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 2015 to June 2016!). 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.
I have to get over myself.
Since GSET ended I’ve been trying to catch up and not feel too overwhelmed with the sheer amount of work and commitments I’m signed up for this year. One of my strongest personality flaws is trying to do everything. I always set high goals for myself in many different areas of my life, and am only just learning how to deal with falling short of what I intended to accomplish.
That said, I haven’t had much time to sit down uninterrupted and do “college apps”. Two years ago when my sister was going through this process, I saw her procrastinate and stress over her apps very close to their deadlines. I decided that I wouldn’t follow in her footsteps, but here I am along that very same path. It’s disappointing. But as I’m beginning to learn, I can’t dwell on the fact that I should’ve started earlier. I need to focus and manage my time more efficiently so that I can stay on top of my work.
Although, I’m not even sure that “college apps” even qualifies as work. Practicing violin—playing the same two chords 50 times over until their connection sounds smooth—that’s work. Taking meticulous notes on King Lear and looking up every obsolete phrase ever used in early Britain? That’s work. But sitting down and writing page upon page about what I’ve done when I could be doing more just seems like a waste of time. On top of that, I don’t even know what I’m supposed to write about. I don’t know what colleges want to see, and writing countless essays before I choose one that I think will be acceptable is incredibly inefficient.
I’ve tried changing my perspective, too. I’ve told myself that college apps will help me figure out who I am. However, I’ve been changing so much recently that I doubt writing about my past behaviors in college essays will hold any remaining truth. I’ve been trying to adjust to all of the new responsibilities in my life—taking care of my little brother now that my sister’s left for college and my parents are busy with work, running different clubs I’m responsible for without the guidance of older students, and adopting a healthier and more balanced lifestyle in preparation for living by myself in college, among other adjustments.
I’ve also tried recalling moments in my high school career when I had a climactic, perspective-altering experience, because those instances make for good essays, right? They show acquired maturity, lessons learned, etc. But I seem to have writer’s block, or maybe I’m just not trying hard enough to remember. Also the word limit for the essays on the Common App is so small. I tried “just writing” everything I could think about but I wrote way too much and I’m not sure if I can condense my themes to an acceptable size.
Finally, I’m pretty sure I don’t know enough about the colleges on my Common App account to really make required decisions such as “what is your first choice major”, “which department or school are you applying to and why”, and “which degree do you wish to pursue and why”. I know I need to do some more research on the colleges’ websites, but those questions are so broad, and every time I start looking things up I end up with about 30 different tabs open and no idea what I accomplished for the past half an hour.
To elaborate, all of the colleges have different degree programs so I’d have to read about the distinctions between each one. Then I would have to look up all of the different majors and the corresponding courses offered, since I’m interested in many different areas of science and am not sure which specific area I would be most happy studying. Also, simply saying “I like nanotechnology” isn’t enough to persuade X college’s school of materials science that I deserve a spot—I’d need to look up the school’s and college’s credos and beliefs, their recent research and breakthroughs, their opportunities for undergraduates, etc. After all that I would actually be qualified to answer the questions on the Common App.
Being a scientific thinker, I’m always inclined to ask the “why” questions such as “why are colleges doing this to me”, “why isn’t this information presented in an easier format”, and even the deeper “how” questions such as “how did my graduated friends even survive first semester last year”. But answering the “why” and “how” questions doesn’t build bridges and cure Ebola patients, and in this case it won’t get me into any of my top choice colleges. I need to get over my worries and just do it.
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