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Pizza, Papa John’s and Yale – A love story.

I love pizza. Pizza is awesome. You know it, I know it, and the ninja turtles know it. Everyone knows that pizza rocks, including Yale University.

But, if pizza’s place in this world was ever in doubt, this little story should put to rest any doubts of its power.

As part of Yale’s stringent application process, Carolina Williams, from Tennessee was asked to write two hundred words on something she loved to do. Most people would try to highlight their nobility and intelligence, with stories of their charity drives or spiritual retreats or academic research.

Not Carolina Williams. These Nashville girls tell it how it is – they keep things honest! She wrote about ordering pizza. That’s right – she put all her hopes of a place at Yale University on her love of ordering pizza – and boy, did it work out!

OK, I’m sure her academic rankings didn’t hurt either – top ten in her graduating class, and membership to a bunch of honour societies to back that up, but still – that’s a pretty ballsy move.

This is her essay.

“The sound of my doorbell starts off high, then the pitch mellows out, and the whole effect mimics an instrumental interpretation of rain finally finding a steady pace at which to fall. I have spent several minutes analyzing its tone because I have had many opportunities to do so, as one thing I love to do is order pizza and have it delivered to my house. When the delivery person rings my doorbell, I instantly morph into one of Pavlov’s dogs, salivating to the sound that signals the arrival of the cheesy, circular glory. It smells like celebration, as I love to rejoice a happy occasion by calling Papa John’s for my favorite food. It tastes like comfort, since having pizza delivered to my quiet home is a way for me to unwind. It looks like self-sufficiency, because when I was young, ordering pizza made me feel grown-up, and it still provides that satisfaction for my child at heart. Accepting those warm cardboard boxes is second nature to me, but I will always love ordering pizza because of the way eight slices of something so ordinary are able to evoke feelings of independence, consolation, and joy.”

That’s pretty good writing.  The Admissions Office at Yale thought so as well.  It clearly resonated with them, and it just goes to show the impact that honesty and authenticity can have on people.  Most importantly, it shows how important pizza is. Pizza is super important.

This is Yale’s response.

“I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read your application. As someone who kept trying to read books for fun on tops of thousands of applications this winter, I laughed so hard on your pizza essay. I kept thinking that you are the kind of person that I would love to be best friends with. I want you to know that every part of your application stood out in our process and we are thrilled to be able to offer you a spot at Yale …”

When I emailed Carolina to ask for permission to share her story, she was polite, energetic and a delight to talk to.  She spoke like a person who has the world at her feet -she was sharp, driven and energetic.  That’s probably due to pizza.

Oh, and by the way – she turned down Yale and opted for Auburn University in Alabama because it was a “better fit” for her.  Papa John’s have her delivery address.

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