College. Saying the word is making many kids all across the world flinch right now. Even writing out the word college makes me cringe and think of bad SAT scores and essays that seriously need to get written. For myself, an upcoming Senior, college has taken over my mind for months now.
It’s unavoidable. The whole college thing. If you’re not thinking about it, your mom is and bringing it up during dinner. Hanging out with your friends can suddenly turn into a 3 hour conversation about how unforgiving student loans are. Don’t even get me started on family gatherings. For almost a year every conversation with family has always started with “So what college are you thinking about?” and then I have to scramble for an answer so I don’t look unprepared or lazy. School is a battleground for avoiding college, guidance councilors are chasing you down to talk about scholarships or career possibilities. Teachers are talking about the pains of writing letters of recommendations. Every lesson for the whole year is solely based around “preparing you for college.”
To be honest, it’s super overwhelming. There is SO much to think about. College essays, applications, college tours, SATs, ACTs, AP exams, FAFSA, scholarship applications, the list goes on and on guys. And the problem is is that it won’t stop until March, when you finally get your letter of acceptance, maybe from your dream college, and maybe everything you went through was worth it, maybe not.
I’m not reminding you guys to stress you out. I’m stressed already, I’m sure anyone that has to think about it even a little bit is already stressed. I think it’s important to remind people, myself included, that preparing for college is not the end of the world. In fact, it’s the start of it. Don’t get into your dream school? Go to a community college for your undergraduate and then get into your dream school. The cost of college too high? Find other scholarships or a different school that will allow you to save up for a more expensive schooling. Worried about your SAT scores? Many colleges accept two, even three different SAT scores and find the highest average, hey, a lot of colleges don’t even look at SAT scores anymore. Can’t seem to write the perfect college essay? You have many English teachers who would be so happy to help you. All of this college stuff, although overwhelming, shouldn’t stop you from having fun this summer and during the school year. Yes, you should be thinking about it, but not when you’re at the mall or the beach. Allow yourself time to stress and think, but only for a few hours a week. The number one thing colleges look for is someone that stands out from the rest, and letting yourself be consumed by college and the perfect grades is not going to make you stand out.
So please people, remember to take care of yourself this summer and the upcoming year. Have at least a few minutes every day just for you, where you can watch your favorite show or paint your nails or pet your dog. It’s important not to forget yourself though all this. Mental well-being should always come first for us, no matter what you got on your SATs.
– Katelyn, an equally struggling senior