What’s your ACT score? Have you gotten 100 service hours yet? Is your GPA above a 4.0? What clubs are you involved in? Are you involved in any sports? Do you have any AP/IB college credits?
I’ve been getting bombarded by these questions since the first day of high school. I get asked these question since I’m in an extremely college-obsessed environment at school and at home every day of my life.
Freshman year I started to wonder if I wanted to go to fashion school instead of the normal four-year liberal arts college I had been planning for. If I was going to do it, my high school experience might not have needed to be so intense and I had to decide what is the right future for me.
My whole life I have been pushed to build myself into the perfect college candidate. I was taking the ACT in seventh grade, president of student council in eighth grade and always had all A’s. Now that I am in high school, it has only gotten more intense.
I may not have the straight A’s aspect anymore but I don’t consider it that important now that I’m in IB and have six weighted classes. I run a club, have played three sports, get 50 hours each of active or creativity hours for IB and the 50 hours of service, which is why I run two SHARE projects. I spend my free time with an ACT tutor or in the journalism program. I have dragged myself through the mud and sold my soul to Satan to hopefully get into a great college, but I now am questioning if that is what will make me happy.
With all that intensity one thing that made me happy and didn’t cause me anxiety was fashion. I have loved fashion since I was young, buying Vogue’s in seventh grade and always rebelling against my Catholic grade school’s dress code. In high school, I started my own website and began doing styling jobs for local stylists. It made me realize that I’d rather pursue a life in the business side of fashion, I’m meant for fashion school.
Since I had been programmed for a completely different college plan, I thought that fashion school was only for designers or fashion photographers. I was disappointed because even though I loved fashion so much, those were not fields I had any interest in. Meeting different stylists and people like East alumnus Gaby Azorsky helped me realize there was a business side of fashion. The more I learned about that, the more I realized that was something I could succeed in, and be happy in.
After I learned about that, I was split between going the safe route of a standard college, getting some sort of business/personal relations degree there and having job security or taking the risk –- fashion school – and go for it. For me this choice is scary because I’m not going the safe route I have been prepared for. I’m having to branch out and am learning to make my own future.
I have contemplated the pros and cons of each over and over in my head, but I am only 16 and it is difficult to make these decisions on my own. Recently my IB Visual Arts teacher Adam Finkelstein gave me some great advice. He told me I need to go for my dreams, and that I should go to a school that is going to be in the place I want to have my career. For instance why would I go to a school in the south when I have no intention of living in the south. Not only is location important, making a name for yourself is too. It’s vital to start getting those internships and connections in college.
Another person who helped impact my decision was my beautiful, understanding mother. She had always told me to find a career that makes me happy, but still has the normal parental worries of paying for college, and having a secure future. Since my older brother went the route of KU business school and my mother got her masters degree in business, she wasn’t familiar with fashion school. Instead of making me follow the same path as her and my brother. She did more research and is now fully on my side and doing what it takes to help me get into a fashion school such as the Fashion Institute of Technology or Parsons.
Now that I have made the decision, at least for now, I have to fully rethink if I took on high school the right way. I now wonder If I needed to put myself through an inexplicable amount of stress? Should I have done more in the fashion world of Kansas City? But the great thing is I am figuring this out now. I still have over a year to build my fashion portfolio. If I end up wanting to go to a non-fashion college, I still have the criteria for an impressive application.
So even if I do change my mind, I have learned to follow my dreams, not doubt myself and to learn from my decisions whether they are bad or good.
What I have learned is that even though preparing for college is stressful as hell, don’t forget to take a break and make sure you take some time for your own happiness. College is important, everyone has the fear they are not doing enough. Overloading yourself into a constant stress makes you forget who you are and what you want to do in life.