By Casey Tokeshi
Senior year has kicked off and we, the graduating class of 2016, have survived the first quarter. Although the final year of high school is known for notorious all day parties and slacking off, college applications have dawned on us. However, unlike the Instagrams of seniors before us that convinced us of sunny days spent lounging by the poolside or exploring art museums, the college application process is actually hell. You don’t realize the enormity of the task until the UC deadline is due in a week and everyone around you has already confidently sent in their early decision apps to the Ivies. Frankly, I still have yet to comprehend what’s going on. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve filled out my name, my birth date, and my graduation date, but nothing much else. Colleges still need to be chosen; schools must be visited; essays have yet to be thrown onto a page. It’s essentially a growing nightmare. Let me explain.
1. Letters of Rec
Teachers are nice and friendly, but when it comes to asking for a letter of rec, they somehow become these big, fearsome people. Your life, and everything you’ve worked for, rests in their hands. Did you work hard enough in their class? Have you ever disappointed or offended them? Are you even worthy of their time? You openly give them the right to make or break your application, and, as someone who has successfully requested two letters, I can assuredly tell those of you who have yet to apply that the experience is uncanningly nerve-racking.
2. The Deadline
The countdown is set the minute the bell that marks the end of junior year rings. Although applications generally open in August, the descending numbers loom over you from every summer slushie you slurp to every lazy nap at noon. As a naive incoming senior, I thought I’d finish well before even the school year began. Seeing as my first deadline is a week away, I was severely wrong. So, just a warning to the youths of the future: however far away the deadline seems, it comes quickly and, ironically, unexpectedly.
3. Your Social Security Number
This conglomeration of numbers, on top of the quadratic formula, pythagorean theorem, and every other formula we learn in school, is a need-to-know for the rest of your life. It’s said that if someone else knows your SSN, he or she could steal your identity, so make sure you aren’t selling your soul to the wrong college. These nine numbers will assuredly come back and haunt you.
4. The Essays
No one actually realizes how much suffering these entail until it’s 3 am on a late-start Tuesday morning and you know you can’t push writing your essays off any longer. This is really the only area on your application where you can make up for your possibly unfortunate transcript or your not-so-impressive resume. Most applications ask for you to describe your world. Sadly, you can’t write about how warm your pillows get from your laptop when you’ve been binge-watching for six hours.
All in all, college apps are horrible. We grate our palms into our foreheads and wring our pens dry of ink as we procrastinate, hoping everything will be okay at the end of that fated month of January. As a fellow senior, I can say with the little confidence and ambition I’ve managed to salvage over the months that the award will be well worth the suffering. Good luck to all of my classmates; may the odds be ever in our favor.
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