Putting Pen to Paper

It’s a Monday evening. The setting sun radiates through the window, illuminating a flock of slow dancing dust particles. The air is humid but cooler than it has been for the last three months. The sound of the ice cream truck off in the distance is calling. Even though we may refuse to admit it, summer is whirling down.

For many rising high school seniors, things are beginning to whirl up. Yet as excitement brews, anxiety is quick to follow as the college admissions process rolls around.

When I was a rising high school senior, the end of the summer was nerve-wracking. I remember scrolling through the Common Application for the first time in mid-August, and every blank box left me with a bit of unease. I just couldn’t comprehend how I could define myself in a series of five or six pages. I didn’t know where to start with the essay or how I was going to write a few others for each of the secondary applications.

So, I began with lists. I made lists of all of the things that were important to me at age seventeen and a half. I took my time sitting in the sun of mid August and thinking about the experiences, the people, and the small moments that made me smile. It took a full month before I put pen to paper. Looking back, it’s clear that my very first draft was absolutely nothing like what the final product turned out to be.

Much like your four years of high school, the college application process is a journey. It takes time to understand how to put you into a series of blank boxes. Those blank boxes are not filled in one sitting or one day – putting together your application is like solving a puzzle that ultimately looks like a piece of who you are. Consider each box on the application to be an opportunity.

What’s the best way to begin looking at all of these opportunities and empty boxes ahead? Well, that answer is simple. It starts with a scoop of ice cream.