abroad, miscellaneous

Happy Not Being American

Or more: I am happy not to be an American High School student. Do not get me wrong – I absolutely LOVE the United States… at least to go there on vacation. I was lucky enough that I share this love with my parents, and that my parents were able to afford a lot of great holidays in the US. I saw most of the States in the Western part, and travelled to Florida I-do-not-know-how-many times.

Due to the love to my favourite country, I decided at the young age of 10 that I wanted to spend a longer period of time across the Atlantic. So it happened that I spend my junior year at an American High School (Go Orioles) and I would do everything to experience those awesome 10 months again. Of course I did not really have North Dakota in mind when I applied for the exchange, but visualized myself surfing the waves in Southern California or getting a nice tan on the beaches of Florida. But in the end it was the best thing that happened to me. I gained great friends I kept in tough with, and was able to visit them again last year. One of my best friends got married and I was one of her bridesmaids (as we do not have bridesmaids in Germany it was another great experience for me) and I hope to be able to attend her son’s baptism in a couple of months as well.

But back to the reason why I am happy not to be an American High School student… The main reason: applying for college is a BITCH. Not only do you have to take as many AP-classes as possible, ace your Pre-SAT’s and SAT’s, and of course have a 4.0 GPA -in order to get into a decent college you have to participate in extra curricular activities (the more the better, the more successful the better, and of course French Club sounds way better than some random social group thingy) and do lots of social work. Not that I do not think that it is good to get socially active or participate in clubs and/or sports, but the whole college application process makes it mandatory because you otherwise limit your chances. And that should not be the main reason to do it in the first place.

All this preparation makes applying for college not fun, but hell. And I do not want to imagine how students feel around April 1st, the day when most college admission letters get send out (what a coincidence that it is April’s Fools day). In Germany the only thing that counts is your GPA after graduation. For every semester you wait with applying you get additional “waiting semesters”, and if you wait long enough you get a study place everywhere for everything (though I know that some friends waited more than five years to study medicine for example). Social activities, apprenticeships and internships, sports, etc. do not count into the admission process. This is good and bad for some people, depending on which person you pick. But at least you do not have the pressure upon you from an early age already.

But why am I brining this up at all? Well, as I am planning on moving to Denmark any time soon, I have to find a university that takes me in for my Masters. I applied at two schools (RUC and KU) for admission and I am still waiting for a positive answer. And yes – I can not really handle the stress and pressure. It is unnerving and people should not be allowed to do this to me. If those two schools would at least give me a date when I will find out… But no, the only answers I got were that “letters of admission will be send out in the middle of November” and that “it can take until October” to find out L Well, it is the middle of September. It can only take about 45 more days until at least one of the schools will tell me “yes” or “no”. I mean – that is all I want. Just a short answer. Is this too much to ask for?

Love, S.

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