The last seventeen years of my life have followed the same routine. My life has unfolded in the most ordinary, unassuming pattern. A pattern laid down before me to tread on, without the need of any second thoughts. Spending seven hours in school, making and unmaking friends, obsessing over the actors in the newest movie, losing myself in the never-ending pile of school work; just the ordinary, as you’d expect. And now, that pattern has come to an end and I am completely unaware of how my life will unfold.
For the last few months of my twelfth grade, the thought of never attending school again was a constant source of joy. Often in moments of stress I would retreat into the comfort of knowing that in a few months, stress would be a forgotten thing. Oh the naivety of a school going child. Completely ignorant of the mountain of a challenge that awaits her. The challenge of getting into college.
Nothing prepares you for how harrowing the entire process of getting into college and securing a stable future is. This saga of confusion, anger, disappointment, helplessness and jealousy begins with deciding what stream of subjects you want to pursue. For some, this is a cake walk decision, as they’ve planned out their entire lives to the point of knowing the localities in which they should look for houses to raise a family in, taking into consideration their earmarked salary of their earmarked job. However, for someone who has not thought past how she wants her eggs in the morning, it is a terribly difficult decision to make. After giving it much thought and finally arriving on a course to study, the task of applying to colleges arises. This is a stage of filling out application forms and writing down humdrum factual details of yourself, like your ‘name (as of tenth grade marks card)’, ‘date of birth’, ‘permanent address’, ‘parent’s address’, ‘marks in 11th and 12th grade’ over and over again. Making you feel much like a clothing item ready to be packed and shipped away rather than an actual thinking person. Then comes the interview. Where you have to present yourself as much more than a thinking person, but also as a person who has played every sport, been an ‘active member’ of the art, drama, chess, literary, music and dance club, and an “all rounded individual who if given a chance will contribute a great deal to the respective college, and will be honoured to be a part of it”. Finally, the interviews are done, and you think you’re safe. You think you’ve taken all the necessary steps required to secure a steady future. But that’s when the rejection letters start flooding your mailbox, and you realise you hadn’t even considered the possibility of being rejected after everything you did.
Thus the saga ends, and you’re not back to step one, instead you’re at a step preceding that. A step where you feel absolutely helpless, confused at what is to be done now and are questioning all the decisions you’ve made. You’re future still remains lost behind a thick fog, and you’re left wondering whether that fog will ever clear up.