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.
This month I stressed myself out. You know how if you’re not doing anything you start thinking a lot and over-analyzing everything and then you come up with the worst possible outcome for every situation? Yeah, in January I did that. By January 15 I submitted my last two applications, and I was completely finished with my portion of the college application process. I mean I had to finish up the FAFSA and the CSS Profile, but strictly in terms of applying, I was done. Which gave me time to think of my applications. And over-analyze them. And worry about them. And stress myself out about them.
Basically, every moment that I had alone I thought about college applications. I thought about how my essays might not have been edited enough or not serious enough or not descriptive enough. I thought about how lame my extracurriculars must look compared to other applicants. I thought about how low my math score on the SAT is. I thought about the tiny number of AP classes I’ve taken over the years. I thought about how I should’ve applied to more schools and different schools. I had nightmares about not getting in any of my OOS schools and watching all my friends leave me behind in Florida. I just kept thinking and it made my life worse.
Through this anxiety, I didn’t really feel as if I had anyone to turn to. My closest friends were either accepted into the ED schools or they didn’t think I really meant what I said. They thought I was being one of those really confident people who are self-deprecating to get attention. But I’m wasn’t. Every time I think about getting decisions back, I get a knot in my stomach and I feel like I’m going to vomit. Adults weren’t much help either. They do that adult thing where they praise you and tell you that “Of course you’re going to get in! You’re such a great student!” which isn’t helpful. I mean I know I’m a good student. I’m just wondering if colleges will look at me and be like “She’s a good student..but she’s not the best for us.”
So I looked elsewhere grasping for something. And College Confidential’s arms were wide open. I’ve talked about the good side of CC boards before, and I stand by those statements. College Confidential CAN be a good place for seniors ask questions and talk to others about the college process. But it can also be a bad place for seniors. I discovered that firsthand. Everyday, I would check College Confidential about every couple of hours. I bookmarked almost twenty boards that had to do with the colleges I was applying to, and I always knew what was happening on each board. When I finished going through each “X College Class of 2020 Discussion” board, I moved onto reading anything I could find on the college. This caused me to read about three pages worth of discussions on different topics for about six colleges. It came to a point that I read so many discussions, I would be upset because I couldn’t find anymore to read. After college specific posts, I would move onto the “African-American Students” page and then the “Women’s Colleges” page and then the “Florida Schools” page. I would read and read and read. If I became desperate enough to find something else to read, I would click on “Latest Posts” and see if anything there caught my eye.
Sometimes this scouring would give me someone out there to connect with. Another senior would post about having the same feelings about college apps that I did or they would enjoy the same things about a specific college that I enjoyed. These tiny connections would make me feel better for a little bit. But most of the times I would come up empty-handed. I would spend hours checking every part of the site and get frustrated because I just couldn’t find anything that made me less scared. Sometimes what I found made me more afraid like a post talking about how a school has hit a record number of applications so their acceptance rate is going to take a noticeable dip. But no matter what, the next day I would wake up and check and check and check again. It was a horrible habit that I knew I hated but kept doing anyway.
So where are the wild things I referenced in my title? In my head. They’re the wild ideas that I’ve concocted over the past month about my chances of getting into college that mostly have no base. I know that I’m obsessing over everything because I have no control anymore. There is nothing more that I can do but wait, and that scares me. But I can’t just fret all the time. I have to step back and live a little.That’s my plan for January: get off College Confidential, forget about college, and enjoy senior year. What I’ve been doing is unhealthy and it’s time to change.