It wasn't hard to figure this out. I had the majority of it pegged down not long after I saw the "ding" notice in Mayport. One of any number of analogies can be used to describe the situation. I put the cart before the horse. I tried to throw to first base without fielding the ball cleanly. I turned and ran upfield without catching the pass. In short, I acted as though it was in the bag without it being so.
Despite having talked about it extensively here, my contact with Stony Brook was limited to a couple of short spurts. The first was filling out the basic SUNY application, a process that required less than an hour to complete. The second was filling out a supplemetal application nearly a month later. That included an essay, one which I cranked out in about an hour and a quarter (it was on my experience in the Navy). At no time did I set foot on the Stony Brook campus. At no time did I actually speak with anyone in their admissions office or anyone else affiliated with the university. While they never gave me a reason for the rejection, being nothing more than a collection of bytes to them - and one with a prior college GPA of less than 2.0 - couldn't have helped the cause. As I wrote here recently, the application to Hofstra was quite different; not only did I go there and press my case in person, I made a 550 mile round trip to procure my Cornell transcript.
I've also compared these experiences to the process of applying to college fresh out of high school ten years ago. I don't remember so much of the schools I declined, or those that declined me. I do recall that with respect to Cornell, there was plenty of contact in the months leading up to April 3, 1999. I did a Red Carpet visit over Veteran's Day 1998. I interviewed with a member of CAAAN. And of course, this was in addition to all the standard application materials I sent in. Correction - the materials that I gave to my school's guidance office to be sent in, because that's how we rolled in those days. It's certainly possible that a demonstrated enthusiasm for the Big Red was a factor in Cornell's decision to admit me. (And for the record, when I did receive the thick envelope with a return address in zip code 14853, the tuition deposit was in the mail nearly as fast as my military ID on the day of separation.)
One more thing, not so much related to the applications. My mom asked me yesterday if I would find it difficult to shift my allegiance. I looked at her with a mix of shock and bewilderment, at a level slightly lower than that appropriate for a statement of sympathy with al-Qaeda. She continued, "or do you intend to shift them?" Finally, I could speak: "Absolutely not." I may end up with a degree that says Hofstra University on it, but it's like Scotty said when he guest starred on Star Trek: The Next Generation:
It's like the first time you fall in love. You don't ever love a woman quite like that again.I feel the same way about my collegiate ties. It's Big Red until the end for me. As Mom quite properly mentioned, it's quite fortunate that Hofstra doesn't field a varsity men's ice hockey team...