Written by Quan Nguyen
I just submitted my first college application ever tonight. It’s the strangest feeling. Like I just clicked a magic button that ripped out a little piece of my soul and sent it flying away to God knows where. I put so much work into that app—six beautiful essays, all showing off a little bit of me to a bunch of admissions people I’ll never meet. In their cozy little admissions office. Over three thousand miles away. In Massachusetts. Sipping their stupid coffee and toying with my future while I freak out more and more with each passing day… Scumbags.
When you pour your heart and soul into something for over a month (I know, what a long time!) it’s hard to let it go so easily. I can’t count how many times I rewrote those essays. Who knew it could be so hard to say something of value in 250 words or less? Nothing feels quite so pleasant as spending two hours writing one paragraph, only to realize that you have no idea what you’re saying and that “I believe in America” makes you sound like a fake (I’m looking at you, Mitt). …And back to square one!
Essays are hard. Like, really hard. Try not to sweat the details, Quan, just write and fix it later. Oh yeah, I’ll just fix this one little…—What goes better with this sentence: a semi-colon or a dash? Should I use “magenta” or “pink” here? Does this sound right: “The countless hours of bacchanalian festivities did a number on my exhausted mind; my thoughts were in such a tizzy that”—Oh shoot, that’s already 253 words?! THE COLLEGE PEOPLE ONLY ALLOW 250! Funny, that’s a lot of independent clauses. Maybe I’m “clause-trophobic”?
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Why are these app forms so confusing?! How do I even fill this out? Does “certified spiff-master” count as a non-academic honor? Should I abbreviate Math Engineering Science Achievement, or am I overestimating how pretentious that sounds? I took journalism twice, is it an extracurricular or a class? This blank space bothers me why are my responses getting cut off how many hours a week do I volunteer I only have 50 hours officially should I say more I don’t even… SHUT UP MOM I CAN’T FOCUS—Wait no I didn’t mean that! Mom! Please don’t stop cooking for us…
It’s only been three weeks, and I’ve already gotten so tired. I’m just resting my eyes…—Ack! I’m being chased by monster admissions officers armed to the teeth with rejection letters and MIT pennants! Oh look, I just tripped over a senioritis-infected zombie…I wonder how my brain tastes (smart, I hope!). And here come the financial aid people to suffocate me with stacks of fee waivers ohmygodohymgodohmygod. They were supposed to save me from drowning in bills… What was that Mrs. Daniels? Phagocytosis? …what? No, I swear I wasn’t sleeping! Please don’t call my parents!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m totally sane. Maybe I stress a little too much, and maybe I lose my head having nightmares about scary college people. But I’m human, just like everyone else. I just want the best possible result, that’s all. On the bright side, I’ve already finished one app. At least that one’s off my chest.
Only nine more to go.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion or position of The Equestrian.