As a high school senior, I am often asked what my dream school is, and for me I oddly don't have one. I know kids who are dead set on one school and if they don't get in there whole life will "be over." It isn't healthy to be obsessed with going to one college. Most of the time these "dream schools" are elite universities; therefore, they reject more applicants than they accept. Going to an upper middle class high school, I am surrounded by success. It seems like everyone participates in a million extracurriculars and has even started their own non-profit organization. I too participate in several activities but too often I find myself feeling bad when thinking about all the other kids my age who have a more impressive college resume and a higher GPA and ACT/SAT score than me. Being surrounded by success can either make one more competitive or make one feel bad about himself. In my perspective either option is not a good one. Competitiveness is good to an extent but can quickly lead one to an unhealthy path of using others failures as their own successes.
Success is different to everyone, so then why does society think that it is a uniform standard? Why is it that when most people picture success they think of going to a top university, getting a high paying job and having a picture perfect family? As teens we are sometimes afraid to voice our individual opinions in fear that we might not "fit in" with the crowd. However, it is crucial to think for yourself and set your own goals and your own version of success. We are all different, so why are we supposed to all have the same goals? When it comes to college, there comes a point when you must ask yourself if you want to go to the school for the right reasons and not just for the prestigious name brand that the schools holds. It is okay that you may not aspire to go to an "Ivy League" school. In fact it is great, we need some diversity. Everyone doesn't have to want the same thing. Naturally we aspire for different things.
The perk of looking for a college is that you have a choice! Even if financially you can only afford to go to a public state school you still have a choice in which one, as all states have at minimum a few public schools. Don't feel pressured to go to a school that you don't want to go to. Likewise, don't feel bad if your friends aren't applying or going to the school you are. College is a time for change. Try new things. Do something you know you normally wouldn't do. Hear others perspectives and keep an open mind. Not all learning is done in class, we learn a great amount from our experiences. Branching out of your comfort zone and meeting new people is necessary. After four or more years with your classmates, like me, you may be getting bored with them and that is okay. Even if you do go to a public state school where a lot of your classmates are going keep in mind how big the school is and that you will make new friends just due to the size of the university. No matter what school you end up, college is what you make of it. So make it the next best four years of your life! Good luck to my fellow senior class as we make those final decisions, wherever we may end up may we be truly happy.
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more