Hi – that is the kindest greeting I could ever give you.
Let me just say this frankly: I hate you.
I hate how you are a big stressor in high school, I hate how you are highly valued in the college admissions process, and I hate how you are surprisingly repetitive.
My friends cry over you, did you know that? The monthly curve that you set up based on each time’s score distributions has, in essence, ruined their dreams, or at least their hopes for these dreams. I know people who get nightmares the night before confronting you, who pray every day for an easy curve, and who look for test-optional colleges just to get away from you.
People feel worthless around you, did you know that? You are basically telling us that some of their key qualities can be represented three to four digits that decide our paths for the next four years. We are so nervous the day you are supposed to spill the unfortunate answer: we are either hyped or depressed for the rest of the week.
Your cruelty does no good, did you know that? Freshmen are forced to take practice tests, sophomores start prep lessons, juniors get stuck in the realm of countless Saturday interactions with you, and seniors dread to get you satisfied. You are, to us, a key to competitive colleges, for which we give up our sleep, spare time, social life, and chances of meaningful contributions, just for you.
You are powerful. After binging tons of materials one month before facing you, I’ll give you that.
But I will no longer conform to you.
How can you, and how do you ever, have the ability to define us, when our alma mater does not even determine our fate? How can excelling you ever indicate our future success? How can overcoming you be a pride for students? I’m not giving you this chance, no, no longer.
This doesn’t mean that I will avoid you; rather, I will face you with as much courage and strength as I need to. I don’t want to prove anything, not to you, not to the colleges I am applying to.
I’ll encounter you bravely, I’ll be the warrior that slays the dragon with a sword.
I write this letter, to say goodbye to all the fears, struggles, and anxieties I’ve been through because of you. You no longer, and should never, have the power to control teenagers’ thoughts, time, especially not their future.
I write this letter to inform you that you are done.
Hope to never see you again,
An exhausted high school student
…And SAT’s Response
Dear student – and everyone who hates or fears me,
This is your “behated” friend – that is not a word, you will get marked down if you write that on the essay portion.
I get a lot of letters alike, complaining about the difficulties I created. It’s getting pretty annoying, so I am writing back, to you, and to all 16, 17, 18 year-olds out there, furious about my existence.
I will admit – standing in your shoes – that I can get frustrating at times. But is that really my fault? I mean, you are the one who chooses to have no balance in your life just so your transcript, your activities list, and your college statements would look impressive. Your peers seem to be doing great things all the time, so you stress yourself out and think you have to do the same. In a sense, you did it to yourself. You pushed yourself way over the limits when you are not expected or supposed to do so.
You can tell when you are asked to take responsibilities: group projects enhancing communication and leadership skills, the 650-word-or-less essay about yourself by yourself, assessments testing your knowledge – of which I am one. You are expected to gain strong foundational knowledge, not to each have a successful start-up business, be an Olympic champion, or be the United States President.
You’ve probably heard the saying that SAT only tests your ability on mastering the SAT. While that is partially true, I can definitely see how you manage your time and complete tasks under stress, how you can follow instructions, how you interpret passages thoroughly, how you organize your thoughts into words, and much more. I do, sometimes, have weird or seemingly unfair curves, but trust me, once you reach that threshold, the things you’ve been doing for the past four years are taken into much greater consideration than a test you took on a random Saturday.
I’m so glad you are having the courage to confront me and get over me, I hope everyone does. I hope you understand that even the college you end up at does not define you, let alone a standardized, flawed test you took as a high schooler.
I’m visiting on the fifth of October. I hope everyone smiles the biggest after leaving me.
Best of luck,
Picture credit: Pinterest