The Hippo Lies: Notes From an Admissions Interview

By Miranda Li, Print Managing Editor

a“So tell me about yourself,” my admissions interviewer asked. We sat across from each other, cradling our respective hot chocolates. Here are some things I could have said:

“When I lived alone this past summer, my phone broke, so my mom mailed me her old one. When it came, it had a single alarm on it, inexplicably named ‘Eggs.’ I thought it was funny, so now, instead of creating new alarms every time I need my phone to scream at me, I just reset ‘Eggs.’”

“My favorite color is yellow, despite the fact that I wear all black nearly every day. I wish I wore more color, but every time I go shopping, I end up buying more black. It feels safe, I think.”

“In elementary school, I believed that my left foot and right foot were competing against each other for who could step on the most sidewalk cracks. I didn’t want them to get mad at each other, so when I stepped on a crack with one foot I immediately stepped on a crack with the other so that they would be tied.”

“The #MeToo movement makes me terrified about my future. 1 in 3 women are sexually assaulted during college, and all of the accusations and exposés have made it clear that sexual assault is just as prevalent in adulthood. I know I’m supposed to feel empowered by all the women speaking up, but I’m more afraid than anything.”

“It took me 13 years to figure out that the Disney logo doesn’t say ‘Gisnep.’”

“I have twenty-ish Spotify playlists. When I get tired of a playlist I retire it by replacing its name with a number, so one day I can look back on all my playlists and have a chronological record of my music taste. The one I’m currently listening to is called ‘skrillex playlist,’ but it doesn’t have any Skrillex on it because I think I’m funny. When I’m done with it, it’ll become ‘13.’”

“I really don’t like the sound of my own voice.”

“In kindergarten, my best friend was a boy named Matthew who moved to China in second grade. He said he was coming back in fourth grade, but he never did. I wonder what he’s doing sometimes. I wonder what he looks like. I wonder if we’d still be friends.”

But I didn’t say any of these things, obviously. Obviously. Instead, I told her about my extracurriculars and academic interests. Planned majors and where I see myself in 10 years. Which is valid — these are indeed things about myself. But they feel more like they’re attached to me, like flies on the back of a hippo. She asked about the hippo. I told her flies. Flies of omission.