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Selam G. '18

Nov 22, 2015

Second Semester Senior

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Freshman Applicants, International Applicants, Prepare for MIT

Hello Everyone!

Firstly, I’d like to publicly apologize for not being as frequent as I normally am. I think last year, I set a goal of blogging once a week. Sophomore year, this has become decidedly more difficult. I’m sure you can guess what I’ve been doing.....

(*drum roll*)

That’s right! Studying! Or psetting, or various academic-related activities. Academically speaking, sophomore year is definitely a step up from freshman year, although, for many reasons, I still think freshman year overall was harder. There’s also a couple things I’ve been doing outside of academics, such as planning and executing a water project in Ethiopia, becoming a founder of a new FSILG, and playing with robots but that is all queued for a later post (in an attempt to spread out my blogging and be more frequent ^^”).

What I actually want to talk about today is really not today at all, but rather two years ago. More precisely, senior year of high school, which I think many of you might be experiencing right now. It is nearing the end of November; the first round of applications have gone in (early action date was November 1st); the last-minute standardized tests and subject tests have been crammed for and taken; changes to creative portfolios have been finalized and made. Many of you probably have a few applications left to finish still (no worries, I myself did four of them in one weekend just before the Jan. 1 deadline) (but would not recommend, obviously). Even so, we are definitely entering that time when things are wrapping up, and (hopefully) calming down.

This is also a time when a lot of people seem to enter a mindset of now what? You’ve prepared and prepared and prepared, written essays, had interviews. Now, everything is fully out of your control, and has been passed into the hands of these mysterious “admissions officers” (TBH I never thought of admissions officers as real people or even separate from universities until I met Chris Peterson, and read this excellent blog post by Ben Jones, whom I’ve never met http://mitadmissions.org/blogs/entry/its_more_than_a_job) (It always just seemed, in my head, like the school itself had a brain, and was doing the deciding)

I received a question that pretty much summed up all these feelings on tumblr the other day:

 

 

As it turns out, there actually are still things you can do to most effectively prepare for college! So, here is what I did after submitting my application:

  • Pick up a senioritis project–something to do in the time that you procrastinate all of your other work. Mine was learning to longboard, a couple friends of mine tried to learn elvish from LOTR.
  • Search “things to eat __(your city)__” and go to all the places and eat the things :3 (I actually am doing this now, in Boston, not back in Denver, but I should have!!)
  • Go to whatever downtown, small or large, that you have, or take public transportation to that stop you’ve never been to, and just waste time. Window shop. Get some ice cream. Whatever.
  • Use a countdown app to countdown the remaining days until winter break/school ends/this one class you have ends
  • Try to write a short story or a serial
  • Invest more time than you previously would into extracurriculars–I put extra effort into Robotics and Chinese Club :>
  • Write!! About anything and everything. Write badly. Laugh at it.
  • Make a reading list. Try to finish it
  • Read book recommendations from friends
  • Ask your parents lots of questions–ask them things you have never asked before, however meaningful (“When you came to the U.S, did you plan on staying?”)* or totally random (“Ma, when you were a kid what was your favorite snack food”)** as you wish.
  • ^same, but with your siblings and other family members
  • Attempt art-ing.
  • Listen to lots of different music
  • Use whatever mode of transportation you have, and go everywhere. I didn’t have a car in high school, or a license for that matter, and I lived in Colorado, which has only-sort-of-decent public transportation. I took the light rail, and then longboarded or walked. I explored downtown Denver thoroughly, and took a road trip with my friends to go camping over the summer.
  • In the winter months, binge-watch TV shows and movies with your favorite TV shows and movie watching partners.
  • Have lunch by yourself on top of the school bleachers and wonder about life.
  • Have coffee with a friend and wonder about life
  • Realize that you sort of dislike much of existentialist philosophy.
  • Have adventures with friends at night (e.g., suprising another friend at their music performance)
  • Hang out at friends’ houses and wonder about life
  • Talk to friends about wondering about life
  • Mutually agonize over the future
  • Eat pizza
  • Pet dogs
  • Hang out with little kids and tweens
  • attempt exercising
  • Cook something interesting (I made bao zi with my mom)
  • Cook something interesting with friends (we made a buttercream cake!)
  • Cook something interesting with friends part 2 (kim bap. So good.)
  • Go to the movies!
  • Realize that you’re so over your 12 year old self and some of his/her past interpersonal relationships. U don’t need them gurl.
  • Realize that you wish you stayed in touch more with a friend who moved away.
  • Get to know people completely different from you that you have never hung out with before
  • Hang out with the freshmen (they are so cute~) and the underclassmen in general
  • Vent to someone
  • Be vented to, and comfort the vent-er
  • Cry a little about things/academic and life pressure
  • Stay up til 3AM just talking and playing games
  • Be even better friends with your friends, or the people on the “fringes” of your friend group.
  • Plan an extravagant senior trip, which may or may not happen
  • Plan a much less extravagant senior trip that actually happens

When I was a high school senior, I definitely had moments where I got so caught up in college and the future that I did not realize until I left or just before how much I would miss the present--or rather, that time which has now passed. And I did not even like high school, as some of you may not.

But I did have friends, whom I liked a lot, and we were very close. I don’t think I even realized how close, until I came to a place where suddenly, I didn’t know anyone. I was (and still am, of course) very close with my family. I loved (and still love, of course) Colorado in and of itself, as a place.

So, even though I did have those moments of antsy-ness, I am glad I took some time to really appreciate just being where I was--in high school, in Colorado, with my friends and family. After everything is submitted and signed and sealed and done, I’d encourage you to do the same. Even though I was never someone who believed in the “high school is the best time of your life!”, high school is still a time of your life, which will soon not be the present, and that is what’s important to realize. High school itself may not even be the defining characteristic of this time for you, but that’s the thing about time--it passes, regardless of what it holds.

It’s a cliche, I know, but remember to enjoy the moment, whatever that moment is for you.

(The feet of yours truly in the Platte River, which winds through part of downtown Denver)

 

*Nope. 

**沙琪玛(sa chi ma)

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