Winter is not a good season for somebody like myself, especially winter ’13. Setting aside the cold weather, a bout of flu and all those layers of clothing, this is a crucial and unnerving time for the Batch of 2014 in essentially every little, big school of Pakistan. So, I guess, many people would agree with me when I say, “Winter 2013 is not a welcome sight; only the SAT, SAT 2, the Foreign Applications Process and the College Essays to worry about!”
First, the SAT. What it does is squeeze all bits of sanity out of you and then throws you to the sharks. Yes, it’s that painful. Four hours of Maths and English isn’t as much fun as it seems. It’s technically four hours of intense scrutiny, double-checking and total focus. After finishing a diagnostic test, one can justifiably question one’s life purpose.
Ten diagnostics in a row and you officially lose hope in surviving. The top side is; you start making grammatically correct sentences. You can now unleash the Grammar Nazi in you on unsuspecting people on the internet. Congrats.
Then there is the college search and the applications process. With college applications come all the usual expectations from family members. Hard to believe but it isn’t child’s play getting into Harvard, Cambridge or Oxford which, quite conveniently, are the only universities that come to the tongues of grandparents and other elders. That added to the pressure exerted by the parents to get into someplace good and make their money’s worth, it’s a wonder how most of us escape mental compression.
Finally, we have to write the essays. College essays are fundamentally a formal and professional way of telling you that all your hard work of the past five or so years now depends on your ability to write about your life. Basically, we transitioned from the O’ levels to the A’ levels and braved the SATs to find out that this ‘Personal Statement’ is more important than all of the above? Oh well, I didn’t want to go abroad anyway.
In the light of all these dilemmas that we high school students face, I reckon that we deserve some slack and that our efforts warrant some credit. It isn’t easy balancing all these burdens simultaneously without losing your mind. Or, maybe I am wrong and I am the only one going crazy in this business. Maybe this drama is all in my head. After all, “You are a slave, a bound helpless slave to one thing in the world, your imagination.”
Perhaps, Mr Fitzgerald meant education rather than imagination, but I digress. Either way, we are in shackles!