Fear, trepidation, anticipation, anxiety, nervousness, unease, discomfort; there seems to be an unending list of words to describe the emotions flowing through the minds and bodies of seniors at this point in the year. Without having gone through it before, it’s hard to exactly imagine the high from the smell slowly rising out of the cauldron of insanity that is the college process. It’s an uneasy, potentially rewarding, and seemingly unending rush.
In general, the nature of students at Deerfield is that they like to be in control. I don’t necessarily mean “control freaks,” but they prefer to be able to direct and know about what is going on around them. The college process throws a wrench in that sentiment. From one end, you do control your fate: you find what you’re passionate about through your time here and pursue those courses of study assiduously and hope that it’s enough. From the other end, even if you work your butt off, there is no question that it’s a crapshoot and there is no such thing as a guarantee.
It’s an interesting seminal moment in an adolescent life. From the second you click submit until your eyes hit the word “acceptance,” things are more or less out of your hands. It proves to be a rather philosophical time. A time to reflect on your high school career, a time to reflect on everything you’ve done both good and bad, on all the friends you’ve made, and on everything about Deerfield you love and will miss. It’s a time to remember that wherever you get in, whether it’s an “Ivy” or anywhere else you consider a “safety” school, it’s not a reflection of you as a person. It’s hard to see that clearly when we generally hold ourselves to extraordinarily high standards, often influenced by parents or other outside forces. In the end though, we all belong to the Deerfield community, which doesn’t ensure, but suggests that we’re all essentially good people. Just because classmate X is going to the school you wanted to, doesn’t mean that he or she will be more successful or is in any way a better person than you are.
Who knows whether going in overly pessimistic or optimistic is the right approach. It would seem that knowing you’ve put in the all hours and done everything that you can should suffice to make you happy, however, that train of thought feels more like of an idealistic standard than a practical option. Regardless of method of internalization, as graduates who didn’t get into their top choices have said over and over, and cliché as it may sound, it is you make of where you go that really counts.
I suppose my reasons for writing this article are a little bit of mess—somewhat like the process itself. Perhaps it’ll serve as an insight for younger students who will take it heart. Perhaps it’s a little voice to all the seniors who are dealing, in their own ways, with this whirlwind of a senior year and can be reassured that they’re not alone in their feelings. Mostly it is a form of a personal coping mechanism. Regardless, I hope this hits home with someone.
In the end, for me at least, I’m going through this at Deerfield. I’m surrounded by a community that seems to have a heart big enough to eclipse any disappointment. That probably sounds like standard Deerfield propaganda and might be true at other schools, but I can only speak for my experience, and there isn’t the slightest tinge of sarcasm in saying I’d rather be here than anywhere else.
Best of luck to all and thanks for everything,