While college applications can be an all consuming process, the habitual conversations centered around the college process can be extremely frustrating. The blurred line between small talk and college talk needs to become one that is more bold and defined. As our senior to-do list lengthens with supplemental essays or standardized testing, college related conversations are often stress inducing. Although the topic of college is a common source of stress, the stigma around the subject of college needing to be an unspoken subject only increases stress levels. Containing our fears and feelings about our future plans will only increase the tension that comes from the college process. Sure, I get frustrated with the countless questions from adults regarding where I’m applying, or how far along I am in the process, but I can appreciate the moments I have with my friends talking about where we see ourselves being next year. Rather than being taught not to talk about our future plans, we should be taught to support one another through this process and to capitalize on the excitement rather than the stress we are feeling.
The problem with the college process is that it has become small talk. In the past few months I have had the majority of conversations begin with, “so where are thinking of applying?” While future plans are something that shouldn’t be bottled inside, I do agree that it should not be the number one source of conversation. So yes, college conversation does need to be reduced, but it is healthy and normal to talk about future plans and current happenings. It is important to find a balance of being comfortable with discussing our future plans while being able to live in the moment. College and Career Center director Allison Bly said that while college conversation does need to be reduced, it is not realistic to expect it to go away. Like many professionals who are involved in the college process, Bly advises that when students do talk about college, they should focus on supporting one another by discussing future plans in a non- judgmental, helpful way.
The unknown of the future can be a very scary concept, but if we feel like we are not allowed to talk about it, it will become even more intimidating. I hope that in the next few months we can have open discussions with one another about how we’re feeling regarding our future plans and work towards supporting one another through this stressful time.
Rather than viewing this process as a competition, we should help one another find a general excitement for the future. For those of us who are seniors, let’s try to embrace our remaining days as high schoolers. A big, inevitable part of being a senior is that this is our last year together. We need to allow this process to happen and in doing so it should not be forbidden to discuss such a big part of our current lives.