Senior navigates through college application season

October 23, 2016 — by Caitlin Ju

Senior talks about college application process. 

My vital coffee mug in hand, I stared blankly at the computer screen, hoping that the empty Word document would offer some sentiment of support.

Dazed by my fifth endeavour to talk creatively about myself, I could not muster any part of my inner wordsmith. In this infamous college application season awaits a workload with more nerve-racking responsibilities than the piles of homework I faced junior year.

Above all, my art supplemental portfolio has consumed any extra time that I could have used to work on essays. Though not required by any of my schools and unrelated to my major, I wanted a way to showcase my art.

Since I do not take art classes in school and only began my portfolio last year, I have had to dedicate most of my free hours to my art but always immediately felt guilty whenever I glanced at my blank essay files. Since each art piece takes me approximately 20 to 30 hours, it certainly does not help that, for some colleges, having a supplemental art portfolio meant earlier deadlines.

Frankly, I had already become tired of talking about myself months ago when I applied to summer programs. Even though I love each college I am applying to, my eagerness often slides into annoyance, as my essays glorifying each college’s unique qualities begin to consume my late nights and weekends.

Before the summer even began, I created a schedule detailing the weeks leading up to each application deadline. I hung my calendar above my computer, determined to follow the sharpied “submits” and “finishes.” Sadly, I began to lag behind my grand plan. Soon enough, I was giving myself more generous deadlines.

I grew increasingly frustrated, despite working on my essays throughout the summer. As fall arrived, I became wrapped up in my ever time-consuming tennis season, preventing me from pulling any late nights. To add on, I faced two to three additional essays, thanks to my applications to special programs.

The deadlines loom in the back of my mind. Nowadays, my conversations are filled with college application-induced anxiety and the same questions — do we really have to mail those University of Texas at Austin applications? How can I tell if my teachers have submitted their recommendations? Still, having chosen not to hire a private college counselor, I am comforted that my personal deadlines and choices are my own.

As much as my 44 supplemental essays and art portfolio pain me at times, I imagine all the past years I have spent wishing to be where I am now. My coffee mug trembling in my hand, I stare back at the PDF file of my filled Word document, my heart uncontrollably pounding as I hover my mouse over the tiny white rectangle button — submit.


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