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High school seniors stressing more than usual

The process was called a “procrastinator’s nightmare” by one student.

This week makes for lack of sleep, impatience and stress on seniors who must submit applications and essays to numerous colleges.

Myrna Sanchez, 17, was irked by the deadlines.



“The most difficult part is the essay,” said Sanchez, a South Tahoe High School senior who planned to apply to six colleges. “I have so many classes going on. It’s just stressful because it’s the next four years of my life.”

The essay is not a requirement for all colleges. It is a free topic about what makes the author unique.




Sanchez admitted she hasn’t written it, but was tossing around the idea of composing a piece about growing up Mexican in an American culture.

Alyssa Reilly, with seven colleges on her list, has worked on her essay. Three years ago Reilly had a head injury from soccer. She wrote how the subsequent migraine headaches changed her life.

Reilly said she prefers the “small private school in a big city,” such as Santa Clara University or Loyola Marymount University. She added she will grudgingly be patient awaiting the results.

“I’m trying not to get my hopes up on one school,” she said. “I want to wipe them out and see where I get accepted. I have a hard time waiting. When I took my SATs I wanted the scores the next day.”

Reilly and Sean Pawling are offspring of South Tahoe counselors. Reilly receives help from her mother, Michelle Reilly, as do other students who call their home at night. Pawling’s mother, Marilyn, changed jobs from South Tahoe Middle School to the high school this year and has offered help when needed.

“I heard him working on letters,” Pawling said. “I think it helps him having two older brothers and just the support staff at the high school is excellent.”

Support staff includes English teacher Linda Blaney, who reviews student’s essays, a career center technician and four counselors. Lynn Thiesen, the financial aid director at Lake Tahoe Community College, also helps.

“It’s probably not as frustrating as everyone imagines it to be,” said Aaron Barnett, a counselor at South Tahoe High School. “It’s just another assignment they have to do and it’s new to them. It’s talking about parents’ income, goals, having to write essays about themselves. It’s like making a rZsumZ. It’s a new concept for them.”

Sean Pawling planned to spend part of the weekend working on his tasks.

“I keep saying that,” Pawling, 17, said last week. “I stayed up late. I was up ’til midnight (one night).”

— William Ferchland may be reached via e-mail at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com


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