Unknown Territory

by Stella Traphagen, Sports Editor

All throughout high school, we handled deadlines on deadlines. It consumed us…checking our Schoology calendars, making sure assignments were due at 11:59 PM and not the morning of. Here we are now and the biggest deadline of our lives creeped up on us: May 1, college decision day.

College always seemed so far away; so far out of reach. Now, here we are and I cannot fathom it. Committing to a college is one of the most serious decisions some of us have had to make. We’ve been working towards this moment since the day we entered high school and it all comes down to one single day. Though it’s aggravating, it’s also exhilarating—the idea of starting fresh and figuring things out on our own.

As each acceptance, deferral and rejection poured into my mailbox—it only made me more indecisive and unsure. Because now it was real, it wasn’t just an idea– the ball was in my court.

Many have committed long ago, some have found their potential roommates, few are all set to go. While others are nearing the deadline, running out of time to make a decision. For us overthinkers, this is quite the task; it preoccupies my brain unwillingly.

It’s like a clock, ticking in my brain every minute of every day. Was this the right choice? Will I be happy there? Does it have all that I might be looking for?

Scrolling through Instagram seeing more posts of people committing every day was bothersome, if I’m being honest. Although I was thrilled for my fellow classmates; I envied them. They knew exactly where they were going to spend “the best years of their lives” so much earlier.

For those just starting the application process, as you might infer, avoid procrastinating early on because it will save you later on when everyone else is jamming to finish things last minute. You will be better off if you make a checklist now and sit down with a college counselor to get ahead.

When people who’ve experienced this tell you it’s a lot of work, they mean it. The essays, the Common App questionnaires, building a resume, etc. takes time, sweat and maybe even tears. Especially with how competitive the applicant pool has been this year, every letter consisted of “this is a record breaking number of applicants…” which led to many more waitlists/rejections than previous years.

Going into this whole process, I had such high expectations and hopes. I thought the world would be my oyster and I’d have so many great options to choose from. Here’s the thing, there is a major gap between when you apply and when you hear back. During the waiting period, you can completely regret or wish you applied to more places, or even complete different ones.

It is very difficult to narrow down on a single school. The only way to do it…and I mean the only way, is to physically go to the colleges and pick the one that you feel most at home.

Unfortunately, I can tell you first hand that when you do finally commit, the stress is still there. The question: “Is this the right decision for me” still lingers. The overwhelming feeling will probably stay until the day I get settled in my dorm room because the notion of exploring unknown territory will always be intimidating