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4th and Goal – College Application Season by Kayode D. '27

The Good, The Bad, and the Casey Jones

[The following is a collection of ramblings and memory unloadings that I wrote throughout the semester, typically whenever I missed home. I titled each document “I miss application season,” but over the course of writing and editing this, I realized that I don’t really miss applying, I miss being in high school.]

I miss college application season.01 As I hope you understand while reading this blog, this isn't entirely true, and I just want to make that clear.

I miss the research. I miss going to college websites and reading through all of their pages and thinking about going to school there. I miss the potential–oh the potential. So much of it. So many dreams, so many possibilities, and they were all mine. I could go anywhere I wanted to, I thought, and all that was stopping me was a 750 word essay on my greatest challenges that I couldn’t get myself to write. 

I miss signing up for college campus tours. I miss feeling out of place on those tours. I miss seeing MIT for the first time. I miss the amazing tour guide that I had. I miss feeling like of all the people that go on these tours, I could maybe be one of the few that actually gets to go to school here. I remember that on one tour I went on, I was the only senior in the entire group. Everyone else was an underclassmen. I felt so behind.

I miss writing the application essays. I miss exploring myself, and seeing how I really grew during the experiences I wrote about. I miss the sheer euphoria I felt when I finished an essay that I thought I did well. But I would never wish to do it again.

I miss listening to Indie pop. I miss discovering all of the music that is nostalgic for me now. I miss the witty lyrics and heartfelt chords that I listened to while I applied to college. I miss being Wasted on the Senate Floor, and listening to Breathless on DVD and Zelda and Don’t Shoot Me Santa…and yet i fish. I miss Mal Blum, and watching virtual college tours. I miss having all the hope in the world and no responsibilities tied to that yet.  I miss listening to the Christmasy Drums of “Classic j dies and goes to heck” while I drive through the foggy December streets after work, the traffic lights looking faintly like glowing eyes, tired but relenting to let me pass.

I miss working at Hometown Pizza. I miss Mr. Hometown, and my coworkers. I miss taking home a large pizza (against store policy) every night, and eating more pizza in those few months than in the entire previous year.

I miss driving around my town, listening to my ABBA Gold CD and driving 5 over the speed limit. I miss driving around McDonalds almost every day, just so I could see a girl I thought was cute. I miss when that was the biggest thing on my mind.

I miss reading Brave New World in English 100. I miss the way my teacher would turn something that could be monotonous into one of the most profound and deep classes I’ve ever taken. He did not have to put so much work into making the class so interactive and free, but he did, and I am thankful to him for this. I will never forget the readings we did, or the lessons we learned about literature, society, and life that we learned in that class. 

I miss making wishes at 11:11 in English class. I miss the way my friend used to make the most ridiculous and hilarious wishes, while I just wished to get into an ivy league school. 

I miss looking through the old yearbooks from the 80’s in the school library. I miss wearing crewneck sweatshirts in the parking lot covered in dead leaves. I still have them but it’s not the same. I miss how cool I felt wearing a crewneck, like I wanted to be warm but not hoodie warm. I miss sitting in the school parking lot doomscrolling and stressing. And I freaking miss parking lots so much. I miss hanging out with my friends in the school parking lot because we had nothing to do. I miss how a lot of different friend groups meshed at the end of the year and we’d spend every friday hanging out in the high school parking lot. We all wished we had more time to hangout, now that we all finally put our differences aside and tried hanging out together. We would give (very bad) haircuts and play frisbee, and people would show up after work with pizza or cookies or whatever small town fast food place they worked at. It was amazing and I miss it so much. 

I miss playing Jazz for the sake of playing Jazz. I miss Blues in Hoss Flat, and Father Song, and Solid as a Rock, and TGIF. I miss Picking Up the Pieces, but DON”T STEAL MY STUFF!! I miss playing Charlie Brown every morning, and the way that the bass guitar I played fit so well underneath the sound of the guitar. I miss Sam, who refused to play unless his feet were propped up on the guitar amp. I miss the way he would show up RIGHT AT the bell almost every day, or not at all. I miss how he used to use dermatologist and dentist notes to skip whole days of school, even though the appointment took 15 minutes. I miss jazz concerts. 

I miss marching band. I miss doing one last run through as the sun set over the valley and the burger king it outlined in the distance. I miss wheeling all the equipment up the parking lot, and playing tetris to put it all away. I miss staying up late to play at football games. I miss playing “White Boy Smooth” as we walked onto the field. I miss the way we could never play it clean, not even once. I miss the disapproving face of our percussion instructor as we fumble through our march and the national anthem. I miss the 48 packs of generic Soda we would buy from Walmart and smuggle into the football games. I miss mixing “Dr. Thunder” and “Mt. Lightning” to make “Doctor Mountain.” I miss those band days so much. 

I miss playing board games with my family. I miss playing Catan and watching Australian Survivor, and watching cartoons on Saturday Mornings. I miss Steven Universe, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles02 I know someone out there got the reference when they saw this blog , and playing fortnite–I miss fortnite so much. I’m sorry, I know it’s lame, but I miss playing fortnite with my friends.


October 4th,

I miss october. 

I miss my birthday. I miss the presents that I would get that fit neatly into one bag. The cards from friends and relatives, the among us piggy bank and throw blanket, the tub of little army soldiers, the pokemon cards. I miss how my 17th birthday party looked like one for a little kid. 

I miss riding the school bus.

I miss playing music in Sam’s basement. I miss our original band name: “Love, Jane”. We later found out that’s the name of a clothing line and had to think of a new one. I remembered reading Sam’s text and immediately trying to think of the most outrageous name I could on the fly, and ended up proposing “Willy Nilly and the Black Friday Crowd,” a name that (despite Sam’s best efforts) immediately stuck and will forever hold a place in my heart. 

I miss lugging my bass guitar amp through his yard, absolutely FILLED with dead leaves. I miss the way my 2010 nissan altima sat half in the street and half in his yard. I miss Sam’s death trap of a car, with dirty windows and a dirtier interior. I miss the sounds it would make when it pulled into the school parking lot, making sounds straight out of horror movie. I miss the way his garage opened from the back. I miss playing “Stacy’s Mom” and “Should I stay or should I go?” I miss the 50 dollar drumset the guys got off facebook marketplace, with garbage drum heads that our keyboardist drew all over when I was late to practice one day. I miss playing really loud, and leaving the garage door cracked because it was so cold. We played so loud we blew out all the lights in the basement. We used a christmas tree as the primary source of light after that. Sorry Sam’s parents. 

I miss my bedroom. I never really liked it. I didn’t put up posters until I was leaving. My walls were bare for years, despite my mom’s frustration. I miss the lamp that used to be in the living room, and the comforter on my bed that wasn’t 7 feet off the ground like it is now in my dorm room. I really dislike the lofted bed I use now. I miss the pile of college mail that accumulated under my piano keyboard, because I couldn’t find a better place for it. I miss my 2 windows that let a lot of light in when I wanted and none when I didn’t, rather than the 30 windows in my dorm room now. 

I miss being good at drumming. I miss when I used to actually practice. I miss playing snare drum at football games and drum set at basketball games. I miss standing up for each other. I miss practicing in the school parking lot. I miss micro analyzing and improving my playing, and feeling like I was actually good at a thing that most people are not good at. I miss fitting instruments into the twenty year old band trailer. I miss wearing that Van Gogh hat I borrowed from a friend and to this day have yet to return. I miss yelling to “HELP THE PIT!” with the drumline after practice, even though no one ever would. I miss playing in the stands at football and basketball games. I miss the hot chocolate and bags of candy the band moms would prepare in the cold. I miss burning my tongue every single year, and feeling it for weeks and weeks. 

I miss college application interviews. I miss meeting at different starbucks around Louisville with Alumni from the schools that I wanted to go to. I was stressed beyond all belief. I ordered a small hot chocolate at each one, and I remember my MIT interviewer looked disappointed as he ordered a small coffee as well. I remember that I didn’t think the MIT interview went well. He asked questions I wasn’t prepared for, and I felt like we didn’t really connect, until he asked me what I was currently hyper fixated on or obsessed with. If you know anything about me, you know that you don’t really want me to unload that kind of information. I told him about the Dyatlov Pass Incident, where 9 college students went missing in the Northern Ural Mountains of Russia, before they were found under the snow having ripped through their tents and run into the cold without socks or shoes on. It remains a mystery to this day, and a movie was made about it that I watched 3 times in one weekend.

He was hooked. He was genuinely interested. It was amazing. 

I don’t miss applying to college, I miss being a senior. 


I do not miss Winter Break, 2022. 

It took me so long to write my application essays. I procrastinated writing them until winter break, and so I spent the overwhelming majority of my break working on those essays and applications. Sometimes I felt like it was hopeless and questioned why I was even doing any of this, but then I’d think about how far I had come. I did everything in what feels now like a hazy blur. I know some of you reading this are still working on your applications (I know I was 365 days ago). I was in your shoes last year, I feel you. You’re at 4th and goal and you just can’t seem to get your essays the way you want them to be. Hear my dad’s advice: just focus on one thing at a time, and do it. Focus on one school, and one essay, and get it done before moving on to the next one. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be done. You’ve come so far and you’re this close. You’ve done so much work, just sit down and finish the job. Use your voice, tell your story, and submit. 

Then Enjoy Your Senior Year. I cannot stress this enough. If I haven’t made it obvious in this post thus far, I don’t miss applying to college as much as I miss the things I did while applying to college and after I was done. The things I remember most from senior year were the times I wasn’t thinking about the future and I was living in the now. I wish that I did more of that. If I could go back I would spend more time in the parking lot, and play more music with Sam, and probably get more McDonalds. 

So, as I told students on the MIT early admitted live stream, ENJOY BEING A SENIOR. Go have fun and take a break. Cherish these moments, because you can’t really go back when it’s over. 

Now I’m going to go play Fortnite. They added the Ninja Turtles to the game :)

  1. As I hope you understand while reading this blog, this isn't entirely true, and I just want to make that clear. back to text
  2. I know someone out there got the reference when they saw this blog back to text