The Process Of Applying To College Forces Us To Hide Some Of The Most Impactful Events In Our Lives

The Process Of Applying To College Forces Us To Hide Some Of The Most Impactful Events In Our Lives

The creative process is supposed to be one of endless possibilities, so why do I still feel restricted?

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The time of year has come again for many high school seniors to open college admission letters. Some are filled with denials, and others are filled with rewarding acceptances. No matter what group you fall under, you should continue to reward yourself for all that you've overcome & all that you will accomplish. Nearly 1 year ago, I was in the same position- overfilled with joy when receiving acceptances, but all of that excitement was diminished with just one denial. I felt the endless hours I put into volunteering, striving for the best grades, and perfecting my college essays were just not enough.

I wish I had recognized the truth sooner, but unfortunately, it took me months. I had to remind myself: though I am a student, a friend, a daughter, a sister, before all of those- I am a person. Just like many of us do, I had experienced hardships that no high schooler should have to go through. I knew that every battle I overcame molded me into that talented student, but those who could not recognize how my pain translated into prosperity were those on the other side, reading my essays.

During my junior year of high school, I tragically lost my best friend in the entire world, my brother. With the main focus of junior year aimed towards SAT testing, applying to college, or perfecting those last grades to squeeze onto your transcripts, my mind was nowhere near any of those things. I missed weeks of school because I could not sit in a classroom for more than 20 minutes without breaking down. My grades began to quickly plummet, and the ambitious student inside of me was burning out. I had to complete the semester with grades that did not meet my satisfaction, but the last thing I could do was discipline myself in a time where I did not even recognize myself.

It was only two months later when I began the first drafts of my college essay. The prompt read "The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?". My inner writer was ready to tackle this essay. For the first time in months, I had a roaring crave inside of me to apply myself to school. My fingers began typing away and my mind was on a pursuit to explain the reinvented Gia De Jesus- the one who was destined to persevere, despite tragedy.

I approached my English teacher with the first draft with hopes of admiration, since it was my first time actively participating in school work, but that was not the case. She was only 3 sentences into my- what I thought was a masterpiece- before stating "Gia, you cannot write about this.". With confusion and anger, the words rushed to the tip of my tongue "What do you mean I can't write about this? There are no rules. THIS setback is what made me who I am, and isn't expressing your personality through your essay the focus of all of this?" I was then explained the "topics to avoid for your college admission essay"- death, divorce, and drugs.

While I settled for a topic that did not display my identity with the utmost acknowledgment, I knew I wasn't the only one who struggled to understand these limitations. So many of us are forced to direct our thoughts to a different aspect of life, which holds equal significance, simply due to the frequency of such topics. While I knew I had not been the only person out of the millions of people applying to college to be affected by a traumatic experience, I did not want my story to go unheard. It is more than just family deaths, there are people who are bullied, people who are separated from their families, people who suffer from mental illnesses, people who came from the worst of situations and made themselves into something better.

Some of the people who experience traumatic events are fortunate enough to have other family members to grieve/ vent with, but for others, they do not have that support system. These essays are perceived as an opportunity to open up and think with no boundaries, to speak truthfully, and to be heard- even when the readers remain unknown. Whether you still hold closely all of your family members, or you do not have an illness which requires you to be stabilized on medicine, we all have a story to share. If going to college is something that will inevitably become necessary for one to be successful, it is only fair to understand that applicant as a person, not for their lettered grades or their numbered scores.

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21 Lies College Students Tell Their Parents

I can almost guarantee that you have used at least five of these.

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Let's be honest. College is the best time of your life for a lot of reasons, and maybe you should not tell your mom all of them when she calls. I can almost guarantee that you have used at least five of these, and the others — maybe you should try next time!

1. "I can't talk now, I'm in the library."

Typically used when the student is too hungover to talk.

2. "Gotta go now, I'm walking into class."

Then hit play on Netflix.

3. "I think it might be food poisoning."

Was it the food, or all of that alcohol? Your symptoms sound more like a hangover to me.

4. "No, I didn't just wake up."

It is 4 p.m. and, yes, you did.

5. "I need more money for laundry and food."

Meaning, "I need more money for things I don't think you will give me money for."

6. "I never skip class!"

When we use this one, it usually does not refer to anything before 11 a.m.

7. "I studied all night for that test!"

If by "studied all night" you mean you watched TV shows in the library, then, yes, all night.

8. "Everyone failed that test."

And by everyone, I mean me and my friend who did not go to sleep until 3 a.m.

9. "I'm walking home from breakfast with my friends."

Yeah, OK. You are just lucky she cannot see last night's outfit and the high heels you are carrying. We know where you have been.

10. "Potbelly's is a restaurant."

I mean, they may sell tacos, but I'm not sure I would call it a restaurant.

11. "I go to Cantina's for the Nachos."

I hope that is not the only reason but, hey, you do you.

12. "The $40 charge on the card from last Saturday? That was for school supplies!"

Yeah, right. It was for a new dress.

13. "Nobody goes out on weeknights, especially not me."

We all know grades come first, right?

14. "I can't remember the last time I went out!"

Literally.

15. "I make my bed regularly"

About as often as I clean the bathroom.

16. "I did not say 'Margarita Monday,' I said I went to 'Margaret's on Monday'!"

Following the use of this lie, do not post any pictures on social media of you with a margarita.

17. "I use my meal plan, and eat in the dining hall all the time."

As you scarf down Chick-fil-A.

18. "I eat healthy!"

For those without a meal plan who have to grocery shop on their own, we all know you spend $2 on a 12-pack of Ramen noodles and the rest on a different kind of 12-pack.

19. "No, I don't have a fake ID."

OK, "John Smith," and where exactly in Wyoming are you from?

20. "I'm doing great in all of my classes."

We use this one because you cannot see our grades online, anymore.

21. "I did not wait until the last minute to start on this."

We all know that if you start a paper before 10 p.m. the night before it is due, you are doing something wrong.

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If My Daughter Ends Up Joining A Sorority, Well, Good Luck Charlie

If my future daughter does end up reading this, I hope you know I will always support you.

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If I ever have a child, I will support them with whatever their passion is. I will be there cheering for them whether it be in the stands of a high school sporting event, or just cheering them on at home as they crush their mountain of homework.

Spring semester of my freshman year, I decided to rush. At the time, I had a small group of friends but wanted to expand my circle. I tried joining a few clubs my first semester, but I was really isolating myself in my dorm room to study and occasionally getting something to eat. I craved more, and going out for spring recruitment seemed like the perfect opportunity to force myself to make friends.

If you knew me back in high school, I was so against the concept of Greek life. My mother was in a sorority when she was in college, and it just never appealed to me. I never had the pressure to become a legacy, or that it was something every college girl had to do as a way to get boys. I didn't like the idea of conformity or paying for friends essentially. It just wasn't how I picked my college experience.

After receiving my bid though, I call what I entered the honeymoon phase. Everything seemed perfect. From the moment I walked into the bid day celebration, I felt like I made the right decision. I dreamed of maybe being on the executive board and making a huge difference for my campus's Greek community. All the girls I would call my "sisters" were just warm and welcoming, and I felt like I had found my place. I was just over the moon. I even was so "in love" that I ended up writing a handful of articles about the perks of Greek life.

And I am not here saying the whole experience was bad. Everyone has different experiences and every chapter is different. You really do get what you put into it. I ended up with an amazing big and little to match. Those two are actually like sisters to me, and I couldn't imagine my life without them. I also gained the most amazing friends who constantly support me despite being an alumna of my sorority now. There are benefits to Greek life, trust me.

However, there is a dark side to Greek life nobody mentions. You will fall out of that honeymoon phase, falling out of love with your sorority. You may even question why you joined in the first place. I know I do sometimes. At least for me, I was pressured into fitting into an image, one where I was meant to be happy all the time. I was even confronted by a few sisters who spread rumors about me because they mistook my anxiety and started to spread rumors I was gossiping even if I was just expressing my frustration with someone standing in front of me.

There was a period of my life where I just wasn't okay. A few people I let into that chaotic period of my life and some of them were my sisters and people I was told to "trust." Yet, some of these people didn't have my full trust. They told me I needed to learn to control my anxiety better without asking me what was bothering me. They didn't take the time to find out that I was struggling with a shooting back home that just rocked my world. I was anxious because I constantly worried about myself, my parents, and people back home. I lost motivation in school. I couldn't sleep. And somehow, I was still the bad guy because I wasn't happy all the time. Someone at my school's tech center saw me upset and believed I was spreading rumors, which is so far from the truth.

My experience with Greek life was far from picture perfect at the end of my journey in my sorority. There are times I still question why I convinced myself to sign up for recruitment, but there are days I am thankful for at least the experience because of the people it brought into my life.

If my future daughter does end up reading this, I hope you know I will always support you. However, it is important to realize that despite all the positives a situation may have, there can also be negatives. Not everything in life will end up being picture perfect. Whatever you choose to do, I will be your shoulder to cry on or your best friend to share the joy with you.

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