivy Tirok, United World College Maastricht
December 18th, 2018

He stood in line
Applicant number 13276
Documents in arm
Looking forward
His future lay across those gates
Around him, cars sped away
Cars with busy people
Doing important things
No time for him.
The girl next-in-line jostled him out of his trance
She asked, “What sports do you play?”
“Varsity or intramural?”
He did not know what that meant
He was scared to speak
His broken tongue would reveal that he was not the ideal candidate
He ignored the voice and looked onward
His entire life had led up to this moment
He wanted to distinguish himself
He was from a ‘shithole’ country
A native to excellence
But, a foreigner to privilege
He saw how people saw him
Primitive… naïve… irrelevant
He heard the comments
That he would only be accepted through affirmative action
He wore the label ‘FINANCIAL AID’ wherever he went
No one knew, that he had a story
That his story mattered too
Ignorance and arrogance mixed
Oh, blissfully so!
He did not outsource his problems to the privilege he lacked;
He was not in the business of playing Oppression Olympics:
A competition to determine who suffered most.
His plan was simple:
Get admitted,
To return, was not so certain
He had to buy his aunt that perfume
And those shoes for his nephew
Most importantly, he had to do it with a smile
Because he is the one who got lucky
He had won the VISA lottery and left the country
So, it was his responsibility
He had become the breadwinner
The role model
The one who was studying abroad
The one who will make a lot of money
To buy his parents a new house.
This was his one shot,
He could only hope
That those across the gates
Would hear his case
And grant him one of the 2000 available spots.