College Ready? Who Knows.

She’s sweet, innocent, kind, bubbly. Her high-pitched voice can be recognized by anyone. She’s vibrant, energetic and her smile is infectious. In her own world throughout the hallways, like a dainty flower, living her best life. Her hobbies include gymnastics, hanging out with friends, binging Netflix and color coordinating her scrunchies. Her smile is warm, she beams sunshine. Her peers, teachers, and friends all feed off of her vibrant attitude. However, under all her smiles, giggles, and sweet hugs lays the stress, the tears and fears of her future.

Her name is Madeline Atwood, a senior at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA), a performing arts high school in Queens, NY. Seniors are in the midst of the college process, setting up applications, rehearsing for auditions and taking exams. She speaks out about the stress senior year with deadlines, her family’s expectations, her teachers expectations, and her friends. The feeling became overbearing.

“We’re always told that senior year is the easiest year and all you have to do is apply for colleges, but honestly it feels a lot harder and more intense than any other year at Sinatra,” Madeline said. “ It would be going a lot better if I had a little more guidance through this whole process.”

College is an idea of the future and most high schools students can’t comprehend it, until it’s becomes a reality. Madeline is one of the many students who feels lost.

“It’s super hard to find the ‘right’ college for you when everybody has different opinions on everything,” she said. Madeline believed the voice of others was important, but sometimes overpowering on top of everything else she felt.

With so many deadlines, requirements and essays, Madeline feels as if it is easy to get lost in all the chaos, which she did. It was 10:30 am on Wednesday in the middle of her government class where the pressure became too heavy.

“I was really stressed and I wasn’t sleeping. I couldn’t go to class I just had to sit in the guidance office and cry for hours,” Madeline said. “School, teachers, and administrators don’t realize that just because we are applying to colleges that our outside life isn’t put on hold.”

Madeline explained after her breakdown that she realized she was lacking the support system of her school, her family and she finished off her story with a little piece of advice for the future generations applying to college.

“I would tell the underclassmen that the college process starts from freshman year, everything counts as leads to this moment in life,” Madeline said.

She now believes, in this process it’s important to have a strong support system.

– by Valerie Ryan ’19