Waiting for admissions results? Some tips to keep you sane
After running the gauntlet that is college applications, you might, in the month of March, be wondering, what now? It’s a difficult process not just because of all the work you have to do, but because of all the waiting you have to do as well. As admissions results trickle in, soon to become a flood, it can be hard to stay calm and centered, especially if you are waiting on lots of decisions, worried about your applications, and feeling pressure from fellow classmates. In other words, if you are a student in 12th grade anywhere.
So here are some tips to help you keep calm and carry on before you hear from your dream schools.
First of all, stop scouring message boards for information! Though you are longing for answers, rumors and speculation about admissions release dates and statistics will ultimately cause your mental health more harm than good. Instead apply the same discipline you would to any form of social media – if you must, allow yourself yourself a few minutes per day, or per week to search message boards, rather than obsessing over them during every free moment. Worrying doesn’t change results, it only changes the process of waiting for them.
Second of all, remember all those activities you told all your colleges you cared so deeply about? You should keep doing those! In fact, now is the time to engage more deeply than ever. This is your last chance to be in your high school debate club, or act in a high school play, or mentor younger students in your school community. For many of you who wax eloquent about how much your high school means to you, this is the time to give back. This is the time to engage without pressure, you aren’t being judged or assessed or doing this for “points” anymore, your resume is out in the world, your activities sections all neatly filled out (we hope!). So whatever you do now, it’s for you.
Thirdly, this applies to school as well! You spent so much time talking about how passionate you are about learning, so engage with that passion and enjoy your class time. For many of you, you’ve spent a lot of time with your classmates, especially if you’ve been at the same school for a few years. Before you know it, you’ll be moving on, leaving the country even, so this is a chance to enjoy the intellectual and personal relationships you’ve built, in class and outside of it. And if that touchy-feely reason isn’t enough to keep you engaged in school, remember that your final semester grades are also assessed by colleges, so you need to keep working hard.
Finally, invest in developing your sense of balance. This is a stressful time, but you’ve already done the work. And this is not the first or last stressful period you are going to encounter in life. So now you can start establishing your methods of staying calm in the midst of pressure. Investing in self-soothing methods is a life-long investment in your mental health, and can be a strong tool to sharpen as you face complicated situations in the future. Whether you are calmed by a long walk, meditation, a binge TV session, or coffee with a friend, learning your habits and investing time in calming activities is going to help you cope during this waiting period and balance your stresses later.
So breathe deep, stay focused and excited, and good luck with the waiting game!