Photo by Abigail Nevin '23
For the entirety of high school, getting into college is a goal that many students focus on. As they flood their schedules with AP courses and check with friends to see what classes they’re taking, the pressure created is almost unbearable.
The competitive environment between friends in school is what seems to put the most pressure on young teens, especially underclassmen, who are just beginning to learn about the college process. The constant need to achieve the highest grades is detrimental to the mental wellbeing of underclassmen, as there is still time to consider and grow as young adults.
Although I am a sophomore now, I find myself worrying about the grades that I receive every quarter to make sure that my GPA is high enough to be eligible for schools that I strive to apply to. With the constant fear that I will not be good enough to be accepted into the colleges of my choice, I realize that the goal of constantly being perfect in every subject area is unattainable.
I also believe that the competitive environment at Staples adds to the pressure of getting into a great school. It seems that everyone is getting into their dream schools, and it is hard to feel good enough when peers are comparing their test scores or course loads with one another. However, guidance counselors and teachers at Staples help with this, as they try their best to help students to cope with stress. Teachers do this by helping students build a schedule that seems to fit best with the individual’s life, inside and outside of school.
I was once asked by a friend at the beginning of my freshman year what colleges I would want to attend, and what I would major in. As soon as she asked me this question, I was overwhelmed with anxiety.
I really knew nothing about college at the time, since I had only just turned 14. She had started listing the schools that she wanted to apply to, and even if she wanted to join a sorority. I wondered if I was wrong for not knowing where I would want to go, or not already having a list of subjects I would be willing to master.
From that moment on, I have continued to think about what my friend had asked me. As everyone around me already seems so far ahead in what they plan to do, I feel backtracked.
Yet even though I have been stressed about colleges and doing well in high school, I make sure to remind myself that there is more time. The rush of the modern world can be stressful, and you will get to where you need to be through hard work and patience.