College applications season has commenced and is apparently a very stressful period for seniors to go through. Some of you are probably worried that everything you've worked hard for will go unnoticed, while others aren't as stressed out. I thought of college applications as the first true resume of your life. You're basically telling admissions why you should be accepted and why you're good enough for them.
The entire college application process takes months and can be very draining on your mental health. Here are five things you can do to take care of your mental health during this stressful time.
I understand that this advice seems rather pointless and useless, but it's really the best thing you can do during this stressful time. People always assume that the worst thing about college applications is the essay and grades, but colleges really just want to learn more about you. When I did the essay, the prompt was about me, and I think that was the most difficult question to answer. Colleges really want you to reflect and ask yourself why you've chosen this path.
To step back and ask yourself those deep and personal questions is difficult and definitely stressful. What helped me is taking my time for my answer. The essay isn't something that has a right or wrong answer. It isn't something that should strive towards perfection. If you're having a hard time, take a break and step away from the desk, inspiration will come naturally. So take a step back, some deep breaths, and relax.
2. De-stressing During the "Waiting"
Waiting for that yes or no answer is probably the most stressful part of the process. It's the not knowing that messes with you. You're always checking to see if that letter is there, you start to overthink all the possible outcomes, and you start to drive yourself crazy over the possibility of not being accepted.
While you wait, take time away from the application process to focus on your mental health. Give your mind a break. There's nothing you can change or do while you wait, so why worry? Binge on that TV show or movie you've been wanting to watch for so long, hang with friends, spend a day for self-care, take a walk, online shop, or do whatever it takes to take your mind off of the process. This is one of the few times in life when taking a break is actually needed.
3. It's Not the End
We all have the worry during this process of possible rejection. I know it sounds harsh, but being rejected isn't the end of the world. Some colleges have the option of resubmitting your application if you feel like a mistake has been made after being rejected. Resubmitting your application never hurts, but you could be rejected once again. Being rejected sucks, especially if it comes from a college you've been wanting to attend for so long. When you read that rejection letter it feels like all your hard work was for nothing, it's like saying it wasn't good enough.
All that matters is what you do after that rejection. You can either feel sorry for yourself and dwell on what could've been, or pick yourself up and move on to the next thing. Many of us don't even know what the "next thing" is. For some of you, it could be a gap year to really think about what you want to pursue. For others, you have a backup college you could attend. Sometimes, it takes a good cry to get over it. It may not be the result that you wanted, but you might be better off because of it.
4. Giving Yourself a Break
Giving yourself a break is key during this process. In the grand scheme of life, what college you go to or whether you got accepted or rejected, really isn't something that you should worry or stress over. I realize that it's hard to see that now when some of you are going through that now, but you'll see once you're done with the process. Don't be so hard on yourself, all you can do is show the admissions department who you are.
Even if you do get rejected, don't apologize for anything. You did nothing wrong, and there's nothing wrong with you. I feel like we're so hard on ourselves for something that's out of our control. Of course you would like to be accepted, everyone would. You shouldn't place so much importance on something like this. In other words, don't let it affect you. Give yourself time to adjust to this; after all, it is a big difference from high school. This process is the transitional period from a high school routine to something different and new. So I cannot stress this enough, give yourself a break and don't be so hard on yourself.
5. Have Fun With The Process
Even though this entire process may be new and different, have fun with it. The college process was the first experience I had where I essentially became an "adult" and started adulting. In some ways, it's fun being able to decide what you want to do in life. It may become stressful, however; there are some college experiences that are worthwhile and fun. It's tough to tell you to not make a big deal about the college process and to not stress over it. It really isn't as stressful as it seems. It's just something we all have to eventually go through in life.
Even though this process is new and different, it can be exciting. I believe we put too much importance on the process, which can be stressful and damaging to our health. Remember, what you do during the application process is basically representing who you are. As long as you're honest and tell them your strengths along with your weaknesses, you can never blame the outcome. During the application process, I really grew as a person and student. I realized that this is the first step of actual adult growth, and I actually learned a lot about myself. The application process is nothing compared to life, in the grand scheme of things. So take your time, and don't sweat it. You got this!