Last year, every senior I knew told me not to worry: once I hit second semester of senior year, everything was going to be fine. No worries, no stress, just fun. This was, quite possibly, the least correct statement I’ve ever been told.
I haven’t been as stressed as I am now since last June. Sure, college applications sucked, but I’m pretty sure a single essay that’s worth 70% of my quarter grade, a new project every week, and three tests a day every other week suck way more. Not only do academics suck, but there’s this mounting pressure to make memories with your friends before you all move away to different parts of the country, and scheduling with teens who don’t care anymore is stressful. Flakiness levels have never been higher and no amount of cute pictures can cover up the fact that this time next year, you won’t be talking regularly.
Even when you do everything, it never feels like enough, because once college applications are out of your life, they leave this vacuum. It constantly feels like you have work you’re ignoring because you no longer have that constant pressure on your back. It doesn’t feel like a relief to be done with the process; it feels like you’re being tricked into thinking you’re done.
Even when you’ve done everything, even once you’ve submitted a deposit, you still can’t relax. What if your admission is rescinded? It’s not like you have less work; if anything, there’s way more. Your heart is off at whatever college you’ve chosen, but your body is expected to fill out another review guide for an AP class you only took because you wanted to get accepted somewhere. The work keeps piling up, but the motivation left as soon as you got to eat the carrot at the end of the stick.
And once you’ve gotten into college, there’s a whole new category of stressors. How do you choose a roomate and make new friends while maintaining old friendships whose expiration dates are ticking closer and closer? You have to plan dorm decor while sitting in a room that you designed when you were six. The prospect of being able to study your passions dangles tantalizingly close, but you have to fight through your graduation requirements to get there.
All together, second semester feels like I’m taking a step up a staircase, only to find the next step isn’t there yet. I keep stumbling, trying to make it, but I can’t. Not for 4 more months. Until then, I’ll keep falling over myself trying to make it there I guess. This isn’t easier, as promised; it’s painful, and I can’t wait to be done with it.