Take a moment to step back

Jessica Spitz

Spring break means vacation and relief for most students, but for many juniors it only means one thing: college tours.

Although I am incredibly excited to start looking at schools and figuring out what I want in a college, the fact that I am actually doing this — really considering places I might want to apply to — is terrifying. Until now, college has seemed like a goal waiting in the distant future, but as I register for tours and info sessions, it seems much more tangible.

In the weeks leading up to spring break, I have become increasingly overwhelmed with schoolwork, as is typical for a second semester junior. But one factor of my stress that I did not anticipate was the feeling that everything is happening at once.

I took my first SAT last weekend, third quarter has already ended and the deans recently sent all juniors an email with instructions and a deadline for a preliminary college list.

I also happened to be looking through my planner the other day when I came across another shocking wake up call: in less than a month, juniors will be picking out their rings for ring ceremony in the fall. I seems unbelievable that my class could possibly be ready to call ourselves seniors.

In the midst of the chaos, I seem to be having a very premature mid-life crisis. All I can think about is since when am I (almost) old enough to apply to college? Don’t you have to be somewhat adult for that?

In all honesty, thinking about college seems like a very adult thing to do, and I feel way too young to be doing so. As cliché as it sounds, it truly feels like just yesterday when I stepped onto the Harvard-Westlake middle school campus for the first time, with six years ahead of me. I know I have changed and grown a lot since then, but there are still so many things that I am unsure about. When the online registration forms ask what majors I might be interested in, my heart beats a little faster and I close my laptop, promising to deal with it later.

I know I’m getting ahead of myself. I still have a few months of junior year left, which include AP and SAT subject tests, a term paper and the usual workload, so I definitely have enough to occupy my time. But I can’t help but fear the ever-approaching college process and the anxiety (which I might be slightly prone to) that come with it.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m looking forward to receiving a long-awaited college acceptance letter as much as the next sleep deprived and stressed out Harvard-Westlake student. But is it strange that I want everything to slow down? Soon enough, the seniors will be graduating and us juniors will really be in the home stretch of our high school careers, and I cannot shake the feeling that I am simply not ready.

When I expressed these fears to a senior friend, she offered me a piece of advice that I have been trying to keep in mind. She told me, as hard as it may be, to enjoy the rest of high school, because it really will never be the same after our class graduates in 2015. Knowing that many seniors are experiencing nostalgia as they get closer to graduation, now seems like a pretty good time to start appreciating what I love about Harvard-Westlake.

Before I actually start visiting college campuses and picturing myself at a few of them, I want to take the time to consider aspects of my life that may, shockingly, be more important than where I go to college.