Just like most seniors, I am in the process of applying to college. Especially this year, when I wasn’t able to visit colleges in-person and had to rely on learning about colleges virtually, the stress of choosing schools and applying is ever-growing. I have watched campus tours and participated in virtual informational sessions for hours on end, worrying about applications and applying to the schools that are right for me.
In general, applying to colleges has made me compare myself to others countless times. I always find myself watching videos on YouTube of college students sharing their high school statistics, including their GPA, test scores and extracurricular activities. Listening to other classmates and friends talk about where they are applying adds on to the already-heightened stress.
Before this year, I avoided watching those college-decision reactions and high school statistics videos. However, with COVID-19, when using online resources as one of the only ways to gain inspiration and gauge my chances of acceptance, I find it difficult to click off those websites and videos. I spend hours sitting in front of my laptop watching these videos and considering each person’s essays. But I realized that college is an extremely personal process—one that determines the next four years of my life. It’s not my place to judge anyone for their high school statistics or college decisions.
I encourage all seniors and those who are worried about college to take a step back and focus on the bigger picture. COVID-19 has definitely caused some setbacks in this process; however, it’s important to realize that, in the end, where you go to college is a decision that is personal to you and no one else. College is not just about ranks, rather it’s a decision that will affect every aspect of your life. Even though I am guilty of spending lots of my time in college application forums and blogs, I am trying to focus on myself and my own future, and encourage others to do the same.
If you feel stressed about the college application process, I want to reassure you that everything will work out. Try to take some time to relax and don’t overwork yourself in the process. Spend some time with your family or friends (safely) and find ways to relieve your own stress. Taking walks helps me clear my mind and get some fresh air, so I encourage you to find stress-relieving activities that are right for you.
Don’t sacrifice your own well-being by worrying about your future. Because at the end of the day, college is your personal decision, and one that only you get to make.
The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Calina He at [email protected] Read more of her works here. For more works by the HiLite, visit the issues here.