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End of Junior Year Brings New Stress

By Jessica Fang

When junior year ended on that Thursday, when the school bells rang, and when mobs of us ran out the gates, I was overwhelmed with happiness. The huge blocks of stress that hung over my shoulders, were finally lifted. However, despite the pool parties and late night movies, my happiness didn’t linger as long as I hoped. After about a few days into summer, I was faced with the inevitable fact that in just a couple of months, I would have to start college applications. So, the most academically challenging school year was ultimately over, but I was engulfed in even more stress, pressure, and confusion. I had no idea what major I wanted to do, which school I wanted to apply to, and I was just lost. How do I even start deciding my major? How do I even know where I want to go? I began to believe that I was going crazy from all the endless, unanswered questions.
Soon enough though, I decided I didn’t have the time to sit around all summer sulking in my state of despair and uncertainty. And so, I gathered up all the college letters and pamphlets I’ve received throughout the year and sorted them out into piles: ones that I definitely was going to apply to, ones that I had no interest at all, and ones that I deemed worthwhile to look into. I spent my afternoons looking up the different universities I categorized in my research pile and their schools and majors they offered, the campus environment, the ranking, the costs, admissions rates, and even took a look at the virtual tours. Sure, it gave me a sense of the different types of universities, but the real question was what I wanted to do. I mean, each school has their own range of opportunities for certain majors, like, the University of Pennsylvania, which has the Wharton School, one of the most prestige business programs in the nation, or even Williams College, the top ranked liberal arts school in America.
Now the question was what I wanted to spend my time in college majoring in. This was the most challenging part for me. I understood that the average college student changes their major at least twice, but I still wanted a sense of direction. Then I thought about a special guest speaker I got to listen to during school. Lt. Haney D. Hong, a Stanford graduate, who spent only a mere 40 minutes talking to us, truly inspired me and got all 30 of us in that room really thinking. “What are you passionate about?… What’s important to you?” He told us about his own college experiences and pinpointed those two questions as basically the highlight to college life and the road ahead.
And so this whole new journey begins with our own choices for once. A frightening, yet exciting experience. An experience that I wasn’t alone in. I realized that there were thousands, even millions, of future seniors that were just in the same panic as I was. Valerie Chan, a future senior at Cerritos High School, admits. “I’m honestly so scared out of my mind, but I did take a look at the official UC website to check out the online applications and everything.” Whether you’re enjoying summer or fretting over applying to college, there’s honestly nothing to get head over heels stressed with. Cerritos High graduate, Jesse Lin, advises, “The most important thing is to find out which college suits you. Then just research colleges and get a head start on the essay topics.” He couldn’t have said it any better. Take the time to research the different universities. Spend some time figuring out what the majors cover. And remember: What are you passionate about? What’s important to you?

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