What are some of the first things that come to mind when you think of college? The all night parties or the absence of house counselors? For some, college is just one big party. For others, it is a dreaded obsession, a topic that causes sleepless nights and nausea among Phillips Academy students. Laura Eddy ’05 is just starting to feel the crunch of Senior Fall. She says she’s not a procrastinator, but with this week being the moment in the college process when she hands out her recommendations to her teachers, she can’t help but put off some homework. “It’s nerve wracking,” said Senior Laura Eddy. “It’s also exciting, it’s like shopping for schools where I’ll end up next year.” Paul Kim ’05 is planning to apply early action to Yale. He plans to apply regular decision to Stanford, and to a significant number of other colleges including Duke, Columbia and NYU. However intense his list may seem, Paul is a little more relaxed on this subject, although somewhat jaded. “It’s a process of entering a system. We’re just becoming numbers and stats on some sheets,” he said. “Some sheets can’t show who you are. It’s just personal data…the whole process is just discouraging. It just disillusioned me,” he added. Even if he is pessimistic about the application process, Kim is more optimistic about the end result. “I’m going to have a good time. For two years it’s not going to be hard and dull, at least I’ll be escaping restrictions and I’ll finally be placed on a real grid,” he said. “I started thinking about college all of Upper year,” said Eddy. “It made classes difficult, and everything began to count for college.” Kim guesses he started thinking about it his Junior year, although his perception then, is far different from now, “In ninth grade, I thought college was going to be a life-altering place when I would learn to mature. Actually, college is just another step. It won’t be the same as PA.” There is always a lot of hype built around the entire college process. Whether it’s our nagging parents, our teachers with their high expectations, or our curious classmates, Eddy claims that the hype comes from gossip above all things. “There is pressure from PA and from myself, but the gossip gets you thinking about it early,” Eddy said. “It’s a big thing on campus. The counselors say to not listen to the talk but people ask questions like, ‘Where are you applying?’ People are constantly talking.” She continued, “It can be interesting to talk about with friends, but it can be hard because people say things like, ‘So and so got in here,’ or ‘So and so got rejected from here.’” It is clear that Andover prides itself on its outstanding college matriculation statistics. The competition to get into an Ivy League school is hard enough, but when you’re competing with your peers to get into the same college it seems to make these Seniors nervous. “It’s out of control,” said Kim, “there’s so many bright kids.” He continued, “Coming to PA means less and less now. It used to mean something, but it’s harder to stand out. Some kids are ridiculously brilliant.” Eddy also dislikes the competition among Seniors to get into their desired colleges. “When college counseling started I realized [the competition]. Sometimes I couldn’t care less, but once in a while, I think there’s so many people that I have to compete with,” she said. Eddy and Kim, are at different stages of this long college process. Whether it’s the gossip or the stress over their applications, at least they can still look forward to a life a little more free than at PA.