Eve Gross | Torrey Pines High School Senior
April and May are traditionally high-stress months for high schoolers. As classes wrap up, students are often overwhelmed with new material in preparation for final exams or AP tests, followed by projects galore. For seniors, the stress is concentrated in a different area: their immediate futures. That future usually includes attending college for the students of Del Mar and Carmel Valley, but the process of selection can be complicated when well-meaning (or not well-meaning) adults meddle in it.
Farhan Hossain, a senior at Torrey Pines High School, said that there’s a limit to the excitement of college acceptances, which is when people realize they have to make decisions, and they start discussing it nonstop with their peers.
“There’s a difference between airing your anxieties with people who are in the same boat or with people who can really consult you, and having to share them with people’s curious parents or their friends,” Hossain said. “I kept my college decision process pretty private from everyone, but when you’re ambushed with questions at a dinner or after school, it’s somehow offensive to tell that person you would rather not share.”
He also said that, while inconvenient, it is understandable that adults would be interested in knowing seniors’ future plans, but that they begin asking about the topic long before it is appropriate. Neha Pubbi, a TPHS sophomore, agreed.
“When I go to functions with other families and stuff, I am sometimes asked about where I want to go to college, things like that,” Pubbi said. “I don’t know that information yet, I’m not even halfway through high school … I can barely decide what I want for lunch. But it also seems like whatever information people do seem to share ends up being gossiped about.”
With respect to gossip, Hossain said that this is the time of year when people start “telling you information you barely even knew about yourself.”
“One of my friends was congratulated by a girl she barely knew for getting into a school she hadn’t told anyone she had gotten into,” he said. “So when adults are prying, they’re also getting material from each other. It seems like a kind of exchange that just sort of makes everyone uncomfortable, especially when facts get distorted through the grapevine.”
He added that, in such a high-stakes situation, parents need to be the adults and not contribute to the “bloodbath-like” atmosphere.
“The value that should be on everyone’s minds right now is respect,” Hossain said. “Of course it’s possible to respect people’s feelings, privacy and decisions while still engaging in meaningful conversation.”