Steamboat Springs OK, juniors, take a deep breath. You'd better relax now, because next year, your world will be turned inside out, twisted, and so busy, you will wish you had an extra seven hours in the day to give you time to sleep.
Well, that's just what my year has been like, and it didn't help when "senioritis" kicked in about two weeks into the second quarter. But that's irrelevant. What you need to know is how to handle everything.
First: Make sure you really want to go to college. If you didn't like high school, then college probably won't be any different. Take a year off and work, maybe you'll change your mind or find something that you really want to do with your life.
Almost immediately, you have to decide which colleges to apply to, and what your intended major is. This really threw me for a loop. I couldn't decide what to do Friday night, let alone what career I wanted to settle into for the rest of my life. I was forced to think about what I really enjoyed, what I was passionate about. Initially, it was interior design, like my older sister. About a week later, it was industrial design. Then I wanted to be a history teacher, an architect, and finally, an international businesswoman. I felt like I was a little kid again, continually proclaiming what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I took about a dozen career tests on the Internet, which I strongly recommend doing, and one of the careers that continually appeared on the results was journalism. Hmm, I thought, I love to write, why not give a try? From there, I used the collegeboard.com Web site to conduct a search of schools which offered journalism programs.
Two schools caught my attention, so I took two weeks off of work and school and bought plane tickets to Washington and Arizona, two places where I could see myself living for four years. I looked at about four different schools, and to my dismay, I realized how much I would miss Colorado.
I was shocked. I always told myself I would get as far away as I could, but all of a sudden my inner self was screaming to go back home. This was an important lesson, and you should always visit the campus and town where you think you want to go. As I found out, you could be surprised.
After deciding which schools you want to apply to, go talk to your teachers and several community members about letters of recommendation. The sooner you bother them about these, the better, because everybody hassles them at the same time. You will need these for your applications as well as scholarships.
I applied to all my schools in October, and I was ahead of the game. I only applied to two, but some of my friends applied to as many as four or five. Make sure you do your favorite schools first, because you'll find out how time-consuming each application is, and do each one on the Internet. It is so much quicker and easier.
Then you wait. You check your mail daily. When it finally comes, you'll know right away what your answer is. If it's a letter, you didn't get in; a large envelope means you're golden.
Immediately, you want to start to apply for financial aid and scholarships. These take even longer, because you have to be thoughtful and manipulative at the same time, so you stand out. Don't wait for deadlines, because they approach too fast. The school generally sends you everything you need, such as housing applications, and you want to send them in as soon as you get them.
After everything, you'll be able to breathe. Make sure you do it before spring break, because once you come home, you'll never concentrate again. Now it takes me an hour just to read three pages in my English book. But don't stress out too much; don't ditch too many classes, and take advantage of the time you and your friends have left.
Believe me, your senior year flies by.