Tunnel Vision: A Letter to my Junior-year Self



Photography and Text by Angela Pan


Tunnel Vision: A Letter to my Junior-year Self

Dear Junior Year me:

College Magazine recently voted Penn to be the 10th most stressful university in the United States. Sometime during your junior year, rumination over your future occupation will exacerbate this pressure. Being a lawyer has always been a dream of yours, so naturally, you will embark on the well-worn path of applying to law school. You, the former social butterfly, are now going to spend the next few months of your life cooped up in your room, pouring over LSAT prep books and ‘how-to’ guides on ‘getting in’. In these few months, you will have tunnel vision.


As the academic year rolls by, you will submit your applications and wait. Penn has always been a stress incubator for you, but you will feel more overwhelmed than ever before. Exacerbated by news of your friends’ acceptances, an almost dysfunctional level of stress will consume you.


A poster on your wall that reads “Dream Big” will scream out to you as you open your decision letter. Being accepted into your dream law school is part of your ideal narrative of achievement, but perhaps you’ve dreamed a little too big, this time.


You are not going to get into your top choice. You will cry, and feel devastated. The high-school superlative you earned of being the “Most Likely to Succeed” is a title you will have to relinquish for the time being.


Please forgive yourself. It is difficult not to use external standards to measure self-worth, but do not give in to self-doubt. Junior Year is going to be a challenge, but not an insurmountable one.


The day will come where you find your place. When you reflect upon your journey, you will realize that it is important to dedicate yourself to achieving your goals, but not at the cost of happiness, relationships, health, and wellbeing. Dream Big, but in the right directions.


Photography and Text by Angela Pan, Copyright 2016.


About The Author: Angela Pan is a senior enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania.  Class of 2016.

angela Pan
Portrait of Angela Pan by Yujia “Alice” Qiu

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