It’s only the 5th day of the school year, and the college clock has already started ticking.
Today my school’s college office counselor strode into my third period class to discuss colleges and the weeks ahead of us. It must be important, I assumed– it was going to take up an entire class period. My school’s counselor has made a point of constantly reminding us about where we should be with the college application process, as his job requires him to. (He’s sent so many emails out to us, in fact, that most of them go straight to the spam box now). Yet this one visit was enough to have me running for the computer, ready to jot down the sense of weight that I now realized I was carrying.
From standardized testing, to the essays, to the interviews, to the tons of college tours and nerve-wrecking emails ahead, it’s getting chaotic for most students. Due dates are obscure and depend on the college, the classes are becoming more demanding, there’s not enough time in the day and let’s face it – students just can’t wait to get out into the world. We can’t wait to call ourselves “college students”. There’s a sense of responsibility that marks the transition from childhood to adult that’s a thrill to us – and we’re ready to have a full taste of that thrill. We’re excited, we’re nervous, we’re unsure. So from all different ends, various emotions are being raised, making us complete messes.
And we’re still in the incipient stages of the process.
Being a person who usually has my emotions written all over my face, my friends sensed that I was feeling a little overwhelmed after the college information session ended. How could I not be? I just had this mass of information thrown at me in less than 45 minutes. I was beyond overwhelmed- I felt flat out stressed. My friends then said something that was simple enough to remember, yet profound enough for me to mention. All they had said was simply, “me too”.
By these simple two words, they reassured me that they too are just as nervous, later even questioning if they’ll make it through the year and wondering how out loud. You know how they say misery likes company? Well, so does uncertainty. Knowing that tons of kids are thrown into the crazy procedure along with you is one of the most reassuring things out there- as humans we hate feeling like no one understands our situation, so of course having company somehow allows us to feel as if we can tackle whatever is being thrown at us. How amazing is it that thousands of kids worldwide are feeling exactly how my friends and I are feeling? It’s a reassuring thought that gives the sense of company – we’re all on the same boat worldwide.
The point of this post isn’t to scare anyone out of college, (imagine not going to college over a blog post? I can just imagine what my parents would say!), but to you of the realities – it is a competitive process, it is a major change in pace in terms of your own personal responsibility, and it is probably one of the more important decisions in you’ll make in life. But don’t feel too overwhelmed- remember, there are 3.3 million students in the United States alone sitting in your seat right now, just as nervous as you. Imagine how many more stressed students there are outside of the US. Especially you all in China! If that’s not reassuring enough, remember one more thing – the fact that you’ve taken the initiative to read about the college application experience is enough to convey how much motivation you have and you’ve begun to prepare.
In other words, you’ll be just fine and we’ll get through this together.