Don’t Worry, Be Happy

I remember lying on the Great Lawn last year, with my books sprawled in front of me, pretending to study. Now, spring term is here again, but it’s not Lower year anymore. The haunting stories I’ve heard about Upper Spring are countless. With the History 310 papers, standardized testing and college counseling, I expect nothing less than a sleepless term. However, I plan on carrying out the term just like any other I have survived here at Andover: by not stressing about college too much. Most Uppers have met with their college counselors already. Based on the Upper Questionnaire, which I finally finished over spring break, these meetings must have covered every student’s life story. I was so busy with theatre, clubs and applying to summer programs that I didn’t have time to finish the questionnaire and meet with my college counselor. So what if I didn’t do it in time? I shouldn’t be thinking too much about college just yet, and neither should the other Uppers. However, I spent a lot of break searching colleges on Naviance. I searched for the perfect college, one I could get into. It surprised me that colleges had accepted such a wide range of GPAs. Maybe I’ll be going somewhere after Andover after all! I wondered to myself, “How on earth did someone with that GPA get into that school?” and “The average accepted GPA was that?” Then, I came up with an answer. Your GPA can only get you so far in the application process. There has to be more than just grades to your application, like uniqueness, individuality and motivation. Some kids don’t understand that. They have to realize that most of their friends will be applying to a lot of the same colleges they are. There is competition between the students of the school, not just students all over the nation. Yale can’t accept every student from Andover with a 5.0. I also spent much of my break on Facebook, and boy did the word “college” come up on my Newsfeed. I expected Seniors to be talking about it, but to see Uppers already moping about it was unsettling. Uppers praised their recently visited school vigorously, whether those schools were Yale, Harvard, Princeton or any other college one chooses to mention. Okay, I get the message: a lot of people were visiting college, and I wasn’t one of them. While most Uppers were traveling and visiting schools, I was home, sleeping 14 hours a day. It’s great that my fellow Upper Middlers are getting ready to tackle their second or third meeting with their college counselors and preparing for Senior Fall, but we shouldn’t make college the subject of every conversation. It’s sad, actually. Don’t we have lives to live and talk about? Why not worry about the present, about the tests we have to study for and the papers we have to start writing? Can’t we worry about colleges when we have to? Many of you are probably getting ready to answer that question. You are probably thinking that stressing about college, papers and plans for the summer are what Upper Spring is all about, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Why not put all of our time and energy into hitting the books and doing what we love, and leave the college researching for the summer? Maybe it’s just me, but I know I will not let this college stuff get in the way of me doing what I care about most. Of course, I’m going to end up worrying about college sometimes (I still have to meet with my college counselor), but I don’t plan on stressing and talking about it every chance I get. Let’s relax while we can, go to a few games and cheer on our teams, stay a few extra minutes in Commons for dinner, meet new people, and do what we enjoy doing after classes. We won’t have much time for that come Senior Fall. Enjoy it while you can! Sam Oriach is a three-year Upper from Haverhill, MA.