How to Chill When I’ve Lost My Chill

david v2
David Guirgis, 2015 Finalist and QuestBridge Blogger

Hello, it’s me. I’ve been wondering if after all these years of working towards college by freaking out over supplements and drowning in difficult coursework and extracurriculars, you’d like to talk about almost being done.

Adele aside, I think I’m speaking for most of us when I say that four years of staying up late to finish internship paperwork and study for eight midterms is finally taking its toll.

That’s my story, anyway. I’m not bragging when I say I’ve worked really hard throughout my high school career, especially the last two and a half years; it just is. And don’t get me wrong—I love everything I do, and to a certain sadistic extent, I enjoy staying up and working. (Not that I hate sleep; I pull late weekends to compensate.) But lately, I’ve been beginning to feel myself running down, and I’m not quite sure how to stop myself—or even if I should.

Around junior year, I applied to become a writing intern for a Medium publication and grammar blog called The Yuniversity, and the piece I was asked to write to be considered was optimistic at best. I wrote about my inability to say no to work, and how much I love jam-packed days and projects. And of course, I still do. But I’m also in need of a break. And chances are, if you’re reading this, you are, too. If you’re a college admissions officer, you’re seeking some sort of reprieve  from the onslaught of applications you have to sort through, and if you’re a senior like me, you’re fifty shades of wiped out from four years of hard work and awesome achievements. More and more, I’m going through days that wallow in work-stimulated perpetuity; morning gets lost in its translation to afternoon, and as a result I’m stuck in this limbo where I want this day to end but am certain it never will. (That’s senioritis, I guess.)

We’re all in need of a vacation. With the pressure of getting into college having loomed over us for a while, we’ve had to quickly acclimatize and adapt to what we knew would be coming soon. And for a lot of us over the years, that meant giving up free times to work. After a while, your entire high school life becomes a series of schedules and sparse free dates scattered over six months that you just know will fill up quickly. Simply put, I don’t know how to relax anymore because I’ve gotten used to not being able to. I can still crack jokes about my plans to camp out in bed with a bowl of Talenti and Google Images searches of Penn Badgley, but in all honesty I’ll probably be hunched over my laptop finishing homework and Regular Decision stuff.

We need to remember that we’re supposed to be enjoying senior year, not trying to figure out what enjoying senior year even means anymore. For four years, we’ve had to keep it together—extracurriculars had to be in check, grades had to be on point, essays had to be so good they’d have made Whitman cry. (Hopefully.) We’re on the verge of being done. And I’m not saying to throw out the second semester, but it’s okay for us to unwind, just a bit.

I just have to figure out what that even means first. If you’ve figured it out, let me know.

by David Guirgis, 2015 National College Match Finalist