Well, there really is no way around this American rite of passage for millions of high school students, is there?
I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot of things part of the so-called “High School Experience” (at least, that’s what I call it in my head based on what I’ve gleaned from movies and pop culture) — things like dating (actually, I don’t really mind this one because as a pessimist I feel like there’s really no hope for high school relationships after graduation), learning to drive (I was supposed to learn this summer but COVID-19 canceled those plans), going to a music concert, going to parties (though even if I got invited to one, I’m not sure if I’d go, considering the fact that parties in my town are lowkey sketchy), going on a road trip with friends, etc. (I’m not sure my self-esteem could handle it if I kept listing things, haha, but to be truthful I am grateful for my life and what I’ve experienced so far). Unfortunately, the college application process is the one thing I’m guaranteed not to miss.
Personally, I haven’t really hardcore delved into the process yet, like I’ve just started researching schools, but I did start drafting my common app essay and already I can say that this is probably the most difficult/possibly worst part about the college application process.
It’s funny, because as a person who writes primarily memoir, I thought it wouldn’t be that hard. I’ve heard a lot of people say that they struggled to write their essay because they found writing about themselves quite difficult, which I felt didn’t really apply to me. That is, until I actually started writing.
Because boy, how does one even go about writing one of the arguably most important essays in their life? (I’m probably exaggerating, but still, the thought that a chunk of my life may be hinged on this essay is a little scary). How do I sift through and choose out of a dozen different stories and experiences and ideas the one(s) that will perfectly encapsulate me and who I am and asdlkfjpaowi?!? Plus, 650 words really isn’t a lot of real estate.
I mean, I know that a good essay basically comes down to having a good story. Like, I’ve heard admission officers and other students say again and again to just write what your gut’s telling you to, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but that just makes me anxious wondering every time I put down a word if it’s too fancy or really necessary and will I have to delete it later and if so does what I’m writing right now even matter. Also, I feel like unlike memoir where you have room to be more ambiguous and elusive and where you don’t really have to answer the questions you raise, the common app essay demands a more rigorous beginning, middle, and ending that neatly ties everything together. Things have to be more clear-cut and to the point, which is something I definitely struggle with.
*Sigh*, I really want to throw my computer out the window right now (which is also why I’m writing this post instead of working on my essay, haha).
But that’s it for now. Maybe I’ll save the venting for future posts.