Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Senior Stress

It is a Sunday afternoon; my Dad has called me into the living room to go over three college applications. The first college is a safety net, the second is my personal favorite, and the third is the one that will give me the most financial aide (my Dad likes this one the most). I have tried to narrow it down to five, but just when I think I have got it all figured out I get another letter from a different college offering new and exciting things. Statements like: “You can personalize your own major” or “Set in a big city, the night life is fantastic” always get me thinking of how many colleges I still have no idea exist. 

            Many seniors throughout the Eldorado campus are going through the hair pulling, teeth grinding and nervous process of applying for college. Applying is not as simple as filling out a piece of paper with your personal information. Letters of recommendation, SAT and/or ACT scores, your transcript, counselor evaluation sheets and campus visits are all things that seniors stress over when it comes to the college application process.           

            The one factor that I have stressed over the most was my ACT scores. I took the test three times to get my desired score. The first try was just to test the waters, see what I could do. After that test I enrolled in an ACT prep class. As you can imagine, I was not at all satisfied with my score. After learning a few tricks and tips for the test, I began studying with the material I received from my class. The book they gave me was thick, and when I say thick I mean 2.5 inches of information on just one test. The second time was better, but I did not reach my goal. Finally the third time I got the exact score I wanted. I was extremely relieved to be done and over with the ACT. Not only is the ACT a long test, but every time I finished it I felt so exhausted, mentally and physically. Do not ask why I felt physically drained. The causes behind the side effects from taking the ACT are unknown to me.

            Another commodity to take into consideration when looking at colleges is the social life. What kind of city is the college set in?  Is it located in a small rural town, or a large urban city with lights and tall buildings? I imagine that a college in a small town will not have much for me to do on the weekends. I mean let us be realistic here, I want to go out and explore. I want to see local bands, go out on the town with my friends and visit different festivals. I do not want to be cooped up in my dorm room reading ahead of my class-although I know that would benefit my studies, it is just not me.

            I have come to find out that private colleges give much more money in financial aide. This is definitely a plus for me, for I do not want my parents to have to pay 30,000 dollars in tuition and fees each year that I am at college. This is where the debate between public colleges and private colleges comes into play. I want a school that I will not get lost in by the 300 students in my English class. I want my professor to know my name and recognize my face. That is what a private school can offer. On the other hand I want to be somewhat close to my family, and the only schools that qualify, by my standards, are the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University. These colleges are in fact both fine institutions but they are on the bottom of my list. I have lived in New Mexico for six years, now and I am ready for some new scenery.

            However, before I even think about the next four years I need to get done with high school. Making sure I have all the required credits to graduate is an extremely important thing to have my mind on. Over the summer I took Government online, and I just recently finished it. I had all summer to complete it, but it was the summer and I was excited about my senior year in high school. Either way I got it done, but the whole time I was doing it, it felt like such a weight was on my back. A little voice in my head was constantly reminding me that if I did not get this course done I would not graduate. Just thinking about that made me very scared.

            One side of me already has senioritis. I feel lazy and unmotivated to do school work or even go to school, but very excited to be done with high school and go on to college. Another side of me is terrified to death to move on. This side of me does not want to move away from home or leave high school at all. In a way it is like being an eighth grader all over again, afraid of high school but at the same time enthusiastic. However, this time I face much bigger worries.