Overcoming the Stress of College Essays

Bianney Perales, Staff Editor

Seniors: Quick, stop biting your nails, get out a piece of paper, and breathe. College essays can feel like grains of sand stuck throughout your of hair. Thank God college essays are only temporary.

Here’s one way to go around finishing your essays: Start with jotting down ideas you have for every prompt you need to fill. Choose the one you will write more about. Choose the idea or topic that will suit you most. College essays are draining when they are left last minute so stay ahead of your timeline.

Now write your heart out. Don’t force yourself to sound like the twenty-first century, Shakespeare. No one likes a smart Alec or even worse, a poser. You need to sound like yourself, just with fewer grammatical errors.

Next, while you are writing you need to keep it stuck to your brain that you MUST answer the prompt.

Also, the college essay portion of your application is the part where your humanity shows. If your resume builds up your reputation and ego, the essay is where you fall back to earth and deconstruct your skyscraper to reveal the foundation underneath.

Even more so, do not be ashamed to speak of your past or what you truly like to do. If you only did community service to graduate, don’t talk about how you love helping the homeless. That is not your story, that is someone else’s. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but you do not want to flatter your competition; you want to flatter yourself. So if you want to write about how your mom wakes you up on a Saturday at dawn to clean and the lemon scented chemicals burn your lungs, then write it. That is relevant to you, that is what you experienced, and only you experience it the way you do.

Now, write at your own pace, within reason. Finish your essay. For real, push yourself to finish the same way you push yourself to eat another fry when you know you are full.

Your work is not done yet, now ask a teacher to look it over. Ask your parents and friends for their opinions. Your story is unique but it has to resonate with the average person. Try to seek out constructive criticism. Compliments are rewarding however, you can not benefit without some pointers and conflicting opinions. Complicated, I know but take another breath.

Now you have the final product. Breathe a deep breath filled with anxiety and surely tears, since this essay is now your child, and send it out into the world of admissions.

You overcame the essay. Now to overcome the wait until you get your results.