COLLEGE MATTERS: Figuring out big life questions at 17 isn’t easy

(Senior Aishwarya Nadgauda, Online Editor-in-Chief, will be writing a blog on the college-admissions process this year.)

Over the past two days, I have spent eight hours agonizing over my college essays. The Common App was asking me to convey the essence of my being in 650 words. I saw two problems with this:

1) I am 17. I haven’t really figured out any answers to the big life questions such as “Who am I?” or “What is the purpose of my existence on the Earth?”

2) If I did have the answers to these questions, I would not be able to explain them in 650 words.

But talking to other students applying to college, I realized that they don’t have answers to these questions either. The good news is, for the most part, everyone is in the same boat.

“I was afraid that since I’m white, and I haven’t had any hardships, and I go to a private school that I wouldn’t have anything that a college would consider significant or interesting to write about,” senior Maxwell Shukuya said.

After college counselor Jane Bauman shared previous students’ essays with us, I realized that my essay does not have to be on some profound, life-changing moment.

Take, for example, the essay by Jacob Frankel, ’14, discussing his love for the environment through his fish tank.

Even though the essay was not about some heart-breaking tragedy in his life, it still revealed a lot about him and what he wanted to study.

Although I have yet to figure out my essay topics, I can breathe a sigh of relief. I don’t need to have everything figured out quite yet.

But the sigh of relief is a small one. I’ve spent all summer mulling over what I want to tell colleges through my essays, and I’ve come up with very little. Hopefully that’ll change soon.

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