The College Calling
Grounding oneself into the realm of Advanced Placement courses, heightened expectations, and overloaded schedules while beginning the search for one’s passions is not simple, to say the least. I’m in the middle of my junior year of high school and the looming idea of college that was always in the back of my mind has now moved front and center. The pressure to thrive in all areas of academics and athletics is common amongst many of my friends. The activities and obligations that are encouraged throughout our high school career can sometimes seem superficial. Of course, it is always admirable when a student has an abundance of interests and skills, but when students start pushing themselves and taking on too much, that is when this process becomes corrupted. In this constant strive to do well, to what extent should we be sacrificing our fleeting childhood moments only to invest in the next step in our lives?
Now, I am no expert in the process of studying for college examinations like the SAT and ACT, nor am I deeply knowledgeable when it comes to the college admission process. That is not why I am writing this. I do know that many high school students invest all of their free time into studying and doing activities solely to get into specific colleges, which I believe is futile. The issue with this particular mindset is that many people lose sight of what makes college enticing: It’s a place where we can devote our time to learning what we are enamored by — not what others believe we must understand. We should be able to simply seek what we, as individuals, find intriguing. And I believe that will be beautiful.
Over the summer, I found myself drawn to the academic atmosphere in San Francisco and Seattle. I took a guided tour of UC Berkeley, the University of Washington, and Seattle University. At the moment, these are some of the most appealing college campuses to me. I not only visited these schools, but I also explored the local food, museums, and city attractions in those areas. I’m beginning my search, and this is exciting.
The process leading up to the actual choice of a college and departing from home feels like I am laboring over a figment of my imagination. Searching for a place in which you can see yourself living and flourishing during a very important, if not the most important, period of your life is daunting. You have your overall interest or major to consider, while you also have to get a good sense of the environment surrounding these schools. It is important to notice the people you meet and how they respond to your interests during the college search process. If a school treats your questions and devotions passively, that is most likely how you are going to be treated as a student. I suggest immersing yourself in schools of your interest; talk to the people representing the institutions; and spend some time on and around the campuses.
We are young and intrigued by what is most thrilling at the moment, and it’s hard to imagine what college life will be like in the long run. What a difficult decision to make! I keep trying to find a balance between the present and the future. But how do we find the perfect place to nurture our mind’s pursuits and our heart? I suppose we can start by looking at those questions.
P.S. I forgot to mention Santa Barbara’s great college options: UCSB, SBCC, and Westmont are all in our backyard. These schools offer different focuses and have varying requirements for admission depending on your background and future goals. I gave them a look, but for me, I would like to live somewhere new for my next step… preferably a cold city.