Yes I know I am only a junior, but college stress has seemed to find its way on top of me. Now, my first thought in everything I do that is school related is “Will this put me in the best position for my college applications?” It is almost impossible to get off my mind the dread of being rejected by my first choice, I cannot even fathom it. I have been doing plenty of research on some of my first choice schools, but I have noticed that has just added to my stress level. I have also noticed how ridiculously competitive college is today, and the whole application process has just become a bragging contest of personal achievements. Even in high school, the only thing that matters is “what grade did I get,” the value of knowledge has almost been forgotten.
In 20 years, the grade you got in physics will not matter, what will be important is who you are as a person and how you used your learning to impact the real world. This is a hard pill to swallow, but most of the things you learn in high school will almost never be applicable later on in life, depending on your career. What will be important is how you grew as a person, how you overcame challenges, and how well you can make relationships with others; that is the true key to success. I try my best to use this mindset as I try to be the best person I can be everyday. I have also learned to underreact (Thanks Mr. Konopinski!) because life goes on and the past cannot be changed. Recently, I have been to a few college admission meetings and there was a common theme in all of them. Colleges want good people that have interesting lives, rather than try-hards that only go to school and live, for lack of better words, boring lives. I even heard a story of a valedictorian with a 4.6 GPA and a 1580 SAT that only cared about school, being rejected for a student with 4.3 GPA and a 1440 SAT who dedicated his high school career for helping others in and out of school. All in all, never compare yourself to the achievements of others, focus on your strengths and what you can do in the future.