The 13 Painful Stages of College Essay Writing

With college application season right around the corner, the pressure is on for many students to shell out a killer admissions essay. Thankfully, the Internet is here to help. There's no shortage of articles offering up advice on how to write a perfect essay sure to secure you that coveted spot at the university of your dreams. But while these tips are certainly helpful (seriously, though, ditch the thesaurus), I'd like to adopt a different approach and offer my sympathy instead. As the sister of a current high school senior, I know how rigorous this essay-writing process can be, and how many revisions go in to making sure your essay is both informative and original. Plus, as an English major, I've written my fair share of essays, and can sympathize with the moments of writer's block and utter confusion that one often encounters while trying to put pen to paper.

Fortunately, you're not alone. There are a slew of online tips to help you through the admissions process (and essay-writing in general). Not to mention you have people like me, who are more than willing to commiserate with you along the way. And in the spirit of commiseration, here are 13 all-too-familiar (and all-too-painful) stages of essay writing:

1. The Blank Page

You try to write something down, but the page just sits there, staring at you. The very fact that you have to come up with an idea prevents you from having any ideas at all. So you opt to skip the words for now and move on to stage two...

2. The Call To Your Friends

You decide to figure out what other people are doing. Then you realize that you can't steal their ideas or write anything similar, so that was a total waste of 20 minutes, and you still have nothing but a blank page.

3. The First Sentence

Finally, pen makes contact with paper! It's not much, but at least it's something.

4. The Blank Page (Again)

Unfortunately, you decide the first sentence sucks because, let's face it, it almost always does. You scrap the idea of writing a full essay on your first go-round and move on to the highly academic stage five...

5. The Facebook Break

Maybe stalking your ex's profile or looking at GIFs of cuddly baby animals will give you some inspiration.

6. The Outline

OK, enough fooling around. You decide to write an outline, and now you're finally getting somewhere! Why the heck didn't you think of this in the first place?

7. The Epiphany

Suddenly, you have a stroke of genius — you're on a roll! This is probably the best essay you've ever written... It may even be....

8. "This Is The Greatest Essay Ever"

Yes, it is in fact the BEST ESSAY EVER WRITTEN.

9. "What The Heck Am I Even Writing About?"

...Until you read it over and realize you have no idea what you were ever trying to say. Is this even English?

10. "Oh Crap, I'm Talking To Myself Out Loud"

You suddenly discover that you've been reading the essay and articulating all of your ideas out loud (it happens to all of us, don't try and deny it.)

11. Facebook Break #2

Clearly the essay-writing process has made you go insane. You need to take a break and become a normal person again.

12. The Final Draft

Finally, after a long, painstaking process, you've come up with a final draft. And, despite all the anxiety, it's not half bad. In fact, it's pretty darn good.

13. The Submission

Now all that's left to do is wait for the grade, the acceptance, or whatever kind of reward you're seeking. But whatever the result may be, what matters most is that you're finished!!!

Images: jjpacres, Niklas Freidwall, Kim Piper Werker, Dave Coustan, Jinx!/Flickr; Giphy (9)