02/13/2014 10:07 am ET Updated Apr 15, 2014

The College App Catastrophe I Never Saw Coming

This is part of our monthly series 'Mission: Accepted,' in partnership with Minds Matter, which chronicles the lives of four students as they apply for college in their senior year.

January: A new year plus the last round of college applications and finals. As everyone was celebrating a new year, I was comparing last year to the recent events that led to doors being closed and others being opened. It all started with my applications.

Well, there were many, many things that went wrong with my applications this month; thus I ended up not applying to six out of the eight schools I originally had in mind. Everything just piled on top and created, what seemed like, a gigantic, catastrophic problem with no solution in sight. I won't go into much detail about what this problem was, at least not this time. But the moment that everything came tumbling down, I wondered if all my effort, over the past three years, was a complete waste. I was out of it for the rest of that night, not wanting to do anything, and that apathy was going to carry on to the next day, but my family had plans on seeing my uncle at his job so it wasn't an option. We went by Metro to East L.A and on the way, I was reminded of the countless other individuals struggling in life with bigger problems and I felt ashamed. Yeah, I was a bit depressed with my current situation, but I was making a big fuss over something so small.

So I wasn't able to apply to the schools I had my hopes set on but there are numerous other schools that are just as good and maybe even better. Once I got home, sure enough, I found many other universities that I had overlooked or forgotten about and these were an even better fit for me than the other schools. I was now considering Bucknell, Cornell and Purdue; each has an outstanding engineering program, clubs and activities I'm interested in, and beautiful campus' that I can picture myself walking through next fall. With these new discoveries, I shrugged off the sadness and composed another list of schools and proceeded to apply. At this point, I've found most college essays tend to ask the same thing and I was fortunate that the deadlines were far enough away that I had enough time to ask other teachers for recommendations. All went well.

During this arduous period, I spoke to Toshe -- my mentor from Minds Matter for the past two years who happens to currently attend UPenn -- about what I went through and she shared with me some wise words that I'd like to share with you now: "Everything happens for a reason."

It wasn't the first time that I had heard this or the first time it actually came true but it felt good to hear that after what I experienced. I'm taking a new path now, with new colleges that I'm looking forward to hear from in March. One problem is resolved and now on to my finals. As of today, I have two days left to prepare for the five tests that are split over Tuesday and Wednesday. Next week is going to be hectic but in the life of a college-bound student, what isn't?

With SATs, ACTs, APs, extracurriculars and our GPAs to worry about, it's amazing that we don't break down often. My siblings once told me that I'm like Alex Dunphy from Modern Family, the one stressing about everything school related. I may not be screaming about my anxiety for the SAT on my birthday but, inside, I can feel the pressure of my school life impacting my chances of going to college. Every single one of us college-bound kids, sort of are like her in a way. Always with a book at hand, whether it's an AP study guide or homework, we kick butt to make sure we stay ahead of competition. So, with that said, on to study, study, study.

Senior year equals juggling classes, extracurriculars and everyday chores. Some will have to give up social lives for it, others will barely have a social life, and there are the lucky few who are able to balance it all. There are five months to go but it seems like an eternity to get to the finish line. Will we make it with an acceptance letter at hand and a scholarship in the other? That remains to be seen. In difficult times, we have something to inspire us to keep going. For me, it's watching the movie, Freedom Writers, and listening to music. Not everything is bad. We enjoy the last months of high school with new friends and old. We laugh with them until the night falls.