Having moved from Nigeria to rural Tennessee at the age of 13, Faber Oscioma has started 2020 off to a good start, attending an elite school. Then Covid hit. She found herself taking care of her two younger siblings. The three did remote learning on her one computer, her mother worked 100 hours a week, and Oshishioma worked part-time at McDonald’s. “I felt it was my job to lift her family out of poverty,” she says. Her grades dropped, and the anxiety she had before her pandemic escalated into paralyzing panic attacks. She remembers one adviser saying,
Mr. Oshisioma was worried about how to explain this to the university. “I was trying to get the perfect word,” she says. “But I wasn’t sure if anyone would look at me and think, ‘This is an attractive package.'” She won numerous awards during her senior year, including a prestigious Coca-Cola scholarship. was awarded. Her video crew surprised her with a jumbo-sized check at her school.
“I remember coming home and putting it in my room and still crying because I didn’t know what to say on the application form about my anxiety.” I supported everything from class schedules to college counseling. As Ms. Oshisioma stared at her Yale application, watching deadlines tick by, she felt overwhelmed and unable to walk, and she felt herself slipping in and out of consciousness. She needed to see a neurologist to rule out her seizures. She ended up attending college a year later than planned at the University of Tennessee-Martin. She is a scholar at the university there and enjoys her classes, but she feels that she is far from where she wanted to be.
Preparatory schools, on the other hand, often hire former admissions officers as counselors, with a caseload of nearly 30 people. Jessica Smith, director of college counseling at her school in Westtown, Pennsylvania, is struggling to protect “students’ private her business.”
Haimi Salone, now in her final year at Stanford University, benefited from this kind of advice while attending Blake School in Minneapolis on a scholarship. In her essays, they write candidly about the depression, anxiety, and embarrassment that followed her mother’s cancer diagnosis and eventual death, but at the suggestion of a college counselor, her sophomore year. Skipped hospitalization. “Are you lying about not letting me in?” they wondered. “If I do have a mental health problem, which one would you consider to be an accurate representation of me as a student?”
Even after they entered, the stress remained. “I was worried that if other information came out, my admission would be canceled.”
My Harvard application taught me what was acceptable to share and what was not. I felt that the university wanted pristine survivors, unimpaired by trauma. When I was 16, I didn’t know that it was impossible to get out of certain difficulties unscathed. The Perfect Conqueror is the fantasy that some young people are taught to create. This illusion can cause great damage.