Don’t mention the ‘c-word’ around seniors


My eyes dart around the room, desperately searching for an escape. A single bead of sweat forms on my forehead, and I know – yet again – I’m trapped.

“So, what college are you going to?”

I shudder. In my head, I’m fleeing the room and the country and my life as a wave of anxiety reminds me of the inevitable decision I have only months to make.

However, my response has become mechanic and well-rehearsed.

“Oh, well, I’m still deciding. I have to hear back from a few schools still, but I have a few main ones in mind. I’ll probably stay in California.”

This is my new default, because it didn’t take me long to realize that people don’t like to hear the panic and uncertainty in your voice when you tell them that you have no idea what you want to do I think it’s amazing when students have the commitment to know exactly what they want from a college, but I am only 17. I need way more information and life experience before I can truly know what is right for me, but seniors are only given so much time to assess their choices.

So, yes you better believe that I am making the most of all the time I have to make an informed and (hopefully) confident choice.

I will say that I didn’t set myself up for the easiest decision making process. I applied to 14 colleges, which has left a lot up in the air since I won’t hear from half of them until March.

Nonetheless, I try not to let this hold me back. I hardly go a day without researching any colleges and watching videos about college dorms and campuses. I’ve watched 45 minute virtual campus tours, already have a list of items to bring to college, plan on touring schools for the second and third times and will RSVP to almost any events my schools put on for applicants.

You may call it neurotic, but I call it prepared.

By the time seniors hear back from every college we’ve applied to, we are left with less than two months to commit to something that we hope will be the perfect fit.

Unfortunately, the “perfect fit” is defined by numerous factors: school size, dorm life, academic rigor and requirements, the major you want, the campus, the location, what other students and professors are like, extracurriculars, the prominence of Greek life, sports, food options and other necessities and tuition.

It is realizing that there is so much to know about going to college that causes constant uncertainty for many seniors. No one wants to have regrets or have a bad college experience when college is hyped up to be this incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for people to “find who they are” and “make lifelong friends” and, of course, find a career path.

According to a 2012 Rutgers University study, 37 percent of a group of college students who had recently graduated said that they wish that they were more selective in choosing a major or had chosen a different one.

The study also reported that two thirds of the surveyed students say that in retrospect, they would have done some things different regarding making decisions about their college educations.

I can confidently say that regret is something I and many of my fellow seniors are determined to avoid, but it may be difficult with all the pressures we face to choose certain schools.

These pressures may come from friends and family and, often, the community you live in. Some people are too scared to be judged for not picking the “good” school to pick a different school where they’d be happier.

College is an important decision, so it is crucial that people recognize that choosing where to dedicate these significant next four years of our lives is something that matters, requires thought and consideration and should be taken seriously.