Opinion: The anxiety of college acceptance process

As a senior, I feel like college has basically been the only topic of conversation. It seems all people ever ask me anymore are questions like: “Where do you plan on going?” “Did you apply for any scholarships?” “Do you plan on staying in state or going out of state?” 

Since the application process is over, it has become even more difficult to answer these questions since I don’t even know where I’ll get in.

The waiting process is different for everyone, but that doesn’t make it any less difficult. Personally, waiting for these decisions has tested my anxiety in every horrible way possible. Watching other people receive their acceptances has been tough because I genuinely want to be happy for them, and I am, but at the same time, I can’t help but worry it will not be the same for me. 

Allowing my future to be in the hands of someone else has been alarming, but the worst part is that I cannot do anything about it. Not being able to control the process has been scary, but I created a four step guide to manage the anxiety of waiting. 

Step 1: Minimize the college talk 

Keeping the college talk minimal has been a blessing in disguise. It has not been easy to steer away from the college talk, but trying to get away from it as much as I can has decreased my anxiety. There is nothing anyone can do to change what you put on your application, so why dwell on it? Waiting for your college decisions is already a frightening part of the process, but having to talk about it just adds unnecessary stress into the mix. I find it effective to try to subtly change the topic of conversation or kindly say I don’t want to talk about it. 

Step 2: Be realistic 

Being able to face reality has been a challenge, but it truly helps a lot. Think about your GPA, test scores, supplementals and essay and try to match it with the statistics online of the colleges you applied to. It can be difficult to think about for many reasons, but it can paint a picture about where you could end up in the future. Being prepared for any possible outcome has eased my mind by letting me know that no matter what happens, I will be OK. Even though doing this can create an accurate visualization of what may happen, a lot of colleges may surprise you. As long as you know you tried your absolute best, know that any outcome is possible. 

Step 3: Stay confident 

I always remind myself that my time in high school was worthwhile due to the skills I possess that got me through each of my classes. Keeping this in mind has helped me gain confidence, allowing me to believe that I can get into any college that I applied to. It may be easy for this confidence to turn into overconfidence, but be prepared for any outcome while also believing that you have the power to do whatever you want to do. 

Step 4: Find a distraction 

Doing this has been the main solution to my anxiety. During the weekdays, doing homework, reading and even sleeping have physically prohibited me from checking any college portals. Usually, when I have a full to-do list, I get stressed out, but in this situation, having it allows me to put my time and energy into something I know will have a worthwhile outcome. On the weekends, I try my best to make plans with friends and family. This has been the best way to take my mind off of anything college related. 

Every person copes in different ways, and I know that the process is challenging, but there are ways to resolve that. No matter what it is, try to stay calm and remember that everything happens for a good reason.