I realize I’ve forgotten about my daily planner. It’s been sitting in my desk for the past couple of weeks, leaving me to keep track of all my assignments in my head. Without it, academics have felt like one big game of whack-a-mole. I’ve been barely holding on, about to turn the lights out for the night before I realize an assignment is due tomorrow.
It can feel annoying writing every assignment down as its given. However, without an organized book to keep track of my assignments, I have felt like I’ve tuned out of academics.
Today I wrote down everything I needed to do. It’s not too much when you look at it on paper. When it’s all in your head, however, it can feel overwhelming. Just when you think you’ve cleared your agenda, another task appears. When I write down my assignments or meetings, however, I can accomplish things in a more mentally civilised way.
It is important for me to not let my own head be in charge of keeping track of things. Not everyone works the same way, but for me, writing down my responsibilities is the best way to get them done, and erasing them is very rewarding.
Sometimes, it is good to waste some time on endless video games.
They can be a stress-free comfort zone, a place to escape far away from reality.
The game I’ve been playing recently is called “Soul knight.” it is a Run-and-Gun shooter game, and it allows multiple players under the same wifi connection to play together.
It takes up 10-30 minutes to finish one single game. Each game has 3 levels of the dungeon, each level has 5 small sub levels, and the deeper of the dungeon means more difficult to complete. By the end of each level, there is a boss which is a more powerful and aggressive monster you need to beat.
This is the game you have always wanted in your subconscious. Explore the dungeon, collect crazy weapons, dodge bullets and shoot ‘em all up! Extremely easy and intuitive control; super smooth and enjoyable gameplay, mixed with rogue-like elements.
This is my last year in high school where my grades need to be A’s, where my extra curricular activities matter. This is my last year where cramming in PSAT prep will benefit me, and the last year where SAT prep is a dreaded ritual.
After this year, the hours on hours of work, sleepless nights, cramming for texts, student leadership applications, struggles I faced, fun memories I had, volunteer activities, extra curriculars, and sports achievements will all be put on to a single document… The last three years of my life will be put on a document; an application.
By the end of this year I’m supposed to have a general idea of my life plan, my career, and my identity.
By the end of the year I’m supposed to have perfect SAT scores, ACT scores, and 5’s on AP tests.
By the end of the year I’m supposed to be a person who will stand out amongst millions of other applicants.
This is my last year to become who colleges want me to be while still trying to stay true to the person I want to be.
In less than 365 days, I will need a paper explaining who I am, what I want to do, what I stand for, what sets me apart, and why I belong at the college receiving the paper. All of who I am, all of why I’m special, and all of why I belong in 650 words.
A transcript and 650 words which will determine my future, career and where I will be for the next four to eight years.
A lot to think about… a lot to do, a lot at stake. Welcome to junior year.
I can’t wait for this summer. You know, in the past, people have always told me that junior year is gonna be harder than all the other years. But I had no idea that they were actually right about that!
I’m mentally and now even physically so exhausted that I don’t want to do anything but sleep. But guess what! I can’t!
That’s why I can’t wait for summer. I can actually sleep then. I won’t have anything to do but read, ride horses, go for runs with my dog, probably study for the SAT, go to my summer journalism program, and travel. I’m so excited to travel!
In the US everything seems to be so far apart. If you go on a two hour train ride here, you get to another city in the state. But if I go on a two hour train ride from my hometown, I end up in another country. I can’t wait to go to Paris, to Amsterdam, Berlin, to Greece.
I also really can’t wait to ride my horse again. I am so glad that I get to ride at my school here, I am so thankful for that, but it’s so different from my barn at home. I can go there whenever I want, I can stay there as long as I want, go on trail rides through the fields and forests, and I can actually get lessons. So, obviously, I can’t wait.
Of course I’ll miss all my friends here, as always. I’ll miss the amazing weather in California, and the amazing avocados and oranges, that simply don’t taste the same in Germany. But I can’t even tell you just how excited I am for this summer!
Today my mom asked me if I have been feeling stressed lately, because I apparently looked a little tired. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, I am so stressed. Ugh.
Since the beginning of the school year, most of my classes have been leading up to these two weeks: the AP weeks. So, naturally, I’ve put a bunch of pressure on myself for doing well, or at least pass my exams for God’s sake.
If my grade depended on them, I’d probably not care as much, ironically. If they counted towards my grade, I could at least try to do well for the rest of the year to make up for it. But if I do badly on my APs, there is literally nothing I can do about it. So no pressure!
It’s not like doing well on those exams could determine whether or not my dream college finds me worthy of being admitted. It’s not like passing them could mean I wouldn’t have to take a bunch of classes in college, which could possibly save a ton of money AND nerves. No pressure at all!
Well, at least there are about 180,000 other students living this nightmare with me, and at least I still have time to watch The Great British Baking Show now and then, and at least I now have an excuse to wear sweatpants to school. This all is definitely a struggle, but it could be worse.
(That still doesn’t mean I’m not stressed though…)
Actually, I probably give some of the worst advice I’ve ever heard.
But, one thing that I’m probably even worse at is managing stress, and, more importantly, giving people advice about it. Because, in all actuality, I have no idea how to manage it and I don’t think anyone really does.
Stress comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be as little as that paper you know you should have enough time to write for your English class, yet you psych yourself out because, after all, it is a big chunk of your grade. And stress can be as big as….. well anything. It can take over your life and control you if you let it.
For me, one of my larger stresses I refer to as competition stress. This comes with all sports competitions, no matter the magnitude of it. It’s the pressure and the anxiety sitting on your shoulders like a bird watching its pray from way above so the pray can’t see them.
Lastly, the big stress, the whole shebang, is what I call the stalker stress; this is the type that even if you kick, scream, run, and hide it’ll find you somehow. It is the type of stress that resembles a person you don’t want to get to know, and one that you hope doesn’t know you. It is the boogie man hiding under you bed when you’re little and the clown hiding behind your door. It’s the reason that you hate walking alone in the dark because you don’t exactly know what you’re scared of at this point, you just know you’re scared.
But, I’ve learned one thing, and if people do ask me about stress this is the only true piece of advice I can give: it’s hard to manage stress, but it’s even harder not to be scared of it. So once you manage how to not be scared of the inevitable, life becomes easier, I don’t exactly know how, it just does.
P.S. I don’t want you to go on thinking that I have it all figured out, because I don’t. I’m so far away from it, but I’m managing, and will continue to until I can stop stressing about the little things and go on living life. But that will be a while, because it’s difficult and stressful.
On the paper/computer application in front of you is me, or at least all you get to see of me before you deem me good enough or not.
It takes you 650-1000+ words for you to supposedly understand who I am, who I know myself to be and who I want to be. Yes, I wrote the words, I told you the stories, I’ve built from what I have in me, who I think I’m supposed to be. I’ve compressed seventeen years of life into eight or nine paragraphs expressly for your viewing pleasure.
But, reader, this one is different, this one will tell a different story because what you don’t see in the typical “What have you done to better your community” and “What is your passion” supplements (which have a strong undercurrent of “be impressive, we’re watching you”), are the long nights, the tears and disgusting tissues, the pacing, the self-judgment, the pain of feeling so insanely inadequate that every achievement feels like a trivial pursuit or worse- a lie.
I’m here to tell you that I am more than just 1000 words. I am an incomplete but also fully whole person, and that I have not a f*$%^&g clue who I am, who I’m going to be.
I feel as if for the past six months I have been folding, bending, and working against every instinct I have to somehow force myself into a two dimensional version of myself.
I don’t blame you reader because you will remember that I am a person — a breathing person who worries and is bad at things, who is vain, loves shopping and small trivial things, is selfish and is trying all the time to be good enough for my friends, family, and the opportunities I’ve been granted — behind that application. I hope.
I have hidden behind pseudo-confidence and humor the fact that I am terrified of not being as good as I think I am, that my secret fear, that everyone lies to me when they say I’m good at something to spare my feelings, will be true.
I am terrified to have my future rest in the hands of someone else, because it rests in your hands. I’m scared that what you see on those applications is not the best me because I couldn’t get the right words out.
If I’m completely honest with you, reader, applying to college has made me feel like crap. Everyone else seems to have things figured out, they’re writing easy but I can’t remember how it was to breath without feeling like an anvil is sitting on my chest, without typing triple letters because my hands are shaking so badly.
I don’t know what I want and I don’t know what you and the college you represent want, but I just pray that I am what you want.
I hope that my sleepless nights, my years of homework, my work, my words, my bending and near breaking, my near misses, my wins, my losses, all my books, my stories, my short mostly un-lived life is enough for you, even if you don’t get to see all that in my edited, word pinched application.
Here are ten ways to cope with your impending doom!
1.) Dig a hole. I mean, a really deep hole. Once you have dug said hole, lay in it. I’m not telling you to die there or anything, that’s entirely optional. If you need some motivation, think about your math final, and how you have literally never taken any notes at all.
(Click here for more info. on digging a proper grave.)
2.) Scream really, really loudly. Freak out your neighbors. Go ahead. You know you hate them. Do you even know their names? Of course not.
3.) Lay on the floor for a little bit and relive every embarrassing thing you’ve ever done. Come on. You know you want to. (At least more than you want to worry about finals.)
4.) Take a shower and maybe lay on the floor for a little bit. Might as well.
5.) Draw a chalk box on the concrete and sit in it. Everything around you is lava, except what’s inside that box. Don’t believe me? Your finals are located outside of that box.
6.) Get in a fight with someone who cares about you. It will 100% take away all focus from your finals. Unless you are really underprepared, like yours truly, in which case there is no hope.
7.) Go for a run. Plan to run to the nearby Starbucks. Run further. Run too far. Run way too far. Let the sun set, go somewhere creepy, and wait to be kidnapped. Foolproof. You think being kidnapped is too scary? FINALS.
8.) Do you have any allergies? Now is the time to thank whatever forces blessed you with them. Allergic to cats? Go lick one. Hug it. Rub it on your face. Peanut butter? Really dig into a nice jar of Jif and thank me later.
9.) Find a trustworthy friend, and kindly ask them to push you down some stairs. If they are skeptical, here is a note from a trustworthy source (me) on why this is a good idea:
Dear friend, don’t hold back. It’s for their own good. Don’t believe me? Check their notes. Yes, that is a sketch of Justin Bieber pre-Gomez. No, there are no notes on the Aeneid in there. Keep looking, I promise.