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Attacking Application Anxiety

I’m sure I am not the only student at CB who answers the question “So where do you want to go to college?” with any college that comes to mind at that moment. Once I actually started senior year, my curiosity and anxiety took flight on the matter of college, and I wondered if anyone […]

I’m sure I am not the only student at CB who answers the question “So where do you want to go to college?” with any college that comes to mind at that moment. Once I actually started senior year, my curiosity and anxiety took flight on the matter of college, and I wondered if anyone else was feeling the pressure of actually making decisions when it comes to my future education. 

At the end of our junior year, the Class of 2023 was greeted by CB college counselors Mr. Kirk Purdy, Ms. Melisa McClellan, and Mrs. April Melarkey. We were very clearly told what would need to happen not only over summer but also at the beginning of our senior year in order to start our college application process, adding on a lot of stress to our final year of high school. Students were instructed to start drafting college essays over summer, make a list of our accomplishments from past high school years, and create a list of colleges we were thinking about applying to. 

As 15-17 year olds, there was a lot to unpack from that hour and a half conversation: Where do I actually want to go to school? Could I even get into this college? What if I’m not good enough to go here?

We had to start thinking like true adults even though some of us had just barely gotten our licenses that year. Many of us struggled to cope with this idea of starting a new chapter in our lives and growing up. 

Seeing the physical stress many students face during such a time, Ms. McClellan and the counseling center at CB is always working to help us students navigate our way through this demanding process. “ It can seem ridiculous, and it is, overwhelming if you wait until two weeks before a deadline to try and get something done,” the CB College Counselor says. “But if you kind of slowly plug away and do a little bit everyday, it’s definitely a manageable task.” 

Ms. McClellan harps on not procrastinating on college homework assigned to the senior class “…so they don’t see this scary thing out there, the college applications, but they have small goals that are easier to obtain.” 

The goal of college counselors is never to cause you so much stress that you inevitably break down and hit a wall. They are here to help us through this terrifying, subjective process in our lives. We should embrace these fears in order to help us come to terms with leaving the nest that is CB. 

From the perspective of a student athlete, there is a whole different level of pressure when it comes to college. People ask about where you want to go to school as well as if you are committed to a college to play your sport. Personally, this new aspect and level of stress really hindered my performance in soccer. I have been playing for almost 14 years, and I have never been harder on myself than my sophomore and junior years when I was constantly comparing myself to players who were committed to D-I schools to play or players who maintained a 4.0 GPA while playing in the high school season at CB. The whole recruiting process was a huge mind game for me. 

For many athletes, not just soccer players, college is an entirely different animal physically and academically. Many of us feel pressure to be constantly perfect in our performance, but when mistakes are made, all hell breaks loose. Put this strain on top of balancing an essay due at midnight for an AP class and an absolute beast of emotions is unleashed. 

Someone who knows this feeling all too well at CB is soccer player Lily Jensen (‘23). Lily is a bright young athlete who, similarly to me, has played sports for a large majority of her life. “I basically just do homework when I get home from school, then I go to soccer practice, do more homework after practice, and then I’ll study for the remainder of my time,” Lily says.

With this grinding schedule, it is not always easy to take time for own mental health and well-being. But confiding in loved ones has always been helpful.  “I’ll talk to my friends about it,” Lily says. “Most of them are student athletes, so they kind of relate and are in a lot of my classes too, so it’s nice to talk to them about classes and sports.”

In student athlete cases like Lily, finding balance is the key to success as well as trying to make the most of class time to work on assignment and utilizing any tools at hand to help with studying. 

Remember to take time for yourself. This process is not supposed to be easy, but keep in mind that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to your academics. Don’t compare yourself to the person in the desk next to you who has already submitted 10 applications or to the student athlete who has received three offers already this year for their sport. Focus on your time here at CB, and yes, you will most likely have to face a college discussion at some point this year, but it does not need to be a dreadful experience. 

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