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Decisions. Decisions.

The stress of being a senior.

The+dreaded+college+application+we+all+love+to+procrastinate+completing.
The dreaded college application we all love to procrastinate completing.

The dreaded college application we all love to procrastinate completing.

Photo by Stella Wilkins

Photo by Stella Wilkins

The dreaded college application we all love to procrastinate completing.

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“The best year of high school is definitely Senior year.” I really do wonder who it was that started spreading this lie and if they were in their right mind. High School Musical 3: Senior Year was a fantastic movie, but reality cannot be any farther away from what you saw on that big screen in 2008. At least not the first 3 months. From the start of your last first day of high school, you are bombarded with reminders to start your college application process and taking those last ACTs and SATs. September flew by as you procrastinate login on to your common apps. Halloween was around the corner but that completely slipped your mind since you were so stressed out about meeting those November deadlines. Thanksgiving rolled around and you were finally able to relax and enjoy some time with your family and be away from all the stress. But for some, it wasn’t the right time to relax just yet. December finally came. The excitement for the holidays and the anticipation for the much-needed break are in the hearts of thousands of high schoolers (and teachers and staffs and the custodians and security guards). But do you know what else also start to creep up? That’s right! December 15th. The day that all early decisions are due. If you really want to secure a spot in that dream school, you better get your act together before it’s too late.

Due dates are never fun. But do you know what’s really fun? Procrastination. We all do it. What’s the most minimum amount of time it’ll take to complete this paper? How much longer can I spend scrolling on Twitter until I have to freak out about haven’t started the project that’s due tomorrow? All these little due dates are part of our everyday lives as high school students. But as we get older, things start to become more important. Our homework due dates became nothing more than any other days when compared to the due dates of when we need to submit out college applications that will decide our future.

I decided to talk to some of my peers about how they felt about college application deadlines and how stressful it was for them. Not surprising at all, most of them were pretty responsible and started pretty early. Liz Corso, 17 “I started my app in September but I set a personal deadline for the first of December. It was really stressful but not for the reasons that it should have been… it was more a feeling of ‘oh my God, I’m going to college and I’m going to be an adult’ feeling” Lizzie was pretty on top her game so deadlines weren’t a big deal for her. It was more the “adulting” part, which is also pretty scary. Nicole Rose, 17, commented, “The process of doing the college apps themselves wasn’t as complicated as I thought it was going to be. I planned and wrote my essay early so I wasn’t stressed to write it while filling out the rest of my application.” Another example of a responsible, big, bad senior. Andy Nguyen, 17 “ I started applying in October and my deadline is in January. The process was pretty easy because I did my personal essay in class. It was a matter of finding the time to sit down and fill everything out.”

To most, the college application process was pretty easy and they didn’t really have much trouble with completing their applications. Great job guys, but I was hoping to hear some level of distress in order to make this article a bit more fun. But wait! There was a level of distress. Getting your college applications in was only the first step. What comes after is even more than painful than not knowing what everyone is talking about when the topic is Star Wars. (I’m sorry. I’m still in the process of catching up.) And that is the waiting and waiting and waiting for those acceptance letters. You spent all that time making the perfect application, writing the perfect essay, and making sure that the teachers writing your letter of recommendation actually like you in order to simply be accepted into your dream school. All that and also a lot of money! Like what the heck, $70 to simply send an application?

When asked how are they feeling about waiting for decisions to come, most people had similar replies. Alex Torres, 17 “The week that I knew my decision was going to come, my heart was in my stomach. I was so nervous and anxious for that entire week because I really wanted to get into Cornell and have worked so hard for it.” Liz Corso, 17 “Waiting is so hard!” Andy Nguyen, 17 “it’s slightly nerve-wracking, but it is what it is. I can’t do anything now but wait so I shouldn’t really worry.” Now that the stress from completing and submitting your applications is gone, a new stress awakens. The life of a high school student seems to be made up of a constant flow of stress. Waiting for the decision from your dream school to come is definitely very nerve-wracking. That school is where you want to spend the next chapter of your life, where you want to continue thriving. Even though college is said to be very difficult, it’s also where many claimed to have the best time of their lives. Those study groups can get pretty wild. “Study groups” cause we don’t have parties in college. Most people start to become paranoid when their decisions don’t come before December 15th and when they know that people that also applied there had gotten their letters already. Mike Corso, 18 “Waiting for my decision to come was horrible. I know about 15 people who went to Stony from Pat-Med and all of them heard back in about a month.” Sorry, Mike for making you have to remember this experience. Mike is now happily studying at his top choice, Stony Brook, but the period of waiting wasn’t that great for him. Just because your decision doesn’t come at the same time as everyone else’s doesn’t mean you should give up hope.

Also, don’t forget that if a college does reject you DOES NOT mean that you are a bad student or person. The decision of some person in an admission office DOES NOT define who you are. All they have to look at were your grades, your essay, and your letters of recommendation. And all those things are very limiting. Even though your personal essay is about you, 600 characters are nowhere near enough words to display the person that you’ve become over the past 18 years. If a college does reject you it’s THEIR loss. You’re strong enough to pick yourself up and continue to strive somewhere else. I believe in you seniors!

But hold on! The stress isn’t over, at least for some. Once we get our college acceptance letter, a new worry arises. Going to college means that we’re finally at that final step of becoming adults. Mike Corso, 17 “I cycled between excitement and terror probably about 20 times in the first few weeks after graduating high school, but now that I’m done with my first round of finals, everything is calming down.” This is when a million of brand spanking new responsibilities will be thrown at us. It’s even more difficult if you’re living away from home cause now you have to remember when to feed yourself, how to do your own laundry, get a job, and be on top of your due dates cause there will be no Remind 101 from your lovely and forever so kind teachers. It’s one step away from doing your own taxes and bills. Whatever those are. I’m already getting nervous just thinking about those things right now. I still eat dino nuggets for dinner! I am definitely not ready at all. Is there like a point where I would have to give them up? When is that? And, what will I eat then? Fancy cheeses? Nicole Rose, 17 “I am very excited to be away from my everyday surroundings and start someplace new. But at the same time, I’m also sad to be away from the people who I’ve grown up with and seen every day of my life. I have a lot of mixed feelings but mostly positive ones.” College is also that first step some of us will take to enter a whole new environment, possibly a whole new world. It’s so exciting to think about all the new people you’ll meet along with new experiences.

For me, not going to college was never an option, so there was definitely a lot of pressure to get into a good school. You see, your typical Asian parents won’t tolerate it if you don’t go to college. They won’t say it but they have a very passive-aggressive way of expressing it. Not going to college means you won’t get a good job which means you won’t make money in order to support yourself which then means you won’t be able to have your own family which then lead to a painful and lonely death. At least that’s how your typical Asian parents see it. But that’s okay. They’re just very worried about you. Is this allowed? Can I put that in the article? I love you mom and dad and thank you for pushing me so I wouldn’t end up on the streets.

Future seniors, if you’re reading this, do not leave it up to the last minute to do your college applications. The sooner you do it the better. You can procrastinate so many other things in your life, like homework or going to sleep or writing articles for the Red and Black. Not this. Get this done and then Senior year will be all yours.

Senior year is difficult, stressful, and so expensive. But you know what? At least we can say that we’ve made it and that we will beat it. We’ll get through this first step of “adulting” and soon we’ll enjoy the heck out of our senior year. Senior Fashion Show, Senior Ditch Day, Senior Prom, and Graduation, we will all make it. Just gotta get those college apps in.

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