By Katherine Varga
You are going to be fine.
Whether you’re still trying to finish your applications or you’re going through pints of Ben & Jerry’s as you wait to hear back from colleges, right now you’re probably feeling like biting your nails till they’re gone or running away to hide in a bear cave (or doing whatever it is you do to deal with stress). We collegiettes have all been where you are now, and we can assure you that you will make it out alive. Eventually, you’ll end up fine. Or better than fine.
Here are just a few reasons why there’s no need to panic.
1. You’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.
As you click “submit” on your application, you wonder if all of those hours spent taking and re-taking the SATs, writing your personal statement and filling out forms will have been worth it. Maybe you feel a little dead inside.
Let’s not think of this feeling as “stress.” Let’s refer to your college-admission-related nerves as “apprehension.” Or perhaps “concern.” It’s actually very good that you’re feeling this. No, it’s not a pleasant feeling, but it’s good that you feel so invested in this. Your concern means you’re doing something that matters to you.
Your concern means you want to get into college and further your education. This might sound cheesy, but your concern is your strength. Sure, this concern might keep you up at night, or make you want to shut out the world and marathon-watch Pretty Little Liars. But that concern comes from an internal drive to challenge yourself, to learn and to grow. You think what you’re doing is important, and because it matters to you, you’re going to pull through.
2. Where you go to school is not a measure of your character.
We want to say that where you go doesn’t matter, but that’s not entirely true. If you hate winter, don’t apply to safety schools in upstate New York. If you love crowds, you might feel stifled at a school with 200 undergrads. Beyond that, though, if a school is a decent fit, it doesn’t really matter where you go or where you get accepted.
If you don’t get accepted to Harvard, it doesn’t mean the admissions people there don’t think you’re good enough. It simply means that everyone and their cat applies to Harvard, and only a few can get in. After a point, getting into competitive schools is simply a matter of luck. Besides, you might find that a highly ranked school is not the best place for you.
“I don’t understand why you need to go to an Ivy League just because it’s an Ivy League,” says Patricia, a senior at University of Rochester. “Prestige is not as important as a good fit.”
It doesn’t matter where you go, but what you do while you’re there does.
It doesn’t matter where you go, but what you do while you’re there does. Remember, Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls thought she wanted to go to Harvard, but ended up going elsewhere. If Rory had gone to Harvard, she never would have started dating Logan or taken over her school newspaper.
3. You have other things to focus on.
Your awesome collegiate experiences are still months away. Right now you can take advantage of your awesome high school experiences. Even in the midst of apprehension and concern, you can find comfort by focusing on the little things that will stick with you when you start college. “I miss climbing the trees outside of my high school,” says Ashleigh, a senior at the University of Rochester.
Laugh too loud when you joke with your friends during lunch, and absorb the bittersweet joy of senior celebrations. Take a walk at dusk and enjoy the feeling of being home. Find serenity wherever you can.