To My Juniors Applying To College

To My Juniors Applying To College

A little help from others can be a great blessing.
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It's that time of year again. In the past few weeks, I've started to receive an increasing number of questions about university applications. My precious about-to-be seniors have all grown up and are now asking me for essay edits, my college application experience and ways to organize their arrays of awards in the CommonApp. But there's only so much wishy-washy advice I can give before feeling pressured to come out with the unflattering truth: I honestly had no idea what I was doing.

(Actual picture of me trying to impress the admissions committee.)


I had a lot of my classmates applying to the same schools I was, each of them more qualified than the next to get in. This was a huge blow to my confidence. The result of this was a lot of worried staring at the CommonApp awards page where I had left most of the fields blank while my friends debated which 10 out of their 1 million awards to send in. I also didn't have any research experience, well-earned national titles or fantastic essay writing skills. Really, all I had was a mousy art portfolio and myself.

If you're in a similar boat, I'm here to help. Here is my attempt at advice on how to make college application season not so terrible a time.

1. Really look in a mirror

College applications were some nirvanic journey of self-discovery for me. Because I didn't have many awards and titles to back me up, I really had to spend a lot of time looking for the qualities within myself that I wanted to present in an application. After a few long weeks of brainstorming, I made sure to write as candidly as I could with an earnest emphasis on things I was working on accomplishing instead of what I had already done.

2. Don't just apply to Harvard

Don't get me wrong, you can just apply to Harvard–it's a great school. What I mean is don't just apply because it's a great school. What's more important than going to a good institution is going to an institution that suits you. Perhaps one school you're considering is ranked higher for the field you want to pursue, but it's focused heavily on sending students to graduate school. If you're looking for work opportunities, maybe a career-oriented program will suit you better. (I'm looking at all of you deciding between U of T and Waterloo.) The school's social scene, extracurricular life and surroundings should also factor in to your decision. Before you decide to apply to a school, you should have a good understanding of why you want to study there.

3. Exercise, eat and sleep

You'll have IA results coming your way, your last chances at any SAT tests you still want to write and a sudden increase in the English commentaries you have to fumble your way through. You'll also start to feel not too great about putting off that Extended Essay. When all seems lost, it's important to remember to exercise, eat and sleep regularly. Is an extra 2 percent on a assignment that's not weighted anything in the scope of IB exams really worth feeling like crap for the next few days? The answer should be no. Stay hydrated and well-rested, and the whole application process will go by a whole lot smoother.

And never forget that you have a network of friends to reach out to if you need any help. In the words of Uncle Iroh, "While it is always best to believe in oneself, a little help from others can be a great blessing."

Good luck, kiddos, and may the force be ever with you.



Cover Image Credit: https://isuckasaparent.com/tag/college-applications/

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39 Things Every Girl Should Really Know About Life By 20

38. When vacationing by airplane, try to fit everything into a carry-on.
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1. Dispute ALL tickets... even if you were going 35mph over the speed limit.

ticket

How can it hurt? If anything you can save yourself some money.

2. If you're not 10 minutes early, you're late.

Your boss, your teachers, your co-workers... They all notice. Be the early one.

3. If you find yourself waking up feeling miserable, start the day by making your bed and washing your face.

Coming back to a made bed after a sh*tty day can change the world.

4. It's okay to fall off track once in a while. You'll only be wiser for next time. (Don't push it, though!)

When I say fall off track I don't mean COMPLETELY off... Just make sure you hold onto something that reminds you to keep going. You'll figure it out... Sometimes it takes years and that's okay.

5. Don't fight your family. They ARE always going to love you.

family

I used to fight my family and try to push them away... It was probably the dumbest thing I've ever done looking back. So, even if you say, "I'm never going to like them!" Trust me you will. Unless they're actually toxic a**holes...

6. Mom actually, seriously, literally, insanely knows everything.

It's crazy, I swear my mom is psychic. Or she can see the future. I used to do the opposite of what she said and my life was messier... Now that I found out about her powers I listen and things run smoother. Weird. Love you, Ma.

7. If an elder in your family tries giving you money as a gift or to cover lunch... Reject it first.

They won't stop insisting and they will force you to take the money even if you say no 3,000 times. So why not earn some brownie points and act like you seriously didn't need it. Meanwhile, you know how badly you need it.

8. An e-mail and/or a phone call goes a long way.

Don't pester... But if you're the one who calls to "follow up on a resume," a week or two after you applied, you're the standout!

Also, as a college student, I find e-mailing and staying in touch with professors builds a relationship and engraves your name into their brains. As long as you're good at writing e-mails and a good student, they'll usually instinctively like you more; seeing how much effort you spent on communicating.

9. If you hate school, just suffer through the attendance, and make sure the teacher knows your name.

Even if you actually have no idea what Descartes sixth meditation is about... Just show up, do the work consistently, and build a relationship with the teacher. They won't fail you if they see effort. (Just don't give them a reason to!)

10. It seems like the end of the world sometimes... it's not.

"And this too shall pass."

11. If you hate yourself one day (or even all the time), just pretend you don't.

Did you know our facial expressions can influence our emotions?

12. Line up another miserable part-time job before quitting your current one.

work

Waitressing, customer service, reception... We've all been there and it usually sucks (Unless your parents spoil you too much). So, if you need to get the hell out of there, make sure you have somewhere else to go before you quit. And give 'em a notice in advance, don't be a d*ck.

13. Traveling is the best thing in the world.

travel

I don't need to explain much more. I think we can all agree we want to witness the beautiful parts of this world we've never seen before.

14. If someone doesn't say thank you when you hold the door for them...

...hit them with the classic under-your-breath-but-you-know-they-heard-you type of "you're welcome!"

15. Respect authority, even if you think you're right.

cops

Just FULLY cooperate and it WILL be easier. It's also great to make friends with authority figures. Talk to everyone! Make connections and maybe you'll learn something new.

16. Spend time outside and in public.

After high school, you aren't forced into a classroom five days a week where you will have to socialize. After high school, you can decide to chill in your room and do nothing. But seriously don't make a habit out of it, you will end up feeling like crap when you realize you have no friends.

17. Don't roll your eyes at people.

So rude. Eye-rolling just makes it look like you're admitting you're wrong and you have no defense to whatever made you roll your eyes.

18. Life's a b*tch and then you die... But guess what? Even B*tches have fun!

mean girls

News flash, we are currently all in the process of dying. Stop worrying so much and try to have fun even in the dullest of moments.

19. If you're speaking about something professional, call don't text.

You do realize we still have a call feature on the iPhone, right? Use it.

20. Decorate the Christmas tree with your family amidst your teen angst.

 christmas

It really seems like a horrible excursion to pile into a mini-van, cut down a tree in the freezing cold, and then hang shiny balls while developing a rash on your hand from the prickles... But down the road, you'll regret not doing it.

21. The D.A.R.E. program makes it seem like drugs are just freely handed out.

drugs

That sh*t's expensive. And you don't want to do it, anyway (Minus weed it's harmless, just wait until you're old enough!) .

22. Smile and say hi to as many people a day as you can.

You never know if you just made someone feel a little better or accepted.

23. Make sure the E-brake is OFF.

brake

It will sound like you're dragging a dead body attached to your car and will ruin your brakes. Just double check.

24. Use all your resources even when it seems pointless.

Even if you learn absolutely nothing, you gain connections.

25. What's most important in life?

Connections.

26. Know how to swim.

swim

It is a basic skill everyone should know. You don't need to be Phelps. Just doggy paddle if you're really that bad.

27. If you don't have a firm handshake, learn how to, a**hole.

handshake

If you are a lady shaking a man's hand, strive to have a firmer grip than him. You'll either scare the sh*t out of him, gain serious respect, or get complimented on how great your handshake is! That's my favorite compliment if I'm being honest.

28. Step back and think before you explode.

Seriously dude, don't press send. You probably used the words, "like" and "literally" too much in your text, anyway. Wait 10 minutes and see if it's worth it.

Also, it's better in person.

29. Question everything.

question

Never assume you're safe or well-informed. There could be a murderer in that restaurant... Question anything that you aren't sure of. Hell, even question what you are sure of.

30. Don't trust a headline or statistic until you know it's credible.

What if you're looking at a bar graph from 1968, not 2018? You might think this is obvious, but there are clearly plenty of people who share false information. We've probably done it ourselves before. We should all work on that.

31. Park far from the store.

parkng

Walk, you lazy youthful soul. Unless you require a handicap spot or weather conditions are poor.

32. Take the stairs.

"I have no time to workout!" *takes elevator*

33. Don't text people when you want to tell them how you feel.

It only makes you feel good for like 20 seconds and then you'll probably read it back saying, "What was I thinking?"

34. Have something to be proud of.

Otherwise, you'll get lost. Life is confusing.

35. Listen to old school music, the classics, and artists who inspired what we hear today.

music

We cannot let the real instruments die people. Do you know how fun a jam band show is?

36. If you're inspired, act fast.

Don't let inspiration slip away. Sometimes it's easy to forget that great feeling.

37. If you start, finish.

Finish what you start and do the best you can at it. We all have off days, that doesn't mean you suck if you mess something up a few times.

38. When vacationing by airplane, try to fit everything into a carry-on.

beer

You don't want your favorite bikini stowed in the wrong plane when you go on vacation. Plus you spent all of your money on Corona's and can't buy a new one.

39. Change your oil.

Love your car and it will try to love you back.

Good Luck!

Cover Image Credit: Emily Fahey

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Tips For A Great Summer

What To Do In The Summer
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Now that summer is upon us, many are trying to figure out what to do with all this spare time. Here are some ideas to have a great summer!

1. Relax

Take time to enjoy life, and relax after a hard three months of school. You might enjoy things more now that you have time to.

2. Sleep

This is key to having a good summer and to take time to catch up on sleep that you may not have gotten while at school. It will also help with your mental and physical health too! Getting good rest makes you feel good and happy.

3. Go Adventuring

During summer, it is a great time to hike, bike or even just go to a place you never have been before. Having endless adventures is a good time to relax, take in the world and spend time with others.

4. Beach Trips

This is a great way to spend your summer, at the beach! It is such a long tradition that this will never get old. Go and spend some days at the beach and clear you mind from a long stressful semester, and don`t forget your tan!





Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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