I’m Afraid! By Matilda Spadoni


With a new year, comes the wave of impending responsibilities. Important dates and milestones. This year, I turn 18. This year, I apply to college. This year I could get in to college. Or I could get rejected. This blows my mind. Things I have thought of as the end all be all, are fast approaching, and there is not much I can do about it.

Recently, the Instagram algorithm has been showing me college admittance prediction videos. Essentially, students submit their test statistics, GPA, extracurricular activities, legacies, etc, along with the schools they applied to, to some random guy . He then predicts whether or not they will get into those schools. A part two is usually posted with the students actual admission results.

Predictably, these videos send me down the “I’m not good enough” spiral.

I consider myself to be a strong student. I am proud of my grades. I participate in sports and have been long committed to multiple school extracurriculars. But I’ve never started a business that makes 5K a month, I am not a varsity athlete, or a captain. I didn’t win the Debate National Competition, and I’m not fluent in any other languages. My practice ACT tests come back far from perfect, and my goal of a 33 is looking pretty far away.

I know I will get into college, and I can be happy and find success wherever I end up. But there is something scary and final in not going to the college I’ve dreamed about since I was ten years old. The college that has held a place in the back of my head even when I convinced myself I didn’t want to go, or that I wasn’t going to get in.

With upcoming college tours, I almost want to find a couple new dream schools. Places with new possibilities, and places I can see myself excelling. I have been going on college tours since I was ten years old. My now 24 and 21 year old sisters toured everywhere, and dragged me along in the process. In these young formative years I found myself already creating biases about where I wanted to go. It was these years I walked the campuses pretending I was a prospective student, wondering if I could “really see myself here”. My parents were always in the background reminding me that this will one day be me, but that felt eons away. In these eons, It became a past time to look up the acceptance rates of every prestigious college I could think of and ogle at the low low percentages. I loved clicking on the admission pages and learning everything I could, hovering over the financial aid calculator button, and reading every single one of the majors and minors, deciding what my fate would be.

Now that this is the year I apply to schools, I should probably revisit those admission pages. I should probably click on that financial aid calculator and read every one of the majors and minors.

The end all be all has arrived! And it is super freaking scary.

I hope that by the end of 2023 I will know where I’m going to college, but I can only imagine where this year is going to take me.

8 thoughts on “I’m Afraid! By Matilda Spadoni

  1. As someone who has applied and gotten into schools already, don’t worry too much! It’s really easy to fall into the “I’m not good enough” mindset, especially after getting rejected. But based on what you said in this blog about grades and extracurriculars, you’ll have no problem getting into a school you’re excited about 🙂

  2. What El said. Also, here is a book recommendation that was shared with me when we (as parents) were at the beginning of this college application process: “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania,” by New York Times columnist Frank Bruni. Seriously, check it out. Being afraid is not a position anyone wants to be in!

  3. Tilly, I swear I can pinpoint the exact phase of life you’re entering and the feeling of it all of a sudden being real. I know it’s cliche, but I assure you that you will change so much about what you want by this time next year. Even by this fall, you’ll feel so much different and more comfortable with your decisions. My dream school until the summer was John’s Hopkins and then I toured Northwestern and I was sure I would apply ED there. Then, I found Penn through friends and it made me question everything I thought I loved about NU. My recommendation is to write everything down because it will help you be able to see your thinking and justify every choice. My other recommendation is to welcome changes in what you want, like a change in major or location of a school. My decision to be a history major instead of communications was the key factor as to why I ended up at Penn rather than NU and I had no idea when I was in your shoes. I wish you all the excitement and happiness that comes with finding yourself in these kinds of ways throughout the college process!

  4. I know you, and I know that everything is gonna be perfectly OK no matter where you end up. I pinky promise!! I feel everything you said, especially reading through all of the majors and minors… I don’t have any idea why I love going to random school’s websites and deciding on a major even though I will never even apply there…

  5. Tilly you’ve got this! I promise it’s not as scary as it seems. By the time you’re ready to apply to college you’ve already finished the hardest part–all of the academic and extracurricular work from the rest of high school.

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