Today’s post involves a letter that precedes a letter. I know it’s a lot for a Wednesday morning, but I promise it’s worth it.
When my twin sister and I were 13 years old, our brother Nicholas was a senior in high school with college plans weighing heavily on his mind. And, for as long as I could remember, Nicholas had his heart set on Northwestern University. To him, it was perfect: the school was close enough to home (but not too close,) and its high academic standards seemed to be a flawless fit for his polished transcript. Alas, fate intervened and he was denied acceptance. So, he attended an amazing school in Tennessee, graduated with a degree in Political Science and worked as a writer for a few years prior to returning to Northwestern in 2009 to earn his MS in Integrated Marketing and Communications.
He flourished as a graduate student at Northwestern, making friends, earning top marks and finding a larger sense of purpose. Midway through the program, in February of 2010, he sent the below e-mail to our entire family (a distribution list of 15 people between our two parents, our siblings and their respective spouses).
His preface to the following letter is more than enough to show you how appreciative he was (and still is) for our family, and more specifically, my twin sister, Kaitlin. Kaitlin has always been a fiercely loyal member of the clan, and her effort (which was launched via e-mail in December of 2001,) only goes to show that she’s maintained this quality throughout the past ten years. So, thank you Nicholas for your permission to post this e-mail
and for editing out Kaitlin’s hysterical grammatical errors, thank you Kaitlin for being such a loyal member of our family and lastly, thank you for reading.
[Nick writes on February 9, 2010]:
So, I know everyone is busy, but I hope you’ll take the time to read this email. A classmate of mine is in his mid-thirties and has been working in the Northwestern undergraduate admissions office for nearly ten years on and off as a part-time job. His main responsibility is to read and separate good/medium/bad essays from high school seniors. Anyway, the other day, he asked me if he could speak with me in private. When I met with him after class, he asked me if I had applied to Northwestern as an undergrad. I said yes. He told me he had a letter he wanted to give me. It wasn’t from the University, he said, but one he could legally give me without getting into any trouble. He said he had been saving it (and a few others like it) in a folder for years, and that recently my last name just clicked and he looked it up. I’ve re-written the email below, and upon reading it, I think you’ll all understand why our family is so amazing:
[Kate writes on December 13, 2001]:
Dear Whoever You Are,
My brother was heart-broken today, after receiving the news that he had not gotten into your school. Personally, I think he can get into many other different and better schools. I’m gonna go to Notre Dame when I grow up. I’m in 7th grade and my name is Kaitlin Schreiber, the sister of Nick Schreiber.
Nick, who applied early to Northwestern and had his heart set on going there is a remarkable person, brother friend, student, leader, and all-around guy. He attended high school at Lake Forest High School. He was president of his class 4 years running. Yes, FOUR! Everyone loves him. He is very smart. And we come from a large family. So he is now already an uncle of two and a GODFATHER of one. Another advantage of being able to go to Northwestern is that he is not far from home, so he can see his Godson and niece. Why don’t you look up his form or resume or whatever application over again…. he is someone you will be lucky to have, or would have been. ALL AROUND STUDENT AND PERSON! AND BROTHER! So please give him a chance, or at least write me back. I’m not even sure if this is the right person to write. Please write me back. PLEASE.
Kaitlin (Katie) Schreiber
[Nick writes on February 9, 2010]:
So, I think that is pretty awesome. Kaitlin never told me about it. It’s dated 12/13/01 and is addressed to Mark Hill, one of the former directors of admissions. I’ve been the beneficiary of some great actions from my family members, and this just seemed like a good opportunity to say thanks to Kaitlin, and to everyone else.
PS I don’t remember ever calling Kaitlin “Katie” – do you guys?