Feeling alone as you swim through the terrifying waters known as the college admission process? Have no fear! We have five 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.
To start us off, here’s a fact about me that I’m sure will surprise no one: I spend a lot of time thinking about college. I have for a while now. It’s been a constant side track in my mind since sophomore year, blossoming into a sort of distraction-cum-affliction that I’m sure a not inconsiderable number of you are all too familiar with as well. To put it plainly, I find college super exciting to think about, not only in terms of the idea of going but even when it comes to the blandest minutiae of the admissions process. I’ve spent more hours than I care to admit scrolling through colleges’ websites, various college blogs, and even the dread College Confidential, taking in a world of information and synthesizing it in my mind with alacrity.
And yet, as I stand here at the beginning of six months to a year of essays, interviews, transcripts, recommendations and all-too-frequent battles with the College Board, I suddenly feel far from ready. Despite all the head space I’ve devoted to the college admissions process throughout so much of high school, I can’t quite wrap my head around the idea that it’s finally here for me—that the theoretical process that I’ve been dissecting for so long has, with seeming abruptness, become all too real. Now it’s a vivisection, an entirely new procedure that I don’t feel trained to do.
Thinking about all this—the interplay between the theoretical and the suddenly real—I realize the truth in the old adage that we must know ourselves in order to navigate the college admissions process most adeptly. I’m sure it’s familiar to most of you—after all, sometimes the topics of self-awareness and applying to college might seem more or less coterminous, what with interviews and personal statements focusing on the aura of the self so deeply. I’m as steeped in this kind of thinking as anyone. But in spite of all this thinking about myself, about my “package” for applications, it’s so hard—from my vantage point, anyway—for me to really step back and have a clear vision of who I am, of how I’d describe myself to someone who’d ask.
And that’s what I take from that aforementioned adage. Self-awareness in this process is not just about evaluating different colleges for fit, or providing the best picture of oneself in one’s applications. It’s about having to be able to really see who you are, not only to know what you want, but to have the fortitude to go into this suddenly real process secure in the knowledge of who, exactly, you’re doing all this for.
That said, then, who am I? Let’s start with the basics: I’m Jacob Hernandez, a rising senior hailing from San Antonio, Texas (countdown city!), where I’ve lived my entire life. I attend a magnet school whose small size and multilateral focus dovetail nicely with my fascination with sociology, community and the world at large. In that vein, a large part of me would like to pursue a major in the social sciences when it comes time for me to focus on a particular path of study in college, but I’m also hugely in love with the humanities, especially literature. All of these interests inform my desires and plans for the process I’m going to outline for you all over the next year.
I spend most of my time thinking about narrative tropes, critical identity studies, and how much homework I should be doing. Sometimes I just sit and remember how much there is in the world I have yet to know, how much more there is I want to know. In my mind, the entire world spreads itself in front of me, bursting with potential as of yet untapped. That’s the big conflict in my life-of-the-mind right now: the dichotomy between thinking about something (and thinking about it, and thinking about it) and experiencing it. Right now, dear reader, you know a little about me—you have a general idea.
There are more specifics I’ll elaborate on in future posts—such as my college list, in all its predictably over-thought, overwrought glory—but beyond that, it’s my hope that throughout the next year, as I make my way through the supple reality of the college admissions process, both you and I will come to a deeper understanding of not only me and my journey but of ourselves. Whether you’re about to commence the college admissions process yourself or observing from the backseat as I was, hopefully all of you will find some value in watching as I venture from the theoretical to the real, from the observed to the felt, from point A to point B and all points east.
Want to get in touch with Jacob? Fill out our Contact form, and he’ll write you back ASAP!