One of the best pieces of advice I got from college preparation workshops was that the application process was very therapeutic.
It seemed like a far-fetched concept at the time. I was only a junior and anticipating a year of paperwork before even getting to college. Now, as senior year closes out, I realize it rings true.
Step 1: Who Am I?
First were the applications. I had to write…about myself. For most people, that’s a hard thing to do. I wrote, rewrote, read and proofread my personal essay countless times.
I learned a lot.
Not only about the way I write, but about the way I am. I got to explore ideals that I held dear to my heart, but never really took the chance to explain. I had an opportunity to talk about topics I would’ve never considered, and learned more about topics I forgot about as I grew up.
I did a lot of reflection on my life. And in the end, I had a better understanding of who I am intrinsically.
Step 2: Where Do I Want to Be?
The second part was choosing a college. Originally, I thought I would just know what college was right for me. I let the months pass by, living in this deluded state, and with each passing day I grew more anxious.
My top choice changed with the Chicago winds, but each time I got closer to the place that I would call home.
As I looked at colleges, I got a better understanding of who I have become in terms of lifestyle. I got to see what things I looked for in a place of residence, like open space and nice architecture. I got a better understanding of what kind of people I wanted to surround myself with, so as to better my educational experience.
Step 3: A Time to Reflect
While the overall process of applying to colleges and choosing a college was stressful, I am actually happy I went through it. I was forced to take the time to reflect and really think about things—something I lacked time for throughout high school.
I grew to understand how I can fit into the world on my own.