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My Thoughts After My First College Application Mental Breakdown

nomoodnomood 213 replies27 threads Junior Member
So I just had my first mental breakdown from college applications. I just finished and submitted and payed for my Stanford early app. A combination of stress and frustration just made me feel "Why am I doing this?" and "Nothing even matters."

Then I went and cried for an hour and my dad came and hugged me and we talked it out. I want to write out my thoughts and maybe help someone who might be going through the same thing.

Basically, my entire high school career has been dedicated to getting into college. I took classes that I thought would help me get into college. I joined clubs that I thought would help me get into college. I kept volunteering at a place that made me miserable because I had already been volunteering there for a long time and staying would show dedication.

I wish I took the classes that I wanted to take. I wish I took Marine Biology instead of AP Pysch. I wish I took APES instead of AP Stats. I wish I took Regular English instead of AP English.

I wish I joined anime club and Kpop club.

I wish I quit volunteering at that place earlier.

I wish I got a job during summer instead of going to expensive summer programs that were admittedly fun but had no purpose other than being able to write about it in a college essay.

Basically I wish that I had lived my high school career for me instead of for college. I wish I did what I wanted to do so I don't have to regret that I didn't do it now.

But I know that I have to move on, so I will. I'll have some mint tea and listen to magic shop by bts and I'll feel better.

Anyway, writing this out made me feel better and I hope that if someone else is going through this they'll also feel better.
47 replies
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Replies to: My Thoughts After My First College Application Mental Breakdown

  • PublisherPublisher 10367 replies130 threads Senior Member
    You made those choices; you could have made different choices.
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  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1775 replies14 threads Senior Member
    For most people, it is hard to buck the trend, and even if you regretted that you didn’t do the things that you wished you had done, I hope that you had learned meaningful things in AP Psych, APES, and AP English, you made contributions to your volunteer place, and you did have fun at the summer programs. Don’t cross out everything you have done/experienced.
    Just remember, the road not taken often is viewed in a better light, rightly or wrongly.
    Good luck with your senior year, wherever you go, you will be fine.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 10171 replies564 threads Senior Member
    This is a really good post. Thank you for sharing. You will get into the right college for you, so try not to stress. And in the future, yes, follow your heart. You’re young and hav plenty of time to live life on your terms. Good luck!
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  • oldfortoldfort 23195 replies297 threads Senior Member
    It is unfortunate you were misled that by taking those courses and doing those ECs instead of following your heart would make a significant difference in your college applications. I hope you get into some of those top options otherwise you would feel even worse.

    I agree with @tkoparent that it is good you are learning it now rather than later. You are going to have to make a lot of tough choices in life. If you always choose based on "it's something I must do" or "it is expected of me" then you will always have regrets. I think another thing to consider is "what is good enough" and it doesn't always need to be the best. The chance of getting into Stanford is very low for everyone. Maybe you'll end up at Berkeley, Cornell, Tufts...next tier down. Would it be really disappointing to you? I am speaking as a parent with high achieving 26 & 30 yr olds. Both of them are at the height of their chosen paths, but I spend most of time in trying to tell them to relax and enjoy their life a bit more.

    Good luck with your college application. Have all of your RD applications ready in case the Stanford option doesn't work out. It won't be fun to do 10+ applications over the winter break.
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  • browniesundaebrowniesundae 290 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Hugs and cheers to you, OP! And thanks for posting. You seem like a bright, sensitive, good person with a great dad. Best of luck!
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  • eb23282eb23282 732 replies19 threads Member
    To summarize, for any current HS kid reading this....
    Basically I wish that I had lived my high school career for me instead of for college.

    Know that you will be fine @nomood. Good luck.
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6175 replies1 threads Senior Member
    I think that you are doing well to figure this out at such a young age. Many students put way too much effort into trying to get into the "top" schools. In fact there are hundreds of very good universities in the US, and just as many outside the US.

    Do you know what you want in a university? People here can help suggest some schools if you have any questions.

    One daughter was interested in marine biology at one point, so I happen to have some ideas for schools that are good at it. However, since we live in the northeast of the US, most of the ones that I know of are in the northeast of the US or the eastern part of Canada.
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2974 replies71 threads Senior Member
    Well, I know a lot of kids "following their heart" and that usually means playing video games or watching YouTube videos all day. DD has told me of several kids "following their heart" who vape in the back of the classroom while attempting to finish homework due in next period's class. Which just goes to show that "following one's heart" isn't the only thing that gets one into Stanford.

    Don't discount your hard work and contributions to your community.

    I'm sorry you weren't happy all four years, but it sounds like you were productive, did the right thing (even if it was for the wrong reason), you helped some people by volunteering, and learned a lot about yourself in the four year process. That still sounds like a decent outcome to me. You worked hard in high school so as to have lots of choices for colleges, and I bet you will. I hope you will be able to explore marine biology, anime, and kpop - and more - while there. You didn't get a say in the rules of the game, but if you're a worthy candidate to Stanford, you must have played it well. Let go of your regrets lest they hold you back from going forward. You have a lot to be proud of and lots of your future still left to be lived. Good luck and enjoy the journey!
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  • StPaulDadStPaulDad 549 replies2 threads Member
    It's still only October, there's plenty of daylight left, so why not spend some time poking around schools you've never heard of? Don't settle for the famous name-brand schools, there are thousands of good to excellent schools out there full of funny, interesting, vibrant people like you located in places you haven't lived offering experiences you haven't had.

    Everyone has heard of MIT hacks, huge sports rivalries, lots of bonfires, the usual concerts and a litany of Greek hazing idiocy, but Google these things to see what less popular nonsense can be had:

    Juniata Mountain day storming the arch

    Taylor silent night

    usna herndon climb

    George P. Burdell

    Or heck just go find one of the many lists out there:


    Anyway, lots of fun stuff that makes one very good school different from another. Figure out what makes YOU tick, look at a bunch of places that aren't on the same list everyone is looking at, find a school that makes your heart sing. There's time to find a place just for you (and if it's not a tippy top elite place there might be more merit aid available as well.)
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  • Techno13Techno13 320 replies12 threads Member
    Thank you for writing this. I don't allow my D21 on CC (because this site can increase stress and be very demoralizing) but I'm going to show her this post. I think she is learning that for herself right now-- she really wants to join the hip hop club instead of MUN, and I told her to do it. It's incredibly hard to make these choices and I totally understand why you didn't. Because you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. No way to avoid regret. Welcome to the rest of your life!
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30022 replies59 threads Senior Member
    edited November 2019
    I’m really sorry you feel that your high school years were so terrible. I texted my kids to ask them how they felt about your post and they were “????”

    They did many of the things you did. But they enjoyed much of it and were glad to have some guide lines on what helps for college admissions.

    I’m a bit sad about your feelings about community service. One place, that so much needs volunteers told me that it’s only court ordered and high school kids needing the hours that volunteer any more. There are so many places that need a hand , and I wish people would give one without a threat over their heads.
    edited November 2019
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  • nomoodnomood 213 replies27 threads Junior Member
    @Momto2girls It's ok, I just ignore people like that. You don't need to defend me, but I appreciate it all the same.

    @cptofthehouse My school doesn't require any volunteer hours. I joined that organization because I thought I would like it, but in the end it turned out horrible for me.
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  • MWolfMWolf 2205 replies14 threads Senior Member
    @nomood There is a very bright light at the end of the tunnel, and it's called "college". You're now older, wiser, have a lot more freedom to do whatever you want outside of your classroom, forge your own academic path, and find your people.

    My kid, who did take the classes she wanted, engaged in the ECs about which she felt passion, etc, was still unhappy over large periods of time during high school. From her sophomore year she couldn't wait to finish and go off to college. She is having a great time at college, BTW.

    High school is an unhappy time for many kids, no matter what they do. Some kids are simply not built for high school. The ones who perform in high school as well as you did, despite being unhappy, rend to find that they really fit well in college.

    A friend of my daughter hated high school so much that she took the heaviest course load she could (while continuing ECs), and managed to finish high school in three years, so that she could leave it and go off to college. She's a sophomore and doing great, BTW.

    Do you want to study Marine Biology? I can tell you which colleges have amazing programs - programs which would love to have you. Although you were miserable in high school, you still put together a top quality profile. If you are rejected from Stanford, there is still a long list of amazing colleges at which you will be happy. By this time next year, it will be "High What?".

    It truly gets better, and I predict that you will really enjoy college.
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  • Jon234Jon234 407 replies10 threads Member
    Live your life moving forward. Don’t look back. Good to get it out. Wherever you end up in college try the things you want to try.

    Someone said further up that the OP could have made different choices, we don’t know that. Maybe these were choices made or influenced by well intentioned parents.

    You’ve got the rest of your life ahead of you. It’s going to suck at times but other times it’s going to amazing. Hang in there and good luck.
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