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.
Do you ever get that feeling where you’re so overwhelmed with work and responsibilities and social commitments and family expectations that you just want to burn all of the papers in your backpack and never exit the blanket burrito?
Maybe not. Maybe that’s kind of weird, but that is how I have been feeling since maybe 3rd block on the 4th day of school. My workload this year is absolutely ridiculous. I still have not resurfaced from the ocean of work I was dumped with the first week of classes. It’s a continuous wave of assignments, and I think I’m drowning in it. Between reading a full, not-elementary-level novel for Chinese (?? How to do this ?? Where is Chinese Sparknotes), editing hundreds of pictures and picking out the best ones for Photography, and struggling with the shift from crunching numbers in Calculus to explaining numbers in Statistics, I’m also trying to manage a brand new club and get it off the ground, while dealing with a rowdy Link Crew group of Freshmen. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
The workload for my classes is kind of unbearable because the conflict of learning styles. In my Capstone Research class, we’re only doing one big research project for the full year, which is the sole determinant of our AP scores and course grades. Without set deadlines or explicit instructions, and such a huge task, I already know I’m going to be procrastinating for this. Everything is very open ended and vague, which does not work well for me (Deadlines are my best friend, to be honest. I am totally lost without them.). To adapt to this, I started using the Stickies app on my computer to make a very clear To-Do List for each day. This way, I am always reminded of the big projects I need to do, whether it’s school-related or apps. It’s actually working quite well; the constant reminders are making me work on projects little by little every day.
Clubs and sports are also super different for me this year. In contrast with the two sports in one season of Sophomore year, I’m not doing any sports right now. It’s stressing me out a little bit, because I’m so used to long afternoon practices and getting home at 7pm every day. To balance it out, I added in three other clubs, one of which is my new favorite: giving local orphaned children swim lessons! My lunchtime club meetings schedule is totally different from last year’s, since two club meeting times changed. I had to rearrange the whole thing, which should not be happening seeing as this is my Senior year.
A piece of advice for everyone, though: don’t try to be who you’re not. I came into high school very shy and uncomfortable with collaborating with others. However, because I knew that I would have to apply to college at one point or another, I joined clubs left and right, but didn’t get anything out of them. I decided to drop a bunch Junior year and concentrate on the ones that I really cared about. The activities I am involved in are really important to me and I want to dedicate my time to them. I’m still kind of shy and bad at collaboration, but I am so in places where I’m comfortable and can both give and receive. Don’t try to be extroverted and all-encompassing if you’re not.
In terms of college applications, I’ve really only been working on refining my college list and my Common Application essay this month. I knew it was something that I wasn’t going to be satisfied with for a long time, so when I started writing it, I brainstormed around 8 different ideas, and hammered out an essay for each of them (Yes, I wrote 8 essays. Around 6 were terrible, though.). Once I decided which one I liked the most, I went to my Lit teacher and my counselor to get advice and feedback. This was actually super helpful, and I encourage all other students to do this as much as possible! Not only does it let your counselor get a better understanding of who you are, which is good for your counselor rec, it also allows you to recognize the weak spots in your piece. I’m pretty set on what topic I’m doing for the Common App essay now, and have drafts. I’m going through and editing it around once or twice a week, so I have a fresh eye every time I look at it.
On the other hand, remember those schools that I listed as my semi-final college list a few months back? Out of those, I’ve taken out 3 and added 4 more. I’m pretty sure where I’m applying ED, though, so I’ve already started working on those supplements. My school’s internal deadline for ED or EA is October 15th, so I have almost a whole 3 weeks less to get everything done. But since the RD list is still changing, I haven’t started writing any of those essays yet. I really need to get on that.
So how am I remaining sane in all of this insanity (Am I really, though…)? That, my friends, comes down to a simple formula of work, sleep, and escape through ANTM. My time management and multitasking skills have gotten a lot better, though! I know that I’ve spent most of this month’s post talking about school instead of college applications, and I’m sorry about that. However, I’ve been so busy this month just going over my list in my head and reconsidering everything, and dealing with schoolwork, that I haven’t had time to do any real work on my application. There will be more next month on college apps, I promise!
On a more positive note, however, at least I know I’m not alone in swimming through the abyss of stress. As I’m typing this, my IBD friends are over in the IB Coordinator’s office, turning in the final draft of their EE’s. Now that’s stressful.
Want to get in touch with Katherine? Fill out our Contact form, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and she’ll write you back ASAP!