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There are some who never even consider college. There are some who struggle to make ends meet and cannot consider taking classes at the community college. For the rest of us, a growing population as education becomes stressed more and more in society, there is that seemingly Huge and Looming event in our young lives: college.

Some parents and children start thinking about college right from birth. College is always a good topic to throw around at any age, from Kindergarten and onwards, but it doesn't start to become truly tangible until about the 10th grade with the advent of the PSATs. This is before one thinks too much about the evils of the College Board and the evils of standardized testing. However, this is also when college-bound students begin scrutinizing themselves as they wonder how to make themselves well-marketable to colleges. Then, comes junior year. This is often the year many competitive students refer to as, simply, "Hell." Competition and Capitalism begin to show their true colors, and in my case, I often went to bed drunk on caffeine and my AP US History reading, dreaming of a better, kinder world where intelligence was not such a commodity. This is when students truly get wrapped up in petty matters, mostly numbers, numbers, numbers. SAT scores. AP exam scores. GPA. Etc, etc. This is also when less competitive students may wonder about their own worth in a society where numbers are held at such a high priority. Amidst worries about Prom, finding one's self, the social scene, a student often stresses over being in the middle 50th percentile of SATS at a favorite school and the like. Thus, the cycle of worrying about every worthless detail in life continues.

Next comes senior year. Contrary to popular belief, this is actually the most difficult year of high school most students will have to face. Students begin visiting colleges like mad, contemplating the virtues of a party school versus a liberal arts education versus schools' particular political agendas, etc. A few I visited include Georgetown University, University of Virginia, and the College of William & Mary. Each school had beautiful architecture and preppy, conscientious students. However, I think I learned far more about the landscaping more than anything truly substantial. This is also about the time when admissions counselors start touring schools and when students finalize decisions (After attending a meeting concerning Brown University, I promptly fell in love with the eccentric student body and Open Curriculum and hastily applied to Brown Early Decision). Students, carrying school workload, part-time jobs, extracullicular activities, and such are in quite a fervor trying to decide if they should apply Early Action, Early Decision, and Regular Decision and writing those quality essays that will make admissions counselors gasp "Oohs" and "Aahs."

(Then again, there are some who take the college application process in stride. Some actually complete all the applications over the summer (requires the kind of motivation which I, as well as thousands of American students, lack), and then, there are those who just don't give a damn)

After this, it's results time. The main question that one asks is: Thick envelope or thin envelope? It's time for trembling hands and for many, a rejection from a college may be the first blow the real world deals them. I have yet to get to this last step, however, as I still have an entire month before Brown sends me their decision of acceptance, rejection, or deferral. I cannot say I am truly worried, though, and it's not because I think that there is a great chance that I'm going to be accepted. No, this is due to a well-known virus developing into a full-blown case of Senioritis.

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