“Strong people don’t put others down… They lift them up.”
– Michael P. Watson
As a senior, I have the wonderful privilege of stressing 24/7 about my college applications. I get to constantly worry about what the decisions will be when they come out in March. I get to doubt my life as I try my hardest to make it sound interesting and as if I’ve done a lot in my 17 years of existence when I write my college essays. But honestly, the worst part about this time, has been the people.
You’d think that since pretty much almost every other person in the senior class is going through the same stressful, time draining process, that they’d be more understanding and supportive during this time.
Yeah, that hasn’t been the case.
I’m not saying that every single senior has been unsupportive, rude, and condescending during this college process, but there are a good amount of seniors who are like that – enough for me to write this advice article.
The college application process is extremely tiring, not just physically but also emotionally and mentally. You’re being told one thing by one person and the complete opposite by another. You’re filled with the worry of, “oh my god have I done enough in my four years?”. And for many of us, you’re filled with extreme pressure from your family, whether that be your parents, relatives, aunts, uncles, grandparents. So there shouldn’t be a reason for you to feel put down and pressured by someone going through this exact same process.
I used to have no problem telling people where I was applying to college. It wasn’t as if I was applying to any Ivy Leagues, Stanford, or what is considered “the top tier schools” so it truly didn’t matter to me if people knew what schools I was looking at because I figured it was out of sheer curiosity and maybe we could bond over how terrible a college has made their process is because we’re both applying to the same one. Looking back, I see how naive I was.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to say that you should tell no one about where you’re applying to college. Obviously your parents have the right to know because they’re most likely the ones who are paying for the application fees and the college tuition fees. But beyond your parents, I’ve learned that if you’re going to tell other people where you’re applying to college, keep it to your closest friends, the people you know won’t go around and blab to everyone about what your college list is and what majors you’re looking at for those colleges. Tell the people you trust the most and leave it at that. Don’t feel a need to let everyone who asks you, “so what colleges are you applying to?”, know what your list is. Because quite honestly, it’s none of their business and if they get upset then that’s their issue because why does your college list affect their life?
Ever since the college application process started, people have been very secretive, shady, and honestly, a little two faced about college lists and their decisions regarding how to apply, where to apply, when to apply. It seems as though everyone has an opinion about something even when they should not be worrying about anyone but themselves and their own process they’re going through.
I’ve been told stories by close friends of mine about things that have been said to them from peers and adults and it has appalled me to think that a human being registered that thought in their mind and decided, “yeah that’s a nice and appropriate thing to say to someone”.
I, myself, have been told rude, condescending things by my peers regarding the college application process. Do I wish that those things weren’t said to me? Yes, of course. But at the same time, it’s allowed me to realize that I need to be more careful about what I say to people regarding my personal life and my future. And this doesn’t have to be applied only to the college application process, it can be applied to any situation in life.
No one should feel pressured into telling everyone about their life if they don’t want to. And no one should pressure you into doing so.
You are in charge of your own life. Don’t let it become dictated by outside noises.
Everyone is going through a difficult time and difficult times can very easily change people’s moods, attitudes, sensitivity levels, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to be a mean person. You might be going through a hard time but so is everyone else.
We all have bad days, we’re human, it’s inevitable, but we can’t use that as a get out of jail free card every time we say something we shouldn’t have said or pressured someone into telling others their future path.
As seniors who are all in the same boat we need to support one another and love each other and be kind to everyone. Why are we putting each other down when we really should be lifting each other up and helping each other out? We know how stressful this time is, so why can’t we bond over that and tell one another how great their life will turn out, even if it deviates from the path they thought it would take?
Kindness can go an extremely long way. Just the words, “I’m here for you”, can make a person’s entire day, especially when all they’ve been hearing is, “so what colleges are you applying to?”, “have you sent in your applications yet?”, “I don’t think that college would be the best fit for you”.
We need to help each other out, not tear each other down.
It’s important that we are kind to each other, especially during this time. We don’t know anyone’s story or their life so we shouldn’t be taking out our stress and anger on other people. Let’s focus on our own lives and our own choices, instead of stressing out about other people’s futures and lives. Let’s realize that we need to be kinder to each other.
If there’s anything more important than choosing our future, it’s choosing kindness.
Choose kindness. It’s the best, most important decision you’ll ever make in your life.