IMPORTANT: IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED! Remain Calm During College Application Season!


Emily Moore

A typical Senior’s desk

Emily Moore, Managing Editor

Editor’s Note: Thoughts expressed in Karns Chronicle opinion columns do not necessarily represent the opinions or beliefs of  Karns High School or Knox County Schools.

I hate checking my email. Every time I open it, it is full of capitalized letters, exclamation marks, condemning subject lines. I feel like every corporation, college, and counselor in existence thinks that I am not aware of the dwindling time I have to apply for schools and scholarships and financial aid, as if this very urgent message they sent right now is the very first one they’ve ever sent me, and it is imperative that I do something about it.

Sometimes they are helpful. Sometimes I just want to throw away my entire computer.

It’s not to say that teenagers don’t want to go to college. We want to go to college so bad that we take hard classes, extra hard classes, classes early in the morning, classes later in the evening. We want to go to college so bad that we become insomniacs studying for standardized tests. We want to go to college so bad that every time one emails us, our stomachs tie themselves into knots; when we open up that application, each blank box that we must fill in is ten points off of our confidence. We blanch at the thought of having to put our entire person into those boxes, because we have filed all of that information in the folders of our brains under “Not Good Enough.”  

It’s easy to see how this pressure can overwhelm an adolescent. From the very beginning of our educational career, it has been instilled in us, by the adults in our lives, that we must go to college. When someone else’s wants and goals follow you around like a shadow, you start becoming synonymous with that shadow, whether you like it or not. You think that you can parade around with this disguise on, pretend to be someone that you are not indefinitely. It is easy those first few years, but then, when decision time rolls around in your senior year, you start sweating. You start constructing horrible fantasies of everything that will happen when your true self is finally unmasked: the grimacing look of your father, the tears of your mother, the disapproving scowls of your grandparents. They wanted so much for you, and look at what you’ve done! You’ve gone and wasted everything they’ve given you!

It’s not that we don’t want to go. We just don’t want to disappoint. 

It is so easy to fall into that self-deprecating hole, to say that you aren’t good enough and that you will never get there no matter what you do or how you do it. You want to listen to the advice of the people around you, but you also want to do things for yourself. You don’t want to disappoint; you want everything to be perfect. You know that nothing can ever be perfect, and that is exactly why you strive for perfection. So, when you are met with less than perfection, you act as if the world has ended, like your life itself has ended. 

In this world full of pressures and ridiculous desire for perfection, there are a few key things that you must remember:

  1. You are enough. Whatever it is that you want, whatever it is that you are good at, it is enough. It doesn’t matter what your parents want, it doesn’t matter what the other adults in your life want. It only matters what you want.
  2. You absolutely can achieve those things that you want. It will take a lot of strenuous, hard work, but you can achieve it.
  3. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to go about planning for your future. The only way is your way.

So, the next time you catch an email from some random college wanting you to apply, open it. Read it. Smile to yourself. Throw it in the garbage. Go about your life. Remember: you, plain old you, are enough.