College Stress

December 15. That was the day where all my work and all my time would be worth it. The day where slogging through 12 years of classes and frivolous assignments paid off. The day where the uncertainty of life after high school became a little more certain. Ever since I sent in the application, my family and I had been eagerly awaiting the result, but I wouldn’t describe what I felt on the morning of December 15 as eager excitement.

I was more of a neurotic, anxious wreck.

The weeks prior to today, I had been inundated with questions from my friends at school 

like: “Do you think you’ll get in?”, “What are you gonna do if you don’t get in?”, “What if Jason gets in and you don’t?” These questions probably wouldn’t have helped my already fragile state of mind, so I elected to stay home for the day.

Big mistake.

I thought I would be able to sleep all my worries off and dream blissfully while the countdown to the decision ticks away. Instead, I spent two hours staring at my bedroom ceiling thinking of every worst-case what-if scenario. The acceptance rate for selective schools goes way down for regular decision compared to early decision was a statistic that popped into my head a lot. Then the immediate thought I had after was that there was a chance I’d have to go to community college. Now obviously going to community college isn’t the end of the world and plenty of people have succeeded after attending one, but my completely irrational state of mind thought that meant I was destined to be homeless my whole life. Also I had gotten several accepted decisions back from my early action schools, but that was a fact I had apparently decided to forget that day.

My brain was turning into mush from worrying so much, so I decided to return to school for basketball practice. I reasoned that it’s two hours of athletic distraction and by the time I returned home and showered, it would be 6:00 and the decision email would already be in my inbox.

Mistake #2.

For some reason I’ll never know, my coach decided to spend the whole two hours going over plays and talking about “the hidden secrets of basketball” and all that malarkey, for lack of a better word. And since our whole basketball team are such dedicated athletes with a great passion for the sport, they naturally ignored whatever the coach had to say to harass me and Jason, a teammate that also applied early decision to the same college. This was even more uncomfortable for me, since Jason was a good friend and I felt that us getting pitted against each other for the last months didn’t really go a long way for our relationship. But it’s not like I was gonna explain any of that to anyone so I just kinda stood there blankly hoping the brain wouldn’t explode from stress. Even in the ten minutes where we were allowed to go and actually play basketball, I bricked every shot like I was Shaq shooting free throws. 

So leaving basketball practice, my morale was extremely low. The day had gone so horribly bad that my rejection seemed like a foregone conclusion. The three minutes between getting out of the shower and reading my decisions seemed like an hour, and my anxiety wasn’t helped by basically every one of my friends texting me wondering the outcome.

It was now or never. I opened the email and read the header of the message.

“Congratulations and welcome to the Class of 2024…”

I am not going to go through the trouble of describing how I immediately reacted to this news, but there was a lot of happy screaming and multiple expletives involved, to my parents’ simultaneous excitement and chagrin. And not that I think anyone cares, but I slept like a baby that night.

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