The Stress is Starting to Settle in

It’s May and I can’t believe it.

The sun came out and stayed like a pat of butter smeared on the treetops until eight pm. Mother rolled open the deck door and the slow rumble it made, of grooves slightly rusty from winter, reminded me so much of summer. All that was missing were the crickets and pit-pat of tiny bugs hitting the screen door.

And of course, with summer the long, hard crawl of college app season will begin.

If I had to use one word to sum up what has been on my mind lately, it’s anxiety. In a week, I’ll have to take my AP Calculus exam. In two months, junior year will be over. Another month after that, I’ll be nearly done with my summer programs. And a month after that? Well, I hope I’ll have started my college essays by then.

Everything is happening so fast and I don’t think I’ve ever been more keen of that fact.

It’s weird how my perception of time has changed so much. I used to view time as a steady stream of days passing through me, with a wavelength of who-cares. Now I catalogue time — slice and dice it, package it into particles, stretch it thin from months to weeks then back again.

It’s all about numbers and seeing anything else between the thin slits of 1’s or mouths of 0’s is nearly impossible. And it isn’t just time that’s quantified or will be quantified. Productivity, the number of literary journals where I can get published, my personality rating on a scale of 1-5.

Sigh. Let me take a deep breath: 1, 2, 3.

I just feel like I haven’t done as much as I could have in my high school career. Other people have charities backed by big companies, their own literary magazines, research publications, positions as presidents of so-and-so honor society. And here I am feeling like a garden gnome.

It’s not like I can just boom, start a charity all of a sudden or make a new club for the sake of college admissions. And besides, I hate people who do that, people who do stuff for the sake of college admissions. But at the same time, who am I to talk?

I have to say, I honestly wasn’t that stressed at all my freshman and sophomore years. College seemed so far away and I didn’t want to get entangled with the prickly discussion of GPA’s and college rankings and whatnot. I wanted to stay far away from that. But in some ways, I am grateful for those relatively stress-free high school years. I wouldn’t call it “Ignorance is bliss” but I think caring about colleges and grades and gaining an “edge” in college admissions so early could have impacted my mental health negatively and bit into my relationships with people a lot more. Like, I’ve seen it happen to two friends already and it just saddens me.

At this point, I think I’m just stuck fluctuating between worry/anxiety/self-doubt and optimism/trying to make myself see beyond college. Anyways, I need to go study for chem now.

Until next time,
Jooce

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