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My first feeling after submitting my Early Action application on November 1st was regret. I should’ve started working on my essays sooner. I shouldn’t have let those precious 650 words of me on paper be poked and prodded by other people. I wish I could take it back.
Welcome to the Other side! I wish I could describe how confident I felt about my early action application to Princeton, but the feelings I described above are sadly not from a nightmare I had after falling asleep Sunday night. Sigh. The worst part has been responding to people who helped me apply throughout the entire process—my teachers, friends, family, etc. I feel like I’ve let not only myself down but them as well.
I know it’s probably natural to feel doubts after submitting the application for your first choice school. Maybe my essays aren’t as bad as I feel they are, but only time will tell. I know that it’s no use dwelling on what I’ve already submitted, but that wisdom is hard to put to action.
Even so, I’ll stop talking about my regrets now and look on the bright side. I have months to apply to other great schools for the Regular Decision deadline, and I should be hearing back from Cambridge about whether or not I am invited for an interview within the next couple of weeks. I will hopefully also hear back from Rutgers soon.
Also, applying early was a good learning experience. Most important takeaway: don’t procrastinate. A couple people have told me to take a break before returning to work on my Regular Decision applications, but that break will last a few days at most. I want time to “chew” on my essays, because that’s the only way I’ll feel I’ve exhausted my efforts and feel comfortable submitting.
Second most important takeaway: don’t be surprised if, when writing your essays, you find that you can’t please everyone whom you ask to read them through. I asked both my parents and my friend to read a third revision of my Common App essay; my parents said it was perfect and my friend said it was my worst so far. Although I definitely didn’t have enough time to further refine the essay and perhaps reach a happy medium, I felt like there was merit to both my parents’ and my friend’s perspectives. In the end it came down to what I believed, which was a difficult thought to discern. Hopefully by giving myself more time I’ll be able to think through my decisions more carefully.
Third takeaway: Know your priorities. I feel like, for the past month, I was pulled back and forth between maintaining good grades in school/extracurriculars and devoting time to my college essays. I shouldn’t have been. High grades and performance are important to preserve if I don’t want to get rescinded from college, but I need to be accepted into college first. I observed some of my friends battling this issue as well. A few of my friends skipped school to work on their essays, and I followed suit, realizing that a couple points drop isn’t going to have so much of an impact.
Three lessons is enough for now. In other news I’m currently focusing on playing violin as much as I can, since the Princeton Arts Supplements are due this Friday and I’m kind of unprepared. My friend told me last year not to procrastinate on my arts supplements but evidently there is a limited amount of space for random access wisdom in my brain because I didn’t remember his words until just now.
I don’t have much else to say except that the Nov. 1 deadline is not very convenient, at least where I’m from. First, my high school splits the school year into four marking periods, and at the end of each marking period teachers give us tons of assignments and tests so that they can input an adequate amount of grades into the gradebook. Unfortunately, the end of marking period 1 is next week and so I’ve been given more tests and homework checks than usual in the past week. Second, the November SAT is this Saturday, Nov. 7. That means that people who planned to take the SAT one more time before submitting their scores to their early deadline colleges only have a week between college apps and the test. If you’re great at managing your time, then this isn’t a problem, but if you’re not then the date is pretty bothersome. Finally, the NJ Education Association is having its annual teachers’ convention this Thursday and Friday, so I don’t have school. Yet I feel as if certain teachers within this organization, namely those who teach high school seniors, could suggest moving the convention a week early for the peace of mind of NJ 17 and 18 year olds across the state.
I actually didn’t mind the October 15 date that Cambridge set; I wasn’t too busy because school hadn’t picked up yet, and probably would’ve been pushed to work harder on college apps over the summer if my Princeton app were due that early. Maybe in the future I will exercise my activistic responsibilities as a citizen of the US and advocate for the collaboration of different organizations within America to coordinate a new and convenient early date for college applications. However, there are obviously more pressing problems in America right now so that goal might have to take a back seat for now.
If this post sounds somewhat distant and emotionally light, it’s because I’ve been reading Albert Camus’s The Stranger for AP English and have been infected by Monsieur Meursault’s emotionally detached narrative. I apologize, but perhaps this is the best mindset for a post-deadline senior.
Until next time!
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