top of page
  • amyalysaglynn

Fear of Being "Basic"

Basic-o-phobia is rampant.

Two out of three students working with me for the first time express a fear–sometimes mild, sometimes paralyzing–of "being basic." They're convinced they won't stand out, convinced they have no stories worth telling, convinced they can't tell a story about "anxiety" or "how recovering from my sports injury taught me patience with myself" or "uh... do i *have* to talk about the pandemic? Won't everyone do that?" Often, the biggest part of my job is convincing students of the following small but crucial items:

1) Colleges are aware that you're eighteen and have not yet won the Nobel for Medicine or rescued a rainforest singlehandedly. Also, you're probably not competing for a carrel in the Ivory Tower with a lot of people who HAVE done such things.

2) Good news / Bad news: Yup, teens have certain signature preoccupations and they do get written about a lot. This is both generational (if you came of age during the Vietnam war you'll have different generational tics than if you graduated as the Berlin Wall was falling, and these post 9/11 people have their own whole thing!) and developmental (teendom is a time of individuation, and themes around tribe, family, social group etc are huge).

3) IT MATTERS NOT. You are inherently incapable of writing someone else's essay, because you are you and they aren't. Your uniqueness isn't about your hometown, your home country, your grades, your habits, your interests. It's about your quintessence, your soul, the spiderweb of tiny threads that connect your characteristics, your environment, your experiences and your community. WHAT you write about is almost never the point. HOW you write it is everything.

Does your rising 12th grader need a neutral 3rd party to coax them to shed their Fear of Basic and stick that neck out? Hit me up.

18 views0 comments


bottom of page