Mattie’s Musings: Movie Scenes and Future Dreams

My favorite kinds of movies are the ones that have the pungently cheesy moments, when the location of a proposal is the same as the location of the first meeting, when the same phrase that was used at the beginning is used at the end, when scenes are nostalgically paralleled.

These “full circle” moments fill a circle-shaped opening somewhere in my heart and comfort me into feeling content, complete, and like a part of the wholesome fantasy that is a cheesy movie. I live for these full circle moments.

But when it comes to the college-related stress in this year, real-life full-circle moments have the potential to be the death of me.

The start of my senior year, my movie was infected with a thick fog of uncertainty, of an inescapable daily, hourly, constant conversation about college and college applications.

I suffocated in this fog, in comparing myself to other people, in bitter fear of the future. All I could think about were overwhelming questions: Would my application be good enough? Am I applying to the right schools? Do I even have a chance compared to my classmates?

The environment was stressful and when the scene changed, it was the greatest relief so far in this cliffhanger type of movie. Once everything was submitted and I could pretend that the cliff no longer existed and life continued smoothly. It was the montage of memory-making that happens in every cheesy movie. The first parts of 2018 starred a nearly carefree senior who was free from applications and almost, almost free from high school.

As the school year is coming to an end and the credits screen, replaced by the slow listing of names at graduation, approaches, I find myself dreading the inevitable full circle moment. Application season got a trendy makeover and snuck back into my life under the name “Decision Season.”

The same stress, fear, toxic comparisons, and uncertainty that infected my life months ago have the potential to come back to suffocate me yet again. As I’m anticipating the arrival of these heavy emails, I’m overwhelmed by questions similar to the ones I asked myself before: Was my application good enough? Did I apply to the right schools? Do I even compare to my classmates?

I know everything will work out, and I know that there are good things coming. But, I really can’t sugarcoat this. It’s horrifying. I’m horrified. We can’t change how scary it all is, but we can change how stressful the environment itself is. We can keep this from becoming a full-circle moment.

We are here to support each other. We are all sitting shoulder-to-shoulder anxiously in the same boat. The least we could do is reach over and give each other a hug once in a while.

We’re stuck in the same boat of uncertainty, but we have to remember that we’re not headed in the same direction. For some, future means college. For others, it doesn’t. For some, college means a UC school. For others, it doesn’t.

We’re all meant to go in our own directions, and we’re not meant to compare ourselves to one another. Another person’s success is in no way your failure, and any direction is going to be a good direction as long as we’re moving forward.

So, we won’t let College Decision Season provide the same stress that infected the application season. This may not be a cheesy movie, but we can still create a sweet and extra-supportive environment during these terrifying times. And after this is all over, we can continue our own happily soundtracked montages of memories, before we jump the boat and start swimming in our own directions.