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College Application Cabin Fever

By Kara Kubarych

“My back aches!” “I think I’m going blind!” “My neck is killing me!” Oh, the woes of being a senior.

I’m not talking about a senior citizen. No. I’m talking about me and my fellow high school seniors scrambling to complete a seemingly endless sea of college applications.

The struggle made for an unprecedented winter break from school to say the least. Before ascending to the ranks to high school senior, I spent the winter holidays of my life cozy and carefree with my family in our mountain cabin. I happily filled those days snowboarding, sledding, cooking, reading, relaxing and playing with friends and family. Before this year, I never could have imagined anything but a fun-filled, joyous vacation, frolicking in the snow and enjoying my blissful state of childhood.

Then “seniorhood” rolled around, and everything changed. After a week of final exams, I went home only to fire up my laptop once again and confront the daunting task of completing 12 college applications in less than 12 days. Jan. 1 - deadline day - loomed ahead, rapidly steamrolling over me. After a weekend at home in an organization coma, I piled into the car for the long drive up to Mammoth. As I sat in the back seat - my three dogs jumping on me and my parents’ book-on-tape blaring - I started to dread my “vacation.” With an intermittent internet connection at our house in the trees, I could foresee nothing but doom.

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The weather must have sensed my gloom, as blizzard after blizzard struck us. It was as if the howling wind whispered in my ear, reminding me to finish this essay or that one, to come up with a better hook that would really grab the reader. All the while my parents and brother spent the days skiing and socializing in the lodge. It redefined cabin fever for me. Even when I carved out time to go snowboarding, my usual eagerness to fly off the top of the mountain and jump off cliffs had all but vanished. I couldn’t help but feel numb with anxiety. Jan. 1 was coming faster than an avalanche.

When I woke up on Christmas morning, snowflakes floated down from the sky and the smell of fresh coffee wafted up to my room. It couldn’t have been a more picturesque White Christmas. But when I rolled out of bed, the magic of the morning had disintegrated into cyberspace. As I dragged myself down the stairs, it was official. I am not, sadly, a little girl anymore. I voted for president on Nov. 4. I am 18 years old. I am going to college next year!

I spent two weeks of my life, along with millions of other high school students, aching and groaning like an elderly senior while finishing my applications. We are all still high school seniors, about to leap out of the fishbowl and enter the sea. We are not little kids anymore, but young people ready to take the next step in our lives and discover a different magic than a White Christmas - a world vast, fresh and exciting that is waiting for us.

Kara Kubarych is a senior at La Jolla Country Day School where she is co-editor-in-chief of The Palette.