By: Ananya Yadati

College applications being sent in, and decisions coming out has not only been a cause of stress for the seniors, but for all high schoolers at HB. Constantly, I hear people talking about needing to find new extracurriculars or improve their GPA for the sake of having a better shot of getting into college. People feel like they won’t be good enough because of the high standards of colleges these days. It can be very hard to escape this negative talk because it spreads so easily. One person worried about college might talk to someone about how they feel like they will never be good enough and then that person will talk to someone else about it, making it  spread in a ripple effect. This can really take a toll on self-esteem, and creates both unnecessary competition between students and stress.

Everyone wants to be the best, but this can be a very harmful mindset. People no longer want to do the extracurriculars they want, because it might not look as good on a college application, or, if they are doing something that they like, it is mainly because it looks good on a resume. Liking the activities that they participate in is an afterthought because what seems to matter more to people is doing something impressive. Everyone tries to have a special, out of the ordinary interest because we are all told from a young age that colleges like people who are “special” and doing something “original.” This even applies for activities that on surface level seem noble and selfless. When people sign up to volunteer, there is a very high chance that they are thinking about doing it in their own interest, because they will seem like a kindhearted person for helping others. That is not to say that they aren’t thinking about the people they are helping at all, or that there aren’t people who volunteer fully in the interest of others. However, helping others should be something that a volunteer is dedicated to, rather than just being another opportunity to improve their college application. 

I wish that people would talk about how doing something that makes you happy should be a higher priority than tiring yourself out trying to do everything and trying to be the best at everything. People should promote the idea that it is important to participate in activities that energize you rather than encouraging participation in so many activities that you feel burnt out.