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Admissions Anxiety

“A ‘why us’ essay?”, Kat groaned. “600 words!?!? I can’t do that! There’s no way I’m going to spend hundreds of words boosting the ego of some college!”

“But I have to,” she reasoned. “If I don’t, then everybody will see me as a failure, I won’t get anywhere in life, and I’ll live a miserable future.”

Bright and early the next day, Kat sat through her AP Calculus class. Why am I even taking this class? I’m not even good at math. She would have much rather been at home, knitting woolen socks and beanies for the elderly and children. It’s for college applications.

Every day after school, she passed by the school library. Every day after school, an assortment of nerds and geeks were hanging out at the door, always chattering about the same thing: college admissions.

“I applied to so many Ivy Leagues! I think I’m going to get in!” one said.

“You sure? Getting into prestigious colleges is so hard now, it’s like flipping a coin and praying,” another complained.

No matter where Kat went, the threat of college applications loomed over her. She wished college didn’t exist and that she could just have a successful life knitting, but even she knew that was near impossible.

As soon as Kat got home, she threw her backpack off and sunk into the worn-out couch in her living room. She pulled out her knitting things from the box she kept underneath the couch. Starting to knit, she became immersed in her thoughts.

“Stupid college applications. There’s tens of thousands of people out there with better academic profiles, teacher recommendations, and personal resumes. When they look at my application, I’m going to look terrible!” Kat mused. “Screw it! I’m just going to get it all over with just so I stop worrying!”

Weeks passed by and Kat put her full effort into her college application, just so she could forget about it all. She wanted nothing more than to live her calm little knitting life without any worry.

When the time came to submit, euphoria overtook her emotions. She was finally done! But the bliss didn’t last. Everyday, Kat woke up, went to her classes, and passed by the smart kids outside the library after school, anxious about what her results were. Kat couldn’t control her worry; instead, the worry controlled her.

It was the night before college admission results came out. “What if I don’t get in? What if I spend my life knitting every day?” Kat frantically thought. “Well actually, I wouldn’t mind that too much,” she countered herself, “but what would other people think of me?” She couldn’t sleep. The anxiety was too great for her.


The clock resting in the corner read 11:30 p.m. A stray breeze made the wispy curtains flap. A figure sat in an office chair, with manila folders surrounding them. A large stack of folders was piled on the ground next to the chair. On top of the desk, there were two piles of folders, one labeled “ACCEPTED” and the other “DENIED”.

Their hand reached for another file. The tab read “Kat Chang”.

In the other hand, the figure played with a die, rolling it between their fingers before tossing it onto the table and watching it land on the table before them. A five. The figure placed Kat’s file on top of one of the piles, reached for another manila folder, and rolled the dice again.


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