College. The simple word brings chills to high school students with overly congested, time-consumed schedules. It releases a cage of butterflies upon those perplexed, crazed seniors who are restlessly striving to answer the question: What’s the “right” or “best” college for me? Perhaps we’re too blind to see that there’s no concrete response to this question. It’s unanswerable.
The so-called “college fever” can easily become an incurable illness; some of us become so enthralled by the thought of being the best — attending the best. Others are unfortunately suffering from excessive pressure and high expectations that can become overbearing.
Luckily, seniors are blessed with the icing on their cake, the one and only, application process. Applications can become deadly. The thought of completing so many tedious questions, ranging from our date of birth to what we did last Tuesday is nauseating. It becomes an uneasy competition of yearning to be better than the applicant next to you.
Then, deadlines are imprinted in our minds, engraved in the back of our heads. And though the years will progress, I am confident that the date, Nov. 1, will remain a historic memory of mine.
The unavoidable stress derived from these applications reaches beyond the computer screen. Therefore, each Sunday I go for a long run. A run in which I release the anxiety built up within, alongside my great friend and fellow senior, Anthony Iannaci. Though our intention is to “run away” from the angst, we invariably find ourselves discussing exactly what we set out to avoid.
“Honestly, there’s no escaping these thoughts,” Iannaci admitted. “The magnitude of pressure that colleges put on each student is tremendous. ‘Should I apply here? Will I get in? What if I don’t?’ are all questions that run through my head on a daily basis. At times, it can be overwhelming trying to plan out every move you must make to apply to each school. But I cannot wait to see the word, ‘accepted.’”
In reality, what does it mean to be “accepted?” Many students work meticulously, devoting sleepless nights and countless hours to an immense amount of schoolwork that transforms these students into more knowledgeable, determined individuals. That diligence is what truly matters. Being accepted to a school is simply a milestone to remember. But we cannot identify our success over our high school career based upon being accepted to a college. It’s surely an accomplishment but it is not the end of the world to be rejected.
Although the application process can become a tumultuous chapter in a senior’s life, it’s certainly a journey to remember. Yes: we can become so effortlessly distraught and mired by the pressures of choosing a college, but we must understand one thing. In life, we encounter choices every day. That’s inevitable. And finding the right college is just one of the many choices we will make. It does not define us. Once we embrace the outcome of our final decision, ultimately, we will realize we are the ones who make college “right” for us.