“I’m so stressed!” “How will I ever make it through the application process?” “I’m completely overwhelmed!” “What if I don’t get in anywhere?” “I wish people would stop asking about college!”
These are just a handful of comments we have been hearing from many seniors in high school lately. College applications often feel like the biggest mountain that you’ve ever had to climb. From visiting and selecting schools, to taking standardized tests, to determining financial feasibility, to completing endless forms (including everyone’s favorite: the personal essay) – the tasks pile up higher and higher. All in addition to the regular stress of being a high school student.
When stress levels are high, our natural instinct is to avoid the cause of stress. This instinct has kept humans alive on this planet for hundreds of thousands of years. But while it has proved helpful in avoiding say saber-toothed tigers, it’s not so helpful when it leads to procrastination or feeling trapped by anxiety.
During these moments, try to remember that the stress you feel is an indication of how much you care about your future. Why else would you be putting yourself through all of this?! Think about what college represents for you as you move through your path in life. The application process is one of many mountains on the journey you are taking. Keep in mind the ultimate destination – independence, education, career satisfaction, or whatever you are seeking – as you create a meaningful life for yourself.
And if you find yourself stuck on your path, try taking the tiniest step you can think of: just pulling out the stack of applications, or reviewing 1 SAT question. Then pat yourself on the back for making progress up that mountain. We all get stuck sometimes and it’s often helpful to get feedback from someone at a distance who might be able to see your climb from a different angle. All of us here at PHC are standing by to offer that support.