Well, it has finally begun. After three years of college being no more than a hypothetical for me, the common app has finally kickstarted the very real college admissions process. It’s somewhat terrifying to go into a virtual pen with hundreds of thousands of other students armed only with a few numbers, a list of activities, and a 650-word essay that is supposed to define who I am as a person.

But I’m forging ahead with all my classmates who all are facing the same thing as me in one way or another, and all have to face the same blank form that could make or break whatever future we see for ourselves.

And the essay, oh the essay. Parents, if you have a kid facing this process, take it from me and do not downplay our doubt how hard it is to write this college essay. To sit down at an age where you hardly know who you are and what your place in the world is; then to convince some faceless panel to accept you into their institution is a massive undertaking. Though I have a tutor who coaches me on how best to present myself, and I arguably have many advantages going into this process, it is still a daunting task on how to make myself look the picture perfect student.

But really, as complicated, daunting, and confusing as the whole process going forward is, it is also something that fills me with excitement. The fact that I am finally close to the end of high school and about to take the steps in the next chapter of my education and my life is a wonderful thing. So after all the insanity that I know I’m about to step into, the common app will simply have been a helpful friend that got me from point A to point B. So wish your student luck, because apps are coming and we all have to be prepared.