To Reach

Esaite - Hagerstown, Maryland
Entered on April 13, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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I’m firmly rooted in the belief that the letter A and the number 800 mean a great deal. With two monthes until my seventeenth birthday, I feel anticipation and slight hesistance. I’m now being further sucked into the ages of people who I tilted my head up to and pondered with such awe not so long ago. But, rather than focusing on how insanely old I am and reevaluating myself as a young person whose entry into quasi-adulthood dawns so near, virtually all that I envision is capital letters and numbers.

Isn’t it so unreal that junior year will end in less than two months? I can only clearly recall the first month or so and now. Everything that lies between the beginning and what is now becoming the end is a medley, a blur of readings, problem sets, detailed notes, choices a/b/c/d/e, and papers. Everything feels rushed, so effervescent, and so ephemeral.

In these fast and dynamic times, only a few markers remain permanent. I need a neat line of A’s and a triad of 800’s in order to feel somewhat at ease. Yes, I am more than simply letters and numbers, but I can’t ignore the fact that I need these stats in order to even have a chance of admittance to some of the schools I aspire to. Nothing hinders me from achieving these goals, of course, but my own self-resistance and self-doubt.

I second guess myself once I’ve bubbled in. I painstakingly read every writing prompt and write every timed essay until my teacher literally pulls the papers from my cold hands. I take miniscule notes on countless sheets and scraps of paper. I calculate what percent A I need in order to move my final average grade for the class to a 95 percent.

I know others are in the same frantically swaying boat lost in a tempest as I am. How could we not be? Several articles proclaim, “Record High Number of Applicants,” “Painfully Low Admittance Rate,” and “Isn’t Valedictorian Good Enough?” I, by wonderful chance, happen to be in the largest high school class in American history. The sea of us that will apply to college will apply literally in droves, some choosing seven, others choosing fourteen. Acceptance this year and next year to any college will undoubtedly be something worth being very proud of and grateful for. If the following words, ‘We regret to inform you . . .’ don’t haunt rising seniors in the comforts of their homes, everything and anything that relates to college and acceptance will pervasively arise in discussions with childhood friends in school.

Until those vinyl application packages leave my hands, I will be in a state of vehement and meticulous study all the while attempting to tightly schedule ‘finding’ myself as I quickly reach young adulthood.