My friends and I are counting down the days until the first semester of senior year ends, until we can officially declare ourselves “second semester seniors.” Maybe then, I’ll be able to go on a proper vacation, because I haven’t gone on one in a few years, unless you count exhausting debate tournaments or college trips.
And the college process itself is brutal. I don’t hate colleges, I just abhor the process itself. The colleges themselves are merely wonderful institutions full of opportunities, but the process seems to have brought out the worst in all of us. It has torn families apart, it has stressed me out beyond belief, and it has scared me to death. Peers, who used to look out upon the world with wide and innocent eyes, now squint at the sun and scurry back inside to slave away at their homework (a little exaggeration, but that’s honestly what it feels like). My college counselor puts it simply: we are, but should try not to, sell our souls to the devil.
Is it too extreme to say that I no longer believe in altruism anymore? Maybe I’ve been feeling too pessimistic, but it seems like every service project, every volunteer opportunity, every leadership position has just become a row on a Common App, a check on a box, a mask for something to augment, to boost, to plump up someone’s college application.