Satisfaction Lies in the Effort

“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.”- Gandhi

I finished my applications on Thanksgiving. I think (hope) that I applied to a few too many, but I am a pessimist. I feel rejections/waitlists coming, and my fingers are crossed for at least a couple acceptances. I like Gandhi’s quote, and I hope that I can keep it in mind next March/April. I worked so hard on college applications, SATs, grades, essays, the whole process, that the results of my applications should not be in the attainment of an acceptance, but rather in my effort.

But that is a bit idealistic. I would be crushed if I was rejected/waitlisted by all of the colleges, and the peace of mind I have now, I hope to have a bit of next spring.

In other matters of life, I am back to normalcy. I can focus on being a good family member and a good friend. I’ve abandoned all organization for the past few weeks – detrimental to both myself and my family. I’m making quite an effort to be less grumpy, more organized, and less stressed! Christmas is fast approaching (our tree is up!) and I realize how much my family means to me. Sometimes, I unconciously disrespect them, and I think this season is really when I remember how much I appreciate them.

Coming soon: book review, Quicksilver; book review, The Bretheren; baking, Christmas cookies


Am I Done Yet? Please?

Every Friday for the past three weeks, I think, this is the weekend. THE one. Where I get my original twelve applications finished and in through the common application. Yet, each time, though I do make progress, I can never live up to my goal. I submitted three applications today and yesterday – but I had fully planned on four. I rewrote and rewrote the supplement for one college until I realized I really don’t want to go there. I mean, I have my dream schools. I know I love them. I see myself on those campuses. I love the students, I love the location. I love the weather, and I love the classes. I have no doubt in my mind I would choose either of them over Harvard or Cambridge (I’m not applying to them, though). But, this one small LAC should appeal to me. It’s small, rural, and in New England. The campus is beautiful. But I have an odd inkling that I wouldn’t go there, even if I had to decide between it and the local university. So, interview to boot, I’m not applying.

I guess, in that sense, I’m finished with the original twelve, with one subtracted (or at least for now). And I’ve been accepted to BigStateU, so I’m definitely GOING to college next year, the question just remains where. I still have two LAC that I added to my list. They are last minute because a friend I met at college this summer influenced me. I love Quaker values, and the academic intensity at these schools. I still have to send my apps to these schools, but over Thanksgiving. So 12/14 schools applied to, 1 more to add.

It’s finally hitting me that the college app process is almost over. No matter what I do now, I’m practically finished and I just have to wait as they judge me. My fingers are crossed, but I’m a pessimist at heart. I expect, for the most part, rejections. I hate to say, but I need to fall out of love with a couple schools. I’ve had my heart set on them, but I’ve little chance. Now, I just need to be at peace with my applications: I’ve showed who I am, even if my heart showed a bit too much. Hey, at least the SATs are over with! And it’s almost Christmas. College applications are not as much work as people say – they just take thought.

Sigh of Relief with the First Snow

Apparently, yesterday was the first snow. I did not see any accumulation, but I did notice a few tiny snowflakes at lunch.  I love snow, and yesterday made me think about how November, December, and January are undoubtedly the best months of the year. I’m so excited for Christmas this year because I have associated it with the end of college applications.

Speaking of college applications, I turned in my most important application last night. I have wanted to attend this school since my sophomore year, so I literally hovered my mouse above the submit button for three minutes. And then, the silly common application pops up a new screen, “are you positive you want to submit this application?” So I have to press submit again. I currently have turned in 6 applications – and I plan on turning in (ideally) 4 more this weekend. At that point, I’m hoping in general, life will be a bit more relaxed because that leaves only a couple colleges left (either 2 or 4, I’m a bit hesitant with a two LAC.) I can see the end in sight. Admission is another problem all together. I’m pretty pessimistic about my chances, since these colleges are ridiculously difficult to get into. No matter how high my SAT score is, my GPA, how good my essays are, many of these colleges are “luck of the draw” colleges, i.e. what time of day did the adcom pick up your file and is s/he in a good mood. Obviously, you have to be qualified (which I think I am…) but so many people apply to colleges now that the competition is high. Even ten years ago, the acceptance rate at my favorite school was 30%, and now it is 20%.

There was something else I was going to say, but now I’ve forgotten. Anyway, Keith Olbermann was suspended from MSNBC. I never watched his show, because I think it can be inflammatory. Senator Bernie Sander (I, VT) is calling for reinstatement because of free speech rights. But I have to agree with MSNBC – Olbermann violated his contract in donating to politicians. MSNBC requires employees check with them before making political donations. Not only did Olbermann not do that, he also donated to politicians who were not in his area, or had just appeared on the show. Because Olbermann violated his contract, MSNBC had every right to suspend him. I suspect he will be back by the end of next week, but I’m happy with their actions. I don’t want MSNBC to continue on the path of becoming the Fox News for the left. On Fox News, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity outright ask for donations for Republican candidates on air, and they have Republican candidates on their payroll. I think this issue is pretty clear – there was a violation of contract. Liberals avoiding this fact are being hypocritical.

The Aftermath

Full Disclosure: I cannot vote. I can almost vote, but I had to pass the polls regretfully five times yesterday.

The work of many Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents all came down to yesterday. And there is still much work to be done – like in Alaska, with 40.2% of the vote consisting of write ins. Overall, the election is a mixed bag – the Democrats will keep control of the Senate, but will lose the House. However, I still think the President can and should work with the Republicans – the losses in the midterms reflect both bad public relations and weak bipartisanship.

One of the greatest losses in this election, I believe, is Senator Blanche Lincoln. More and more, both Democrats and Republicans tend to go to the extremes of their party: case in point, Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle (the Republicans more so… I can’t think of an extreme Democrat.) The moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats are disappearing – fast. Senator Lincoln was a valuable asset in the Senate for us fiscally conservative and socially liberal voters. Alongside Senators Snowe, Collins, and Specter, she was a voice of reason between two sides of vacillating power. I regret her loss.

Surprisingly, I’m not that downtrodden. My school levy passed, and I believe local politics are just as critical as national politics. I’m excited for the time when I can vote. If elections are this exciting when I can’t vote, what will they be like when I can?

Define Yourself

No, seriously. What would you do if you were asked to define yourself? You have seven pages of the common application, plus a supplement if asked. But don’t tell too much, after all, only fifteen minutes are spent reviewing your application. So you better be your best self. Don’t make any mistakes, mind you, and don’t be cliche.

Argh! Colleges have to know that I can’t define myself in an application. Yes, you know my grades, my SAT scores, my AP scores, my extracurriculars, my most important activity, and my family information. But how can you possibly know from the info on my Mom that she likes brain/cognitive science and that influenced me? Or that her organization has helped me? How can a college know about everyday things that I do that I think set me apart? They won’t know. So please, don’t tell me that I’m defining myself! I’m trying to give you a picture of myself, my academics, and my life. I’ll forget some things, undoubtedly, and I’ll never have enough space to write how my family has impacted me.

Obviously, I’m in the process of writing my applications. I hate waiting, and I hate knowing that there’s a point you get to with SATs, GPAs, essays, etc. where it really is just luck of the draw. The worst part is I made two small mistakes on my common application. One is similar to [a but the problem was resolved]. See that extra a? Isn’t it annoying? I hope the readers don’t notice or don’t care. Another is just schoolyear instead of school year. I’m okay with that one. I’m just so paranoid that I have more mistakes. I’ve read it ten times, and only found those two. Hopefully, since they read it ONCE, they won’t see them.

Anyway, I am submitting two more applications today. I was going to submit three, but I have not had an interview for the third. I just want to be able to click the check box “off campus interview.”

I hope anyone who actually reads this blog has a happy halloween. Good luck to all my friends applying.

Submitting Applications

I just submitted two applications. I’m very confident about my essay, and I read my application over probably twenty times. Still, I’m nervous about what I wrote. I, of course, had to read it again AFTER I pressed “Send.” I found a mistake. Not an egregious mistake, and college admissions officers probably won’t even notice. I accidentally put “schoolyear” instead of “school year.”

Sigh. Three applications down – Big State U, Ivy League 1, LAC. I find it amusing that the three I’ve submitted are all SO different. Well, the Ivy is practically a LAC, so I guess just the first. Still have ten or eleven left. Now, I’m going to go write that supplement for my FAVORITE LAC.

College applications are so much work!

The Joy of Editing

Tonight, I looked at my planner and I realized that I only had a take-home Calculus exam. So, after a good hour of relaxing (I used the time to catch up on last week’s 30 Rock and to call my Senator regarding Fair Elections Now Act) I shuffled to my computer to write my Common Application essay – edit number 9. Though most applications are not due until January 1st or January 15th, I am applying to a school Single Choice Early Action, so all my materials need to be in by November 1st.

I think, for me, what helps the most in editing and rewriting is physically, handwriting the entire paper again, with the changes. That way, I see the flow and am more concious of word choice. I’ve probably already spent 16 hours on ONE essay. I’m determined to make it the best I can. I have been so aggravated – I literally yelled at my parents in an editing session last weekend (not a smart move).

But after editing today, I had such an amazing satisfaction finishing the most recent draft. Knowing that I have crafted each sentence and analyzed its structure really gives a satisfaction that doesn’t come from writing a forty minute DBQ. And now come all the supplementals (as well as about four more edits of this draft…)