if you give a girl a contract…

a brain dump and most likely part one.

a little different from my usual content, and a little desperate. reeks of amy chua’s the battle of the tiger mother and premature worries. you’ve been warned.

I feel like for the first time since kindergarten, I’m not ready for school. There’s only 20 days to go for me, but mentally I’m still somewhere in June. The thought of September 1st – and whatever math teacher I’m going to let down this year – scares me more than I’d like to admit. Don’t even mention the SSAT’s I’ll be taking in January, or the piano exams looming this November and May (!!!!!!).

To sum it up, this school year sounds like a whole lot of fun to me right now.

But seriously – Exams! Stress! Anxiety!!!!! I’m surprised we don’t have people banging on those doors, foaming at the mouth at the thought of sitting on pins and needles every time you go to History because you’re lowkey scared of the teacher.

All this responsibility and worrying about grades stuff is really new to me. To be honest, school was always really easy for me before last year, and I miss elementary school with every fiber of my being. I’m positive many of my classmates sure would rather stand outside in the rain being shepherded around like unruly sheep for an hour every day than ask their scariest teacher a question. But I’m sure I’ve got much more of this coming. Unfortunately, it’s only going to get harder, which my parents and my teachers and my older friends have been telling me for ages but I only now believe. I shiver and sweat in my seat every time I take a math quiz…how am I ever going to take the SAT’s?

This summer, I’ve also had the unfortunate realization that I, in fact, am not a special little prodigy child (or the daughter of Jacqueline Kennedy) guaranteed admission into an Ivy League. You know the typical big fish, small pond thing. I’m a little different – I was a big fish in a big pond, stupefied by the idea that all of us ‘advanced’ kids would get into a Sister or and Ivy. My mindset was very much “you get a yes, and you get a yes, and you get a yes, and we all get a yes!” But with one look at College Confidential message boards for my dream school(s) and I literally was shocked awake. People with packages looking much better than mine is right now got tossed away left and right. We’re talking valedictorians, SAT perfect scorers, varsity track captains, debate national finalists, even the most moneyed legacies.

I’m luckier than most people my age, because I know what I want to do. I’ve got a plan. Maybe I’ll regret having my heart so set when I have to apply for a major, but international relations at this point seems like the best and most smart option. That’s what I’ll be good at, it has so much upside, and good job growth and salaries. Second and third? Public affairs and political science. I’m not very much of a STEM person, though that’s a safe option. Hopefully this isn’t another case of me thinking I’m better at something than I actually am. We’ll cross our fingers.

At this time in my life, I’ve basically got to decide what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. I’m not the type of person who is going to switch careers – I want success, and to put it more plainly, the best life I can get. And at this point, although my work ethic and grit which resembles that of a sloth, I’m ready to do it. I’ll direct my classes and extracurriculars toward my package. I’ll research careers. Like I’m doing right now, I’ll convince myself that I can do it so I will.

It makes me feel a smidge better that I’ve done a bit more thinking then some of my classmates. Though some of them have known what they’re going to do since kindergarten, some of them are in the same boat as I am, which comforts me. I’m not above trying to make this come out. When I asked one of them (very smart, very cute, bless her heart) what she wanted to do, her response was “lawyer cuz I’m good at arguing” or “doctor cuz they make a lot of money”. Two completely different fields. My great, beautiful, failproof, super-excellent plan counts on the fact that people like her running faster in the race than me won’t be able to overtake me having a head start.

I know plans don’t work some of the time. I know often people burn out. I know I’m going to regret this in 20 years and laugh at how stupid I was, how empty I was, how full of florescent dreams of Harvard and Princeton and Yale, colleges I sometimes think are not too far away but sometimes I know think that I’ll never get into in a million years. But the point of all this is not to overly dramatize my life like I’ve been doing and be a Negative Nancy about it even with all my privilege. It’s make myself aware of what I need to do to get into those fancy, bright universities and have the good, happy life I’ve salivated over since I was 3. And if forcing myself into a symbolic contract is the way to do it than more points to the Grand Gesture side of me!!

The contents of the contract to get me where I want to go are unknown to anyone except for maybe the college admissions board members and my future bosses and the woman who’s going to book the senior cruise I’m going on in 2063. But for now, like with any good contract, I’ve created a set of criteria. The goals for this year that must, must, must be accomplished for me to even have a shot at that dream? – 1) get into private school, 2) pass my piano exams with flying colors by PRACTICING, 3) get my straight A’s back, and 4) decide what I want to do, type it up, and laminate it. The first three are doable. But making those goals for life?

We’ll see.

Sincerely signed on the dotted line,


p.s. – this post is so messy. i’m sorry. it’s 10:53 on a tuesday night, i’m tired, i’m stressed. also, i’m aware of how dramatic this post may seem, and of my privilege to even be ranting to everyone about all this right now. but it’s something i needed to get out, and hey, i happened to be logged in.

Author: jenna

May all your dreams come true (even the ones they laughed at).

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