Students Commiserate over the Challenges of Standardized Tests

WARNING TO THE READER: This article has been written in college essay format. This means the following:

1. I have written 12 versions of it, each of which is more trite and pedantic than the last.

2. It may or may not contain sappy personal anecdotes that may or may not have to do with a meaningful first experience/why INSERT SCHOOL HERE is absolutely perfect for me/which Spice Girl would be the perfect roommate and why that may or may not be totally made up. Note: all aforementioned essay topics were taken directly from the Harvard application, which I downloaded just to make me cry myself to sleep every night for a week.

3. You must, by law, find quotes within it from at least one of the following people: Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Einstein or Paris Hilton (it’s a long shot, but I like to cover all of my bases).

4. If it isn’t exactly 500 words, it might well blow up.

Consider yourself warned.

This article is not going to be a funny article. Unless, of course, you are masochist. Every high school senior reading right now knows that. The college application process is the most soul-crushing activity known to man (unless you count listening to Justin Timberlake’s latest album while flossing with aluminum foil – long story).

Don’t get me wrong. I started out with high hopes. I thought I was going to be finished with my applications in August so that I could start my senior year with a clear conscience. OK, that last sentence was kind of funny. And I did get most of the basic parts done (My name and address? Those I’ve got down). But for some reason I just got stuck on the essays. Maybe because of the fact that schools are basically asking you to reveal the meaning of life in 500 words or less, which seems a little ambitious. But, hey, that’s just me.

Fortunately for the plagiarists among us, my beautiful and multi-talented English teacher (who is actually helping me out of my personal linguistic hole essay-wise) provided my class a list of some of the worst college essay openings (now we know what not to copy). Here are my personal favorites:

1. Sure, lots of kids like to start fires, but how many of them have a propane torch, gallons of accelerants and a basket of dry rags…?

2. among the many things that are the result of imperialism racism and kapitalism are standard punktuation grammar and spelling which all serve to put the entire human race into a sausage machine…

3. Coach says…

4. How’s about I write page 342 of YOUR autobiography: “After flunking out of medical school, Kermit Dowling decides to pursue a career in college admissions…”

But, as for me, I think I’ll go the route of this last one:

5. Take me: Please, pretty please, prettypretty please, super-dooper pretty-pretty-pretty please…

So, in closing, I’d like to send out a message to all of those high school seniors out there: be yourself. Unless you’re not very interesting. Then be someone else. Anything to trick the school of your choice into accepting your pathetic hide. Hey, that’s what I intend to do.

And to those of you who graduated last year: I envy you more than Latoya Jackson envies Janet, more than Sacajawea envies Pocahontas, more than Henry Clay envies any United States president between Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor, more than OTown envies N*Sync… Long story short, I’m jealous.

And to the class of 2008: Ha. Have fun, suckers.

And to all of the high school educators out there, I’d like to leave you with the immortal words of Pink Floyd (which is almost as good as Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. and way better than Albert Einstein, but nowhere near as good as Paris Hilton): “Teachers… leave those kids alone.” It’s going to be a long year as it is.