The Pressures of Applying to College

January 21, 2011
During my freshmen year of High School, it was an exciting time. Not only was I beginning a new chapter of my life, I was one step closer to college. Ever since 8th grade, when I went on a college road trip, all I could ever think about was how exciting it would be when those college years finally happened. From living by yourself, taking care of yourself, making new friends, to making your own money; the ability to be an individual seemed nice. I remember my mom use to tell me that I would get into all the huge Ivy Leagues, become very successful, and make loads of money. Even though I had my doubts at the time, I couldn't care less. I just started High School, I didn't have to worry about anything until Junior and Senior Year.

Two years seemed to pass by like two seconds as I am now a Junior in High School. From fun with my friends to not caring so much about my grades, my life has turned a complete 180. Not only are the classes significantly harder, all anyone cares to talk about is college. From grades to personal essays to SATs, college is the only thing on every one's mind.

I wasn't bothered by all this at first, but one night it hit me. I realized that sooner or later, I would have to apply to college. If I wanted to get into a good one, I would have to work hard. With that in mind, I've been studying every second I can spare. From old SAT books to big AP exam review packets, I don't even have time to watch TV anymore. I also do a lot of extracurriculars now,and the sad part is that I'm not even enjoying most of them. I'm only involving myself in so many activities in order to achieve a well-rounded student profile.

When it comes to applying for college, it's tough for kids these days. Not only do we have to live up to the expectation of others, we have to live up to the expectation of themselves. We constantly worry about what our parents would think and what our friends would think if we didn't get into the college of our choice. I for one feel the pressure of my family the most. Coming from a humble background, my parents never had the chance to go to college. Not only did they grow up in a poor neighborhood, they had to go out and work in order to support their family. My mom has always regretted not going to college, believing that our lives would be much improved by now if she had earner her college degree. Despite it all, she's very hopeful that I will finish college and experience what she never could. Her dreams in me of success puts immense pressure on me because I don't feel that I can live up to her expectations. Another pressure many of us teens face today is the question of uncertainty. The anxiety of not knowing the future and the knowledge that a single letter could make or break our lives is frightening. Many might say that it's nothing to worry about, but it is only when they are put in our positions can they truly comprehend what we are going through. Applying to college is one of the most stressful processes that teens go through. Not only do we face the unknown, we are swapped between dilemmas of what college to apply for, fearing that one wrong choice could affect the rest of our lives.

I wish the best of luck to all those applying for college soon because I know how much pressure it can be. Not only do we face the judgment of others, we are putting ourselves out there for rejection as well. But with one step at a time, hopefully the stressful times of applying to college can be looked back on as a well-learned life experience.

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