This post was original published on The Prospect, a college admissions and high school/college lifestyles website. It was written by Eric Aldieri, a freshman at Villanova University. You can follow Eric on Twitter.
It's March, which means college decisions are coming out rapidly. You hardly have time to come to terms with one school's rejection before you are overcome with joy at the sight of another one's acceptance. The month is a roller coaster of anxiety, excitement, tears of joy and sorrow. Luckily, you have The Prospect to guide you through this hectic period (relatively) unscathed.
Here are some effective ways to help deal with college admissions decisions.
1. Comfort Food
There is no time to be health-conscious when that first rejection comes along. Ice cream, pizza, the entire Starbucks menu, pounds upon pounds of M&Ms -- whatever your vice may be --embrace it. Almost nothing can match the astounding healing power of food. You can work it off come May... or some other time.
2. The Nearly Unbearably Sad (Woe Is Me) Playlist
Have it ready. Use it wisely. This playlist is the only earthly entity that knows how you feel during this time period. It cuddles you with melancholic bliss as you close your blinds and go back to bed -- and undeniably contains Radiohead's "Creep" along with Johnny Cash's version of "Hurt". Who cares if it's a little melodramatic? You just got wait listed at your top choice -- you have a right!
3. Alternatively, the "I'm Over this School Anyway, Let's Go Be Happy for Spring" Playlist
For some people with crushing sadness, Radiohead might do more damage than damage control. For these people, it's almost definitely time to turn up the Vampire Weekend and go for a ride. Just try not to think about the fact that all four of the band members went to Columbia University while you're belting the unforgettable lyrics of "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa".
Let's thank Netflix for this marvelous coping mechanism, because in reality, you love Kevin Spacey and House of Cards more than you ever loved University of Chicago. And with 13 episodes tackled in 36 hours, the relationship you have with him is real -- much more than any university could have possibly granted you. Your heart is captured, and although your body is slowly melting into your couch, at least your mind is off the rejection.
5. The Primal Scream
Hike to the top of a local mountain and let it all out. Scream because it's over -- because you made it. Scream because you're ecstatic and nervous for what's to come. Scream because you feel bad for the school that missed out. Yell at the top of your lungs how grateful and happy you are with the final outcome. Let the world know that you have officially conquered the college application process, that you made it out alive. Sometimes all you need to do is let it all out -- and nature doesn't judge.
6. Now Let's Get a Little More Serious
It's going to be stressful -- and that's okay. One very important habit to learn is to resist comparisons. Your best friend's acceptances do not overshadow your outcomes, and since there are literally thousands of factors that come into play when an admissions committee makes its decision, comparisons to your peers are genuinely silly.
Now let's try to put this all in perspective. The mere fact that you applied to college puts you in a far more privileged position than the majority of the world. According to The Huffington Post, 6.7 percent of the world's population has a college degree. So no matter where you end up come September, you're on pace to join a fortunate few. Someone has recognized your efforts, talents, intelligence, and all that jazz and wants you on their campus. Too many high-achieving high school students sell themselves short and fail to realize that that means something (despite the high tuition price).
And of course, once you get to college, it's all on you. No one's watching over your shoulder or giving you directions. On this scene, you pave your own road -- and although it's cliché, anything is within reach once you've made it to this stage. So go ahead: Sulk for a couple of days. Eat Pringles, breathe Netflix, and sleep often for a while. But when those few days are up, it's time to get back on track and look ahead toward the inevitably awesome and enriching experience that is college. You've earned it.