With college application season in full swing, I, like many of my Form 6 peers, am filled with a complex flurry of emotions: excitement about what my future may hold, stress over looming deadlines, and, most of all, anxiety over the decisions that are simply out of my control.
It’s not just the heavy hand of supplemental essays that weighs heavily on us seniors, but it is also the unavoidable reality of homework, tests, projects, papers, extracurricular activities, sports, and other obligations that fill up our time and seem to leave us with little room to spare.
However, in the midst of all of this, it is vital to live in the present moment – to socialize with our friends; to take a step back and appreciate the breadth of opportunities and resources KO has to offer; and to acknowledge that though college may seem like the final goal in our lives, in reality, it just isn’t.
Moreover, I urge not only seniors, but all KO students who feel the weight of grades, deadlines, and the need to be “perfect” in hopes of attaining some future outcome to instead venture inward and recognize the importance and necessity of living in the now.
I’m not proposing that we all totally brush off the future as a non-existent, valueless entity that deserves little to no room in our thoughts; rather, I believe that in order to be the most successful versions of ourselves down the road, we must not harp on the unknown and instead take full advantage of the plentiful opportunities we are currently afforded as high school students at KO.
It is simply not productive to spend our formative high school years – years that we can never get back – focusing on and thinking solely about college. While it’s great to always carry with you a vision of what you want your life to look like; to have goals and aspirations for yourself; and to plan ahead, compromising your ability to take the time to fully enjoy where you currently are and to savor the moment is ultimately, in my opinion, a grave mistake. We shouldn’t neglect the present and allow it to slip away from us, for the present is what molds us into who we hope to become.
To help with the seemingly impossible pursuit of living in the moment, I have one main piece of advice: Though this may seem scary, I compel you to do the things that you truly want to do – the things that make you genuinely happy – not what you think you are expected to do or what you believe would “look good” on a future application or resumé.
I, myself, have definitely struggled with this before. I thought that it would be to my advantage in freshman year to sign up for every club possible. But did my passions truly lie in the areas of speech and debate? No. Those who know me well are fully aware that I have a mild fear of public speaking and that I envy those who are able to get up before a crowd and speak their mind. And was I excited about the prospect of serving as a senator of my form? No. To be honest, I was never full of innovative ideas about cool social events to put on like my peers in SGA so impressively are.
Therefore, I decided to take part in the extracurricular activities that I was truly excited about, and I eventually found my rhythm: I have pursued journalism and creative writing through involvement in both the KO News and Epic, I have advocated for issues that I am passionate about in KO Power of Women, and I have honed my musicianship through participation in the KO String Orchestra and other outside-of-school ensembles.
Taking part in the activities that I actually enjoy instead of forcing myself to participate in the ones that I initially believed would help boost my college applications was certainly the right decision, and I urge all of you to follow suit: Find what makes you happy, and leave the rest behind.
As I begin the end of my high school days, I look back on these past few years as highly transformative. I have had many new experiences, met new and amazing people, have had successes, and, of course, have had my fair share of failures. But what I am most proud of is that I actively strived to not rush through my high school career, no matter how scared or anxious or stressed I was, and that, though I often struggled, I made a fierce effort to soak up every minute of it, and I hope you all will do the same. So go to that football game after school, hang out with your friends on the weekends, and, most importantly, do the things that you love, for, to quote Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”