By Jordan Cutler-Tietjen
By the time most students reach the middle of their junior year, they’re quite acquainted with the various stressors surrounding the college application process. Asking teachers for letters of recommendation, writing 650 words that have to encompass your entire being, and surviving the never-ending first semester senior nights are all agreed-upon subjects of worry.
But one thing I didn’t expect to be challenging were the college visits. Don’t believe me? Let me explain.
2) The Campus Tour
If only colleges were as immaculate as their tours make them out to be. You’ll see the cleanest dorm room, the fanciest dining hall, the shiniest athletic facility, but all less-than-pristine buildings are swept under the rug. Schools and their tour guides fall into two camps: the “I walk backwards so I can talk to you, but every conversation we have will be interrupted by you yelling at me to watch out for that fire hydrant” colleges, and the “I walk forwards because our school is forward-thinking, so you’ll never be able to hear what I say” colleges. Other lowlights include the tour guide mentioning how special the campus squirrels are, trying to decide if the people who rush to the front of the group to hold open the door are generous or just suck-ups, and avoiding eye contact with all of the actual college student on campus, who are definitely judging you for being in their way.
3) The Class Visit
Finally, a chance to experience the academic vitality of the college first-hand! Well, that might ring true if you get lucky and sit in on a discussion class, but you’ll more-than-likely end up in a lecture hall surrounded by bored students conspicuously texting while the professor drones on about market economies. Worse, you have to endure the awkwardness of introducing yourself to the professor per university rules, which inevitably means you end up in the front of the class with all eyes on you. Once, I was told it was fine for me to sit and enjoy the class, but then there ended up not being enough seats and I had to casually lean against the wall for 90 minutes. And that doesn’t even begin to address the inner debate you’ll have over whether or not to raise your hand and participate; even though you’ll never see these students again, embarrassing yourself by asking a stupid question seems like the worst thing ever in the heat of the moment.
4) The Overnight
These can actually be great--or so I’ve heard. But if you’re the least bit introverted, as I am, overnights are not opportunities so much as they are obstacles. You’ll make awkward conversation with your new ‘friend,’ reflexively agreeing to everything he/she says and doing whatever he/she suggests. Depending on a few factors (big school/small school, weekend/weeknight, etc.), you’ll either spend the whole night partying with people who intimidate you, or watching people study while pretending to do stuff on your phone.
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