Find Some Time to Play

It is now officially SUMMER!!! I know here at College Calm we talk about how much we can “get done” over the summer for the college process, but the article below serves as a reminder that summer is also a time to play — for everyone — young, old, adolescent or middle aged.  We encourage everyone to leave some space this summer to PLAY.

This article was originally written for by one of our wonderful students (before we even starting working together). It is a great synopsis of how we know many of our high school students are feeling, but cannot always articulate. Read this with your child/parent/friends and talk about your experiences and observations. Then you should read the article, “Who Fares Best in the College Process,” by Alice Kleeman, who references Laurel’s article and advocates for doing things you enjoy.

” I had a really hard time figuring out what to write about this week. I went back and forth between two other article ideas, wrote them out, but they didn’t sound like me. They were too critical and condemning for my taste. I took breaks in between these episodes of writers block to watch some TV, do some math homework, and just have time to be a teenager.

I realized then that I don’t really get that much time to just have moments to myself and to just rock out to music in my room. It seems that I always have another essay to write, another history chapter to read, or another chemistry test that needs to be studied for. When I was in middle school, the elephant in the room was always what high school would be like. How would it be different? Would my teachers like me? We were all anxious to take that next step in our lives.

Now that I’m there, however, high school is so much work. My brain actually seems to throb sometimes at the end of the day. I got up in front of my Spanish class on Thursday to recite a simple dialogue that my partner and I had been working on to show our understanding of the new vocabulary and grammar that we had been learning. In front of the class, for the first time ever, I spaced out. I forgot all of my lines and couldn’t remember anything. I looked at my partner with blank eyes. I was completely flustered.

This might have been my most embarrassing moment ever, and my fumbling to try and make the class think I was funny in the aftermath, didn’t help much either. I was talking to my friend about it later in the day and one of her theories was that it was because I was overworking myself.

It seems like everything I do, sign up for, and participate in is because it somehow will look good on my college application. I volunteer for just about as much as I can muster. I am trying to find my “angle” because my counselors tell me that that is what colleges like. They told me to start community service hours early, so every Wednesday and Friday for the past six months I have given about four hours on each of the days for the district radio station. I cram in solving for imaginary numbers between typing in the codes for commercial breaks. Every second is valuable time that I could be using to get more work done. To waste any of it would be foolish.

I miss the days when I could just play. My grandparents and aunts and uncles often call to ask when I have a day off to spend time with them. I constantly have to decline their offers because I am swamped with swim meets or volunteer events, not to mention school functions and obligations. I want to be able to spend more time with my young cousins and make memories with them before I have to go off to college, but that’s just it. College. That is what we are all have to sacrifice for. We have so much pressure put on us to get there. If we don’t get into a good college then we won’t get a good job. If we don’t have a good job, we can’t pay the bills.

I wish that I didn’t have to worry about all this. It’s so much pressure and stress. I just wish that colleges would accept me for the way I am. Truth is, no matter how hard I work there will always be someone working harder and that means another hurdle to jump over, another obstacle to work around, and another competitor to beat. The race is never over and the drive to succeed is always there. In the end, the one who will win will be the one who made the most sacrifices and drove themselves the most insane. Is it worth it? Time will only tell. Look out senior year.”