The Trials and Tribulations of College Culture

Carmen Miskel, Graphic Design Editor

The temperature’s dropping, the leaves are changing, Starbucks has rolled out its expansive array of cinnamon-flavored beverages, and I haven’t shaved my legs in three weeks. While the majority of the United States refers to this season as “Fall,” I fondly use the term “College Application Season” (or Hell, for short). 


As per the culture, I am applying to multiple schools that are sub 10% acceptance. True, I am not applying to 16 schools, unlike some of my peers. What can I say? I failed to utilize every second of my summer writing college supplementals, and suddenly, I am now falling behind the pack. 


I work hard. I am part of a nice array of clubs and activities and organizations, and I take AP classes, and I study for those classes, and I have a low-level job, and last year, there was a period of time where I was only getting five hours of sleep. Pretty impressive, right? I hope that makes you jealous. I worked so hard that I only got five hours of sleep. 


Speaking of clubs, there’s no point in contributing unless you can squeeze an officer position out of it. Furthermore, it has to be on brand, because colleges prefer students who know exactly what they want to do career-wise, and have the next 40 years of their life planned out. I have apparently made the fatal mistake of doing a hodgepodge of activities, meaning that I am undesirable as an applicant. 


Obviously, college must always be a top priority in this climate, and you should keep that in mind. There is nothing more charming than being told in an introductory meeting of a club that x-amount of officer positions will be available at the end of the year, so keep your attendance up! Do not dare join activities that you are simply interested in… 


I love Lunch and Learn. It is a whole hour in the middle of the day, allowing for clubs to meet, and students to see teachers for questions and extra help. It is split into Learn 1 and Learn 2, meaning that you could go to a club L1, and then see a teacher L2. Or a teacher L1, and a club L2. Or two teachers. Or two clubs. What a fantastic way to be productive! And, as a bonus, if you are desperately, ravenously, mind-numbingly hungry, you might just even be able to sneak in lunch while walking from one classroom to another. 


There are two modes that I personally find myself falling into. The first mode is overtly busy mode. Picture a bucket of water filled to the brim, and suddenly a second, smaller bucket of water is poured in, and it is your job to make sure that none of the water dares to spill out. The second mode (and this is my preferred mode) is guilt relaxing. They are the moments in time where you are NOT overwhelmed with work, and feel yourself immediately slipping behind, due to the fact that you are not utilizing your time to the best of your ability. 


Which is your go-to mode? 


We go to Harriton High School, representing one of the richest zip codes in the country. Yet, I am so extraordinarily stressed. If I don’t get into one of my top schools, I may fall into a state of permanent paralysis. I will be letting my highly educated parents, my top-tier teachers, and this overwhelmingly resource-equipped school system down! 


How could I, a girl, who has poured her heart and soul into academics for the majority of her life insofar, accept such a blatant rejection? What a waste of 17 years worth of her family’s money. What a waste of 17 years of her life! How will I bear to show my face on @harriton.commits without slogs of shame pouring out of the post? Ah, the trials and tribulations of college culture!

Also, mental health is important.