May 5, 2015
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As the dust of college mania begins to settle, I feel that it is necessary to take a moment to reflect on the entire process – the process that the class of 2016 may see as the end-all, be-all of future success.
Before I go on, let me say this: I was accepted to my top-choice school. Although I was ecstatic when I saw the big “Congratulations” on my computer screen, this stroke of good luck has certainly left me with some survivor’s guilt and a hyperawareness that I may now have an extremely different view on the college process than someone who was not accepted to their top choice.
Final results aside, I started the college process like any other upperclassman: overwhelmed, clueless, and more stressed than ever. I tried to amp up my résumé with too many extracurriculars, I took 7 classes this year to qualify for Valedictorian, I sacrificed my weekends to SAT practice, and I even messed up my sleep schedule so much that I don’t even get jet lagged anymore. My life was constant anxiety for nearly a year, so the biggest surprise of my college journey was how I felt after basically winning the battle.
Once the initial shock of being accepted subsides, the sparkle of that prestigious name begins to fade. I can’t speak for anyone else, but when my college counselor told me I would not get into Northwestern or Georgetown (my two top schools), I wanted to get in that much more. I suddenly was researching them, analyzing them and trying – futilely – to measure my chances of acceptance. The names began to carry so much weight and they haunted me throughout first semester.
I was accepted to Northwestern and rejected from Georgetown, but I feel the same about them both now. They’re great schools, yes, but they are just schools.
So, no, college is not the end-all, be-all. It is not do or die. That being said, all that work I did in the last two years paid off in a big way. Preparation is half the battle, and the application process is a battle. So get ready. Get ready to make sacrifices. Get ready to fight. I can’t promise you’ll succeed, so be prepared to lose. But if you do absolutely everything you can, get ready to win