Trapped with the world at my fingertips

Seniors look forward to their last year as it signifies an end of an era, but as my senior year began it seems like it came quicker than any of us would’ve liked. 

Teachers, parents and the faceless university emails force a repetitive sentence throughout the year: you need to submit your college applications. This sentence made me anxious as a student, as a daughter and as a person.

Some parts of my journey proved to be more of a lock than a key to the outside world. College applications are a time where students are judged based solely on how they look on paper; grade point average, extracurriculars and well written essays. The administrators looking at my application wouldn’t know me as a person based on these documents, they’d only know what I did in the past four years to make me worthy of being accepted. 

The administrators looking at my application wouldn’t know me as a person based on these documents, they’d only know what I did in the past four years to make me worthy of being accepted. ”

— Mayah Cerecer

The moment you walk onto your high school campus, a million eyes start studying your every move. Join a club, get straight A’s, do better! These were the words circling your head like a vulture, picking at every flaw. 

Whether you are an overachiever or an underachiever, you’ll never be enough. All the sleepless nights, missed social events and breakdowns will be dedicated to pursuing a higher education. 

Subtlety portrayed in social media, television and books, is the silent definition of how students should behave and carry themselves. These thoughts in their conscience, telling them how to act or what to be, places intense pressure on the student body. 

It’s a constant battle in the minds of young adults; either get accepted or be an outcast of society. There is no in between. Like the article “The Danger of High Expectations” says, “expectations become an anchor, not an engine.” I willingly risk my health, friendships/relationships and overall happiness for the sake of satisfying others expectations. 

Having an extra shot of caffeine was okay, if it meant I could stay awake to do my work. Taking the time to maintain healthy friendships would be for naught, if it got in the way of my future. And happiness was no longer my default setting since it meant I had to sacrifice my prospects. 

Oftentimes I would ask myself, Why does the education system demand so much from a child? 

That’s right, we’re children. Pushing past everything I was taught while I was in school, I came to the realization that a university wasn’t worth putting my entire being at risk. It didn’t make a difference that I wasn’t focusing all my time and energy into being the best.

Knowledge and awareness is essential in order to avoid further misunderstanding of what a student is expected to be. Although stopping the inaccuracies world-round is an unfeasible task, standing idly by the misunderstanding contributes to the problem. 

The educational patterns which have been etched in our brains make us believe that one perspective is accurate. This has propagated the idea of unrealistic expectations on how students have to be in order to succeed. Spreading like wildfire to impressionable youth and establishing ignorance in the minds of adults. As a collective group we are able to break the mold which was created for us, exceeding expectations on our own terms.  

Seeking reassurance and validation from the universities, overbearing parents and society is corrupting vulnerable students.”

— Mayah Cerecer

Seeking reassurance and validation from the universities, overbearing parents and society is corrupting vulnerable students. Putting every ounce of my being into crossing a finish line ended up putting my sanity and stability at risk of being pushed past its limits. Although university should still be a priority, it should not be able to be the puppeteer of a student’s life. I’m taking the journey at my own pace and at the same time I’m enjoying my life. As a child should.