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Feeling alone as you swim through the terrifying waters known as the college admission process? Have no fear! We have several seniors blogging about ups, downs, and random in-betweens of their college process for the next 12 months (from June 2014 to June 2015!). Sit back, relax, and get that “OMG I totally get you, bro” feeling. Information for how to contact a blogger will be at the bottom of his/her posts.

There’s something about being accepted to college that no one tells you: soon afterward, all of your motivation disappears. It’s like a magic trick. The college pulls out an acceptance letter from a hat, and the audience is compelled to look up cute cat pictures and watch Netflix the rest of its senior year when it should instead be concerned with finals and AP exams.

But that’s not the only problem. For me, this year has been particularly hard for balancing extracurriculars. I’m a writer, and everyone wants first drafts and final drafts and outlines at all times of the month. I’m grateful for the work, but I can’t use my spare time to relax and think personal thoughts anymore. My friends often catch me staring into the distance with a furrowed brow, composing my next article or paper. It’s a constant fight to stay ahead and it always seems like I’m barely staying afloat.

And in those moments I think I have life handled, my teachers throw four projects at me in one day, I find out about the perfect scholarship that’s due tomorrow, or I have to schedule extra rehearsals for an upcoming mock trial competition (all true stories). I’ve found myself focusing more on the here and now instead of the distant future, because yay college, but how am I going to pay for it? Reality always sets in when the bill comes. I know I’ll have to make sacrifices, but I want to avoid adding ‘broke’ to my shiny new college student title for as long as possible.

Speaking of scholarships, as the youngins say, my scholarship game is not on fleek. It’s frustrating to put so much time and effort into applications and not see immediate results. I know I’m not entitled to anything, but it would be nice if someone offered, say, a dollar. Every little bit helps. I’m trying to have heart, and if you’re in the same situation as me, you should too. Keep looking and applying for scholarships. Your time will come. And don’t ignore the local scholarships. Local means a smaller applicant pool, and less competition increases your own chances. As my friend Naya told me, more work this year means less work next year.

This nugget of wisdom especially applies to class. I love learning, but I’ve grown annoyed with my schoolwork. (Senior year has made me a very grumpy person.) I should be writing scholarship essays, I grumble internally, not research papers. It’s hard to stay motivated when Barnard seems so far away. But it’s important for both of us to remember, dear reader, that acceptance to college is contingent upon successfully completing high school, which is something that neither of us has achieved just yet. And I’ve worked hard for this. I can’t throw it all away in one semester. I’d never forgive myself.

That isn’t to say that balancing everything isn’t a daily struggle. There’s always so much to do and so little time to do it. I just have to remind myself to relax. A few days ago, I set foot in my favorite library. It had been months since I’d last visited. There’s a problem with this: I love books, reading, and libraries. I’ve mentioned in a previous article that you have to make time for yourself. Sometimes we work so hard that we forget to play. I love reading, yet I’m reluctant to start new novels. I get so absorbed in the story that I’ll read into the wee hours of the night, all the while neglecting my homework and other social responsibilities.

But it feels lovely. The feeling I get after reading a good (or even semi-decent) book is akin to the feeling I get when I finish meditating. I’m always inspired to write my own stories and to be a more amazing person. Both this article and a bit of thinking have inspired me to devote Friday evenings purely to reading. . . starting two weeks from now. I’m terrible, I know. But I’ve devoted this Friday to homework and writing and next Friday to obsessing over mock trial reading over my mock trial notes and going to bed, as the competition will be the next day. This is better than putting off my “me” time for someday, which we all know never comes.

To be blunt, January hasn’t been my best month. Between stream of consciousness novels that I’m obligated to read as I lay dying from the stress of senior year, demanding extracurriculars, and  scholarship applications, I  never quite feel on top of things. Hopefully that’ll change as senior year winds down and everyone starts to relax.

Stay motivated, fellow prospies!

If you want to talk to Arlena about books, college, or cute kitten pictures, you can email her at arlenamcclenton@yahoo.com.



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