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A Teen's View

Touching Reality

Kat Dart

(3/2012) It's hard to believe that three years of preparation are starting to come to a head as the end of junior year looms ahead. Even as I type on my laptop on the floor of my bedroom, I see my SAT study guide in one corner of my desk and a copy of "Princeton Reviewsí 365 Best Colleges" open to the "M" section as it lies on top of information packets.

Three years of prep work for college, and as senior year becomes the light at the end of the tunnel, we the juniors are swamped with mail (electronic and snail), and constant standardized test reminders, and scores for said tests, and guidance councilors on our backs because this is the year it all matters -

And then, to top it off, most juniors are also understanding that they need to have a good college application Ė they cannot just have good grades and test scores, for those scores are purely academic. Those scores may help to define how good a head one has on their shoulders, but they do not under any circumstances define the more liberal part of the brain.

And thus, there is the reason for the section to describe extra activities outside of school on the application. Someone can have an unweighted 4.0 GPA, with high scores on AP exams and SAT/ACT tests, and not get accepted to a college.

Colleges search for the active, involved, and interesting people Ė thatís why extracurriculars are so actively examined. The Applications office will look for the years that a high school student participated in a certain activity, and they look for a variety of activities, your commitment to them and your loyalty to them.

Beyond what colleges are looking for, we juniors are also realizing that, oh right, we have to pay for college (after acceptance) because itís not free Ė and submitting an application isnít cheap either. So many of us look for a job, but with the economy thatís more than a little difficult Ė who wants an inexperienced, hyper teenager when they can have a mature, responsible adult with experience (with the exception of people interested in what teens have to say Ė like Mr. Hillman, and the others who run this newspaper)?

These past few years have been amazing in helping me figure out what I like and donít like in regard to hobbies, and academically, and habitually. I have found, for example, I love writing but dislike essay work. Writing is my preferred area of academics, but Iím stronger in history and science classes. I love working with technology, but dislike graphic designing.

Iíve also found my strengths and weaknesses. Iím very good at researching things, but Iím very bad at planning for deadlines. I can memorize facts easily, but I take bad notes and lose focus too easily.

Finally, I suppose one of the hardest things that I realized throughout high school is that I have many, many acquaintances I can get along with very well. However, I went through my facebook friends (a feature on FaceBook that allows you to virtually connect to people you know) Ė I went from "being friends with" three hundred and eighty seven people to eighty three in one swoop. And in that eighty three, excluding family, I would actually call a grand total of six people my friend.

Thatís just counting the people on a virtual friending website. Counting people I know who do not have an account on facebook, I would add about three more to that list of six people.

Nine people. Nine. I talk to about three hundred people, and I would call nine of them my friend.

And of those nine people, only two I would talk to about almost anything. I say almost because, we all have our secrets. And somethingís only a secret if only one knows about it. Two people is private, three is semi-private, four is the whole world.

So yes, nine people. Those are the people I will try (and hopefully succeed) in keeping contact with during and after college. They are the ones I will catch up with when we are back for breaks. And they are the ones, who since I consider friends, will reach out to me as I will to them.

Honestly, it was a startling realization to come to. However, I try to be a realistic and the reality is that I will fall out of contact with many people I know now, because of distance and time and the fact that, bluntly, we arenít friends. We are acquaintances that have crossed paths, we may get along well, but chances are that we wonít think to reach out and contact each other.

So hereís the question for the month: When thinking about time management, distance, availability, who is really your friend? Who will you actually keep in touch with?

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