Writing college essays is hard. I realize how utterly depressing and cliché that sounds, but it’s the cold, hard truth. Essentially, we’re marketing ourselves to our schools and trying to find (or fabricate) the perfect 600-word anecdote to make ourselves seem like poster children. To fit the volumes of your life into a mere few hundred words, to pick the highlights, to decide what parts of yourself you want to project is hard. I know how immensely painful this process is because I’ve been going through it myself. We simply cannot condense ourselves into the confines of an essay, and yet that’s what we spend months trying to do.
I can’t say I’ve ever given an honest answer whenever someone has asked me what I enjoy doing or how I spent my free time or what kind of person I think I am. After years of these heinous questions, I’ve got it down to the highlights– I am 17-years-old, I am just over five-foot-four, I have brown hair, hazel eyes and a small frame. I enjoy reading, listening to music and spending time with friends. I’ve been involved in Colorguard and Journalism since my sophomore year. My favorite color is blue and I like to travel. I also take AP classes and try to get good grades– are you bored yet? I certainly am, and I can envision admission officers across the nation dozing off, drool trickling down their faces. These descriptors tell people almost nothing about me and yet they are the first things people learn about me.
My descriptors change along with me, but regardless of what I do, they are always going to be oversimplified. I could tell you I’m a daughter or a sister or a pet owner, but how does that really help you to get to know me? How do these small details prove whether or not I’m worthy of some institution, worthy of overpaying for an education that I’m not even certain will get me ahead in life? They don’t. Because we are all human beings, we’re multi-faceted. We’re worth more than our test scores and GPAs. Descriptors make it seem as if we’re made up of numbers, and I just can’t seem to count where it matters.
In life, we are more than what the system makes us out to be– it just takes a while for that to set in. Eventually it won’t matter if I get a C in AP Calc, but right now that percentage means everything to me. Eventually it won’t matter that I got a C in Drama freshman year, but right now that gpa haunts me. At some point in time I’ll probably realize that all that matters is what I learned during my time here, but at the moment, and maybe it’s all the angsty self loathing, all I see are missed opportunities and wrong decisions. Right now those little descriptors, those meaningless numbers, are all that I am. And in a rare occurrence of optimism, I’d like to think that maybe we are more than that, more than what the system makes us out to be.
As people we are every little detail that make us up, every memory and emotion that we hold, but in the end we are judged by our “highlights” over and over again. That being said we are still people, we are still real and whole people that will not be ruined by the constructs imposed on us by the world. In the wise words of Kurt Vonnegut, “Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness,” because there is a light at the end of this tunnel– college. If you’re at all like me, college is this shiny beacon of hope, tolerance, and higher learning, the thing that makes four years of high school hell worth it. We can remain optimistic about what lies ahead, and take comfort in the fact that though high school is the worst, it’s also almost over. I hope that it can be that for you too– yes it starts with an application that boxes people into categories and subcategories, but it’s also the first step towards freedom (also probably copious amounts of stress and poor life decisions, but freedom, nonetheless).
V by wavves
I am totally a sucker for whiny lyrics and songs that embody my complete lack of direction or ability to care about anything. “Way too much” and “My Head Hurts” are the perfect explanations for this year. And for people who didn’t like their earlier work, this album is a lot more accessible.
Best Coast in concert + The Lovely Bad Things’ cover of “Teenage Dirtbag”
So earlier this month I saw Best Coast and The Lovely Bad Things at the Catalyst, and it was a show I will never forget. Bethany is literally my idol in life and seeing her in concert again was absolutely worth waiting four hours and the mosh pit. Thank you to former opinion editor, Suah Cheong for getting me into them and telling me about the show.