Pressures We Face

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As you know, students have many pressures to deal with. We seniors, of Auburn High School, are now faced with an overwhelming challenge. Thousands of young adults are getting their first real taste of freedom – a chance to fulfill their dreams, manage time, and test various kinds of Campbell’s Soup creations unaware of the pressures they are about to commit themselves to. Yes, it would be college I am referring to. Thinking about college is one thing that has definitely put a lot of stress on my shoulders the past few months. All college pressures can be combined into three classifications: adult pressures, economic pressure and self-induced pressure. Without these pressures a student would not be a so-called “student,” but with them, as high school seniors, we are faced with a reality like no other.

Most students find that college pressures are tough to deal with. So many things are running through our minds all at once. College visits, here and there. Should I go to SUNY Cortland or SUNY Oswego? What about room and board? What if I don’t make any friends? When is the deadline for applications? Oh, and how could I forget, tuition? What should I be majoring in? One day you want to be a lawyer, the next day a physical therapist? The truth is, we don’t really know what we want in life and we feel that we need to make that decision right now. It’s nearly impossible to sit down and decide what you want to do with the rest of your life. Life is all about choices, and sometimes we feel as if were being too pressured to make one.

One of the three pressures working on seniors in high school is adult pressures, both parental and academic advisors. It seems to me that my parents are pressuring me everyday. How many times can you remember your parents asking you what you want to do with the rest of your life? I can’t even count how many times my parents have told me that I need to get organized and start applying sooner, or else I won’t be accepted. Not to mention the guidance counselors. They are there for help and support and they try to take some of that excess stress off of your shoulders by sending in the applications for you, but it seems to me that they are right on the same wavelength as my parents. Colleges lately are asking so much from their applicants — straight A’s, multiple AP classes, perfect SAT scores, leadership experience, community service, sports and clubs and it’s the guidance counselor’s responsibility to make sure your keeping up with these high standards. They also want to know what you want to major in, what you want to minor in, what you plan on spending, how far you plan on traveling away from home and so on. The questions are never ending. It all seems so overwhelming, the endless essays, the overflow of recommendations, and not to mention those SAT’s and ACT’s. Who wants to sit in a gymnasium hunched over a test for eight hours? Not me. With all of these things floating around in my mind, how can I not feel pressured? As a senior in high school, it’s hard to keep up.

Another major pressure that concerns a typical student and his or her family is economic pressure. I never even knew that the average cost of books could range up to nine hundred dollars annually! It seems as if the prices gradually keep on rising. Tuition, room, board, meal plans, even the cost to fill out an application, the fees are immensely large. Much larger than what a busser takes in at a nearby restaurant. The costs of going to a four year school are outrageous and many students will be stuck paying off student loans up until their mid twenties. It’s hard enough trying to save up money for the next new hottest fashion item on the market; how can you expect me to save up for college?

Self-induced pressure is something that we just can’t run from. That horrible feeling where you know the deadline for something is right around the corner, but you just can’t seem to find the time to get it done. Say for instance, your college applications. After paying a forty dollar fee for that college application it’s now time for you to sit down and fill it all out, in one week. Now it’s time to worry about building resumes and stellar transcripts that will attract the likes of Brockport or Geneseo. Not to mention organize the essays, transcripts, SAT scores and recommendations all in there as well. How am I going to find time for that? I already have enough homework to manage. Not only do we have to keep our grades up, we also have to make time for sports and a part-time job. Managing time is one thing that can really pressure a student. Knowing when your next essay is due for Mrs. Jacobs, being able to attend practice on time and rushing home to change into your uniform for work can really get stressful. While trying to balance a social and academic life, we feel as if there is no time for effective decision-making.

The level of stress may seem insurmountable at times but we just need to sit back and take things step by step. Going to college is a new experience for everyone. It may be stressful and overwhelming with all of the pressures we face, whether it’s economically based or being pressured by adults or even myself. Sometimes, I sit down and wonder, “Is college going to be this hectic?” Until then, I can only look forward to that and try to do what I can to enjoy my last year at Auburn High.





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