Notes from the dorm

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 February, 2010, 12:00am

Backspace, control, alt, delete: this is the never- ending rhythm of the infamous process of applying to a Canadian university.

Pop by the library and you will find row upon row of graduating students at Bishop Strachan peering over their laptops.

Girls stare blankly at online application pages for schools around the world that bear the same title: welcome to undergraduate admissions.

Every girl's face tells a tale of many sleepless nights. One part of the application, in particular, is on everyone's mind: the 300-word essay that asks: 'Who are you and what would you contribute to our school?'

'I don't know who I am yet, that's why I'm applying to university. I'll figure out what I can do for the school once I get in,' jokes a student as she rushes off to the school guidance office in the hope of some relief.

It is February, the coldest month of the year, where temperatures collapse to a staggering minus 17 degrees Celsius and students are trapped indoors contemplating their futures. Look out the window and it is hard to find any inspiration amid the piles of snow and grey skyline that overshadows Toronto, Canada.

But there is one place where students can relieve their angst over university applications: the student guidance office. In the long winter months, guidance is a haven for answers and solutions. The office is well stocked with candies and packets of caramel chews that soothe the soul. It's obvious they've had to deal with a fair share of student breakdowns here.

Depending on your grades, your guidance counsellor will have everything you need to know about mapping out your future. Graduating students start to calm down as they line up for appointments and a guidance counsellor appears with a warm smile. 'Everyone just needs to take a deep breath. You're all going to get into a university, just talk to me about how you want to get there.'

And in times like these that's exactly what students need to hear. Something as simple as this has the power to end that pounding rhythm of control, alt, delete.