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The Student-Run News Site of Carnegie Vanguard High School

Upstream News

The Student-Run News Site of Carnegie Vanguard High School

Upstream News

Personal Column: The lucky one

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Audrey Piczak
My sister, Claire, standing on UVA’s lawn at 6 years old.

Wish me luck!

We all want to be the lucky one. I can’t count how many times I’ve wished it for myself, even more so for others. When I was younger and didn’t know any better, I would ask God for it during prayer before bed. In hindsight, that probably goes against the whole concept of a God. But I wished upon shooting stars nonetheless, relentlessly searching for four-leaf clovers, bringing pockets heavy with coins to fountains with the hopes of scoring a stroke of good luck.

Unfortunately, I’ve never been lucky. I think that I actually repel it. I hate rock-paper-scissors, and I’ve never won a coin toss.

I learned that this trait ran in the family in the sixth grade. Sitting at the kitchen table, I watched as my sister opened her UT Austin admissions decision and read that she was denied from the Plan II Honors Program, the same one that her friend who skipped class daily had gotten into. Slamming her computer shut, she stared across the kitchen, determined to shove the tears back into her eyes before they slipped down her cheek. My sister only cried when she was angry.

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She deserved that spot. Everybody who knew her knew that.

I felt a pang in my chest; whether that was out of sympathy for my sister or fear for myself, I’m still not sure. But I know that on that day a seed of dread for my senior year was planted in me, and with each year it grew. I believed that college applications didn’t just take a qualified individual, but a good bit of luck — which I definitely did not have.

I am now a senior. On Jan. 4, I submitted my last college application. Throughout the fall semester, I worked. I meticulously wrote and revised essays, I applied to scholarships, I went to interviews, and I gave absolutely all I could to show colleges that I was qualified. On Jan. 4, I felt the same pang in my chest that I felt the day I witnessed my sister’s misfortune. I had done everything that I could, and it was time to surrender that control and resort to shooting stars, four-leaf clovers, and coins in fountains.

However, I had one last interview waiting for me one week later. It was as though my interviewer could feel my nerves through the computer’s screen because at the conversation’s end, she melted my pains and worries with 7 words.

“I wish you not luck, but peace.”

What I had failed to remember when looking back all those times at my sister’s rejection was the happiness that came after it when she received her acceptance letter to the University of Virginia. My sister has pictures of herself standing beside the university’s monuments and classrooms as a toddler, beaming with joy as though she knew her future would take her back to those very buildings.

She thrived during her four years spent at UVA and looking back, I can’t see her spending those years anywhere else. The stroke of misfortune she faced when she opened her UT decision inevitably led her down an even better path.

Maybe it wasn’t luck I needed, but rather the peace of knowing I would end up exactly where I needed to be. Maybe this isn’t just about college admissions.

In my prayers before bed, I no longer ask God for four-leaf clovers, coins to toss in fountains, or shooting stars. I tell him that I trust him to take me where I need to be. I tell myself that my hard work, passion and drive will lead me to places I never imagined myself and that that is exactly the beauty of it all. I’ve stopped wasting my time on four-leaf clovers and learned to see the beauty in those with three. Luck is rare, but peace comes to whoever chooses to let it in.

So, to the reader, regardless of your circumstances, I wish you not luck, but peace. I wish you the strength to recognize that if you solely rely on luck to get somewhere, then that is not where you are meant to go. I wish you not fortune, but the calm that comes with knowing life is more than rolling the dice.

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About the Contributor
Audrey Piczak, Opinions Editor
Current senior and Opinions Editor, Audrey Piczak, has been a writer for the Upstream News for two years. However, her love for writing has been in her life for much longer than that. Audrey also loves to write poetry, songs, research, and anything else she can write about. She plays nine instruments, but her favorite is the cello. Her favorite musical artist is Phoebe Bridgers, but her top artist of 2023 was Drake, which makes for an interesting mix.
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