How to be Overachiever Me

“How To Be Overachiever Me” I am an overachiever with a dream of going to the University of Florida but I offer nothing in the way of extenuating circumstances except the fact that I am the only girl in Parkland who does not have parents that went to that school.

I remember the very day that I wanted to go to the University of Florida. Ever since I was in elementary school I always had teachers who were alumni of that school. It was all I ever knew. I grew up watching the University of Florida football games for homework and drawing the Gator icon for fun. College seemed so easy to get into back then, before I got to high school at least.

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The University of Florida seemed like a daring place for me, I never thought I would reach the point in my life when I would have to start thinking about actually getting in to college. It seemed as if I was in a dark tunnel and I never was going to see the light, until all the sudden the sun shined right on me. Whenever somebody would ask me where I want to go to college, I would always respond without a second to think, “I want to be a Gator.” But, even so I always thought that I was the only one trying this hard to get into University of Florida. During my childhood, the University of Florida was just a thought and nothing more. I thought it would be so simple to get into.

I thought I had the “grades and intelligence” to get in. I thought that my future was well thought out and there was nothing in the way of stopping me from achieving my goal. But changes came when I woke up on my first day of high school. When I left middle school, I was Jillian, the smart girl in the class. But when I entered my first period on that Monday I was not welcomed with simply a hug and a syllabus, but rather I was welcomed with piles of dreadful homework to do. It was almost as if an unexpected tornado came and turned me inside out.

But I am not insanely an overachiever with this somewhat reasonable goal. I have no sympathy for the stress I have taken on, nor the sleepless hours I come home to every night. I do not mind at all. I do not mind that I have the amount of responsibilities that I do, because I know in the long run it will all pay off. Someone is always at my elbow reminding me that I am not even related to an alumni and I should have no business of wanting to get in.

It fails to register depression with me. Both my parents went to college, but not a University like the University of Florida. My father attended the Culinary Institute of America and my mother attended Brooklyn College. But my parents are the root reason as to why I have this dream. I have this dream of getting into the University of Florida, and I know that if I obtain that acceptance letter next year, the feeling of accomplishment will be indescribable. The position of an alumni’s child is much more difficult.

No parent is beside me at all times of the day to pressure me with the hopes of continuing the family legacy. Being the first child to start a legacy is much more rewarding and exciting than being the child that has to continue the legacy. I do not always feel like I should become a Gator. Even now I sometimes feel like I am meant to be part of the “swamp.” I feel most outnumbered when I observe the overwhelming amount of blue and orange clothing my friends own. For instance at my friend Alison’s house.

There is not one item in her house that does not resemble the University of Florida. Whether it is cups, blankets, socks, or clothes, that family owns it all. Among these thousands of alumni, I feel as though I am able to become the leader, rather than become the follower. Sometimes it is the other way around. An alumni is set down in front of their multiple college decisions with the known fact that they are forced to continue the family legacy, rather go to the place they wish to attend. But, this contrast is just as sharp for me.

For instance, when I talk to my friends, I know that some of them have this dream of going to a different school, rather than what their parents want for them. In my mind, I am sitting there listening to their stressful and dreadful decisions about college next year, but not really listening to a word they are saying. I really just want to tell them how unfortunate it is for them to be forced to go to a school they wish not to attend. “I don’t think I will even get into the University of Florida and my parents are going to be so disappointed in me,” my friend remarks, with a sad look on her face. Hope. The great and most important aspect one should have in life.

But, my friend has no hope; she only looks at the dark side of her future, rather than the bright side. I am on a different spectrum then her, though; I only see the bright side, because there is no time to give up on my hopes and dreams. At certain times, I am not a crazy overachiever, I am me. Everyday I look at my single orange and blue hat with the icon of a large “F” on my shelf and it gives me all the confidence I need to obtain my goal. So far as my feelings are concerned, my friend Alison has her alumni history at the University of Florida, but Alison has nothing on me.

The determined Jillian emerges. I am the determined girl with a crazy goal. I have no separate feelings about being a high school student and not having a school that I have to apply to. I have a whole bag of schools to pick and apply to. Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me upset.

It merely surprises me. How can I not be allowed to want to go to a school just because my family never went there? It’s beyond me. But in the main, I feel like a single resume in a large pile of other resumes waiting to be accepted not only by the school of my dreams, but also by society. In an admissions room with all the other eager student’s resumes. Read the essays, and the admissions counselor sets you into a pile.

The GPA, the extracurriculars, the service hours, the standardized test scores, the recommendation letters and still all your holding is a piece of paper. I, as a crazy, stressed out high school student need to make my resume be the one that sticks out in the admissions room, because before I know it my hopes and dreams can just turn into a rejection letter waiting to arrive at my front door.