You make the choices, I’ll fill out the college apps

October 8, 2008 — by Melody Zhang

Yes, I’m a senior now. Yes, I’ve finally joined the ranks of the college application victims—those whom I have mocked from afar for three years. Yes, I too suffer from extreme procrastination.

But my one biggest problems is an unusually bad case of indecisiveness. I suppose that’s why my parents have initiated an intervention to prevent a looming teen-life crisis and have taken it upon themselves to determine my future.

Just like any other concerned parents worrying over this crucial point in their child’s life, my parents have been bombarding me with “gentle reminders” about starting my applications since the end of junior year. Being the oldest child leaves me no prior examples to follow, so my parents have turned to whatever resources they can get from school. Mainly, my mom has been a recruit of the College and Career Center since last year, acting as my secret spy within the center of college advice.

When all this started, I wasn’t a bit worried by the constant nagging. Applications were still months away. Lately, however, I can tell that it’s time to start the process, mainly from my mom’s sudden torrent of advice, ranging from the useful to the absurd. To my exasperation, she went through a strange month-long phase when she would come home with a different major and career choice in mind for me every day. These ranged from factory inspection to paralegal to hotel management to nursing. My dad, of course, his input on my future: doctor, lawyer, CEO or engineer.

These “options,” however, have no longer become options. Just recently, my parents sat down with me many times to discuss my future. They told me what they wanted. I told them what I didn’t want—after all, I still don’t know what I do want. But it’s finally been decided. I’m going to double major in applied mathematics and economics and learn international business on the side.

I’m still a little unclear how we exactly came to this conclusion, but all I know is that I’m just glad we’re not staying put with their original decision: information sciences…whatever that is.

I mean, I can see how these areas of study are easily applicable to a variety of high-paying jobs (my parents’ ultimate goal), but I can’t imagine myself living a happy life calculating lifeless numbers or taking on the role of the professional businesswoman. It just doesn’t fit. But any dissent is immediately quashed by the “well, we’re the ones paying” argument.

Unfortunately, my parents weren’t completely satisfied with just making sure we reached a consensus on my major. After learning about Naviance, the oh-so-great online college process organizer, my mom made me show her what all the commotion was about. When she came upon the page listing all the colleges I wanted to apply to, she called my dad over, and they immediately began exploring the dreaded scattergram feature.

This consists of a GPA by SAT I score graph with individual data of all past SHS applicants to any specific college. I guess they never realized that the data was purely of Saratoga students, not of all applicants. Rather than using the graph as a guide, they used it as a restriction, almost completely basing my college choices from them.

So, once again, it’s been decided. I’m going to apply to only UCs and Ivies and nothing in between. Gee, thanks for supporting my hopes for non-Ivy schools on the East Coast.

I know I’m not alone in this. Due to the massive price-tags of private universities, my friend will only be applying to the UC system because her parents are not willing to foot such a large bill. I have another friend who is also trying to take back some control from his parents over his future—he wants to go into international relations, not medicine or engineering. The struggle sounds rather bleak for him.

In the meantime, I’ll see if I can sneak in a few applications to some more places I’m interested in without my parents noticing.

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