Assorted questions

<p>I figured I couldn't go too long without bothering you kind and knowledge parents, or it would be massively out of character me. This junoir year has been a constant whirlwind of activity and stress, amnd I few questions/concerns have surfaced for me.</p>

<p>Academically, this year has been one of the most challenging I've ever had, and my schedule (Honors Japanese IV, AP Psychology, AP English, and PreAP Chemistry) doesn't look that tough on paper! Fortunately, I was able to maintain a 4.0 UW GPA the first 9 weeks of the semester, and I'm hoping and praying I can squeak by again. I also receive PE credit through a time-consuming (5hrs/wk) aikidou program, which I love, serve on the Interact exec board, participate in International and Literary Clubs, serve as an officer for the Japanese club, and practice for the Japan Bowl and Japanese speech contest.</p>

<p>The workload is quite intense, yes, but that's not my biggest complaint about school. I have very high noise sensitivity and can't stand fire drills at all. Law requires a monthly drill, and the anticipation of a fire drill just saps my energy. In fact, the stress has gotten so bad that I've seriously considered dropping out of school more than once during my years in the public school system. It's painful and quite draining, but 'tis the law, I guess.</p>

<p>One thing that's really been bothering me as of late is the fact that higher level Spanish, French, German, and Latin is all given AP weighting while higher level nihongo (Japanese) is only weighted as Honors. We probably do as much if not more work than the other languages, yet don't receive as much credit. Will colleges see high level Japanese classes (say level 6 or 7) as holding as much weight as an AP class in another language.</p>

<p>Another concern of mine has to do with my ranking. As of sophmore year, I'm ranked 64/1215 with a 4.5 W and a 4.0 UW GPA. Will colleges see my ranking in context with my huge class, or am I at a huge disadvange to those with higher rankings in much smaller classes?</p>

<p>Finally, I always hear on the boards about kids with "special backgrounds," etc. Would I fall into that category, or do colleges simply overlook circumstances such as mine? (Also, thanks to the poster that pointed out Christopher Reeve's movie. I video taped it and will watch it when I can find the time.)</p>

<p>On a couple more casual notes:</p>

<p>I'd highly encourage all the members of this board to watch Joan of Arcadia this Friday on CBS (8pm/7pm central) in part because it deals with college addmission process.</p>

<p>What age do kids start writing shortish stories for school assignments?</p>



<p>On the issue of Japanese, I think colleges will be massively impressed by the level you have achieved. As well, the more selective colleges will redo the scaling of grades so it does not really matter what weight Japanese was assigned as opposed to Latin.</p>

<p>Kudoes for doing well with what seems to me an extremely challenging curriculum and set of extra-curricular activities. If the noise bothers you so much, can you talk your principal into warning you when it will happen so you can absent yourself? Maybe the school nurse can back you on this?</p>

<p>Good luck.</p>

<p>PS: My S had a short story assignment in 9th grade, but I don't know if that was typical or not.</p>


<p>I definitely think that colleges will take your circumstances into consideration. You are so talented that you may want to write your essay about your ECs or love and language or some other activity and let your GC explain about your health issues.</p>

<p>Wolfpiper, I don't know enough about you to offer much advice but will make an attempt at a couple things you asked about. First, your GPA and rank are excellent so keep up the good work! The fact that Japanese is not AP but Honors is NOT a problem. They like seeing a student do a language many years and Honors is considered challenging as a course load and they will see on the profile that your school does not offer AP in Japanese so you ARE taking the highest level offered. Don't sweat that one at all. My concern would be, without knowing more information of course, is that you do not have any History or Math in 11th grade. I have no idea how many years of these subjects you have taken or what courses. Most college bound kids would have math and History in 11th grade I would think but I would have to see your entire transcript to comment more. </p>

<p>As far as the fire drills, you sound very affected by them between the sound sensitivity and anxiety over the unknown timing of the the point of talking of dropping out. This is not that common to feel. I urge you to talk to your counselor about this issue. Perhaps you can get some counseling over this anxiety or perhaps as part of talking about it, another solution might be if you truly are determined to have such a sensitivity, perhaps something can be worked out where you are informed ahead of time of drills or some other solution. I would talk to someone about that problem. </p>

<p>I have no idea what you mean asking if you would be considered to have a "special background" or if colleges would overlook circumstances such as yours as I do not know what circumstances you have. </p>

<p>As far as what age do kids start writing short stories for school? Again, this is rather vague to me. My kids were writing stories in primary grades. My kids have done a TON of writing every year for school assignments. I recall them writing stories starting in kindergarten. They are required to write numerous papers in their courses in high school as well.</p>


<p>OOps, I meant love of languages! :)</p>

<p>Marite, I had not even noticed that faux pas but now that you pointed it out, it is funny!</p>

<p>Wolfpiper, I think you're stressing too much. 64/1215 is the top 6%, which is outstanding no matter what size the class. The Japanese is impressive; you are showing clear dedication to it (and to other languages as I recall). Adcoms will know that there is not as yet any AP Japanese available. And I do think most adcoms will take into account what you have accomplished while struggling with your disability. Look at it this way: if you had no disability, you would still be considered a strong applicant. </p>

<p>I suggest you share your difficulties with fire drills with your principal or counselor.</p>

<p>Wow, how many schools offer Japanese and how many students take it? You sound like a great candidate already. About the drill, I would recommend that you talk to your counselor and ask that you be notified about it, if possible.</p>

<p>Wolfpiper -
Glad to hear from you again!</p>

<p>About the fire drill, certainly talk to your counselor. If the alarm goes off for a protracted period of time, maybe earplugs would help with the hyper-sensitivity. Also, talk to your aikidou master about the sound sensativity - this is a mind/body thing he or she may have suggestions on.</p>

<p>Let me tell you why I think this. A few years ago, I helped a friend of my with her (marginally trained) Freisian horses at the midwest horse fair in Madison. That afternoon, one of the mares broke my little toe which I was grooming her. It formed a blood blister under the nail that started to detach it. I had the choice of leaving the show and having it taken care or, or staying, leaving my boots on, and helping my friends with the show that evening. Since it was only the little toe, I stayed. It was intensely painful... until the moment that I lead the mare into an arena full of 5000 people to show her. At that point, my focus was <em>entirely</em> on the mare, and I didn't feel a thing. As soon as we got out of the arena, the pain started again. It was very odd.</p>

<p>Anyway, I assume that some sort of adrenaline and focus was going on that totally overrode the pain. It seems to me that many of the eastern disciplines are a lot more savvy about this type of thing, and could help. If you are stressfully anticipating the drill, the pain will be worse. </p>

<p>You are doing very well in school, but of course there is no certainty about competative admissions. What to do? Maybe focus on the road, the here and now in Japanese class, rather than the stressful goal of admissions acceptance. I suppose that this is completely backwards from the goal-oriented west. But if goals make you unhappy - off with their heads. Put your milestones on a calendar so you don't forget them. But maybe live a little more in today.</p>