When people learn I’ve applied to college during my time here in Ecuador the responses I usually receive are a mix of a painful grunt and an apology. This type of response has time and time again left me confused. Most people I’ve spoken with, current college students or current Global Citizen Year Fellows, associate the college application process as a time of pain and stress. Painful hours writing and re-writing essays to fit word counts and stressing over interviews. I, however, cannot relate to these feelings.
Yes, the college application process has been a long process and I indeed spent hours working on essays and worrying about interviews. But, I have found myself happy and smiling during this process way more than fretting and biting at my nails. For me the college application process hasn’t just been a time to try and sum myself up into 650 words or less. For me the college application process has been a time to reflect on everything that I loved about high school and imagine the fantastic future that will be my higher-education experience.
The college application process signifies a turning point in my life and, as a first generation and low-income student, a big one. I know that no matter what institution I end up going to I will take full advantage of the opportunities and resources available to create the higher-education experience that I want.
I will often leave my comfort zone, academically, socially, and in ways I’m sure I can’t even imagine right now. This excites me. I will meet people and make friends with vastly different perspectives and backgrounds than my own. This excites me. I will be able to further explore current passions and discover new ones. This excites me. I will be able to focus on what I want to study, not what the state has decided I should study. This excites me. I will face countless unknowns and challenges. This excites me.
The college application process signifies a turning point in my life because I’ll once again be taking my education, and future, into my own hands rather than settling for someone else’s premade path.
So, for me the college application process has not been one associated with pain and stress but a time of excitement. I look forward to, not dread, notification day and the future.