Cares, concerns and writing college essays

‘Tis the summer between senior year. And that means it’s the summer before college applications. It’s no wonder that I’m inundated (SAT word) with a dearth (another SAT word) of well-meaning but ambiguous so ultimately useless advice. Especially when it comes to essays.

I recently was told to “Don’t listen to all the advice. Just write about whatever you care about, whatever concerns you”.  There’s some irony in there somewhere, but here it goes:

I care about feminism and am worried about what people think the statement means; somewhere in the past few decades public perception has insisted on changing the sentiment from “equal opportunity for both genders” to “women above all”.  I am concerned about the fact that my SAT scores are too low for me to get into the schools I want to, and that my leadership experience is too sparse. I care about the cookies I baked yesterday as part of my “American desserts” thing and I suspect my brother has been attacking them. Also, I am worried about the box of “unicorn snot” my brother won and gave me because no matter how pretty and sparkly it looks, there’s something disgusting about putting something labelled “snot” on your face. I am terrified that I do not have a shred of originality in me and that my college essays are overly structured and formulatic. I dislike not being brave enough to write the quirky college essays I wanted to. I worry that I’m taking a math class that’s not “tough enough”. I have no idea why I am taking 7 classes next year; I have enough to do next year and I really only need 2.5 classes to graduate. I am worried abut the fact that I don’t understand 10% of whatever’s going on in my internship (and I have a niggling feeling that the 10% is the most important part). I am worried that my parents can’t pay for my college without either taking out something from their retirement fund or my brother’s college fund; I know they’re not going to take out loans. I hate the fact that when I go back to read all this, it all seems petty and selfish.

I doubt that colleges want to see that chaotic expulsion of thoughts. They want a propaganda- worthy piece, with all the disarray and doubts censored out. When they say they want something that shows I’m human, I’m afraid they mean “Super-human”. I’ve been to 10 different schools, lived in two different countries with a dysfunctional family and survived one dangerous disease. I should have more things to write about than the average person. In a way, it makes it worse because I expect myself to have amazing essays that will knock the socks off admission officers.

Well, now that I’ve committed my concerns to the paper and the very scary internet world, I can actually go write something halfway decent. I’m stressing out and I know I’m stressing out. But I know if I don’t do stuff this summer, I won’t have time to do it later either. Wish me luck.

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