Strained and Stretched: Students More Stressed About High School?

A Cal High freshman's colloquy about impressing college admission officers and forgetting the most essential concepts of all.

"I'm worried about you guys. You're pushing yourselves too hard and forget to live; you need to enjoy being a teenager and do activities outside of school."
I stood there astounded and bewildered, as my counselor told me the last thing I was expecting to hear during orientation. I mean, am I trying too hard? Did I take too many courses in one math subject? Well, as I sit here days after, I begin to realize that she made a definite point; some adolescents are trying too hard to impress college admission officers and forgetting to enjoy being a teenager.
But me? OK, maybe I am slightly insane for taking Honors Pre-Calculus with Trigonometry and AP Calculus AB for only my freshman year at , and maybe more insane for even thinking about developing a Minority Vocational Engineering and Scientist Training Institute in a rural, agriculture-driven village in Bulacan, Philippines.
But I believe my counselor was right. I think to myself, when was the last time I did something because I loved to do it, not because I wanted to impress a college admission officer? Let's see, last autumn during my eighth grade year at , I spent my whole semester developing a photovoltaic solar sun tracker for my science fair project. 

Sure, it was about three times as tall as everyone else's board, but did I enjoy working on my experiment? Sadly, I didn't get the exact fulfillment I was hoping for, nor did I believe I learned anything about myself during the process.

This iota of guidance from my counselor is advice I want to give to any other students like myself who are trying so hard and end up never pursuing an activity that they truly enjoy doing.

This school year, as I begin my trek as a freshman, I intend on truly being myself and this time, do hobbies I actually enjoy and spend more time with family and close friends.


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