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Photo courtesy of Jalen ’21

Nothing has so thoroughly humbled me like the college process. More than ever I’m aware of the harmless stereotypes I fall into, which I have a love-hate relationship with. For one, said stereotypes momentarily rob me of my sense of uniqueness, which is just tragic. I thrive on feeling like the most special and magical girl in the world. Secondly, the ones that apply to me tend to be so violently accurate that I’m forced to embrace them with pride. I found myself contemplating how categorizable I am the other day, when I paused at my reflection in the mirror. Basically, I assessed that I looked like I was hitting Whole Foods at 6 p.m.and Studio 54 at 7 p.m. (if that doesn’t make any sense, neither did my choices that day), and mere hours later, I accepted an offer of admission to an Unnamed New York College. Anybody with a tote bag, sporting some choppy haircut, taking a film class and residing in Los Angeles probably aims to land somewhere urban on the east coast post-graduation. And we all feel extremely special for it. 

So, in a way, attending this particular institution feels incredibly right. Except, of course, for the moments I feel I’m elaborately masquerading as something I am not. I’m convinced I’ve wholly deceived that college’s admissions team. They must’ve not clocked my decrepit Muppet vibe. I’ll show up and have to be like “Hey, sorry, but I was doing a little trick on ya. Whatever qualities got me here were fake! I faked you out.” And then they’ll be all, “Sweet, we don’t have enough dorms for the lot of you anyways,” and then I’ll kick my own butt to the curb. Scrounge some change. Take the train upstate and go set some dry grass on fire or something equally as Girlbossy. 

I am going to blame this imposter syndrome on misogyny, as most girls I know feel unqualified for something unless they possess a PhD-level mastery. But I also view myself as someone who is simultaneously working very hard and doing completely nothing, so this horrible little nugget of self-perception is somewhat grounded in who I really am. For the last hour, I’ve looked at images of surfaces of big planets instead of working on an already late essay. Weekly, I text my close friends about what they’re doing; they respond, “Nothing, I have not done a single thing. Everybody in the class of 2021 is turning into little mush piles and we are all going to merge into a big swampish vortex of unproductivity and its subsequent shame.” I text back, “Ok, count me in. Sounds relaxing.” So if you’re asking me what I’m hoping to accomplish in the next four years, a big chunk of it will be simply figuring out… hear me out, I know it’s pretty out there… who I am. What lays behind my many tote bags? Integrity? A gargantuan capacity for procrastination? Something to make my parents proud? It’s gotta be one of them. I’ll get back to you on it.

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