Look around your high school right now, particularly at the seniors. What do you see? Frequent checks of cell phones in the hallways? Random afternoons when whole chunks of the class lose their minds in tears and hide in the bathroom? Just level ten anxiety? This, my friends, is your future. (**insert dramatic doom music***)
Right now, admissions decisions are coming out in earnest and you would think the plague was upon us (it is not). I recently heard a guidance counselor describe the scene at her school the day their flagship in-state institution released decisions as “total carnage.” (Yikes! An overstatement, I’m sure, but you get the idea)
But you have the power to change it. I will teach you to be happy, and this is how:
LOVE YOUR LIST
The bottom line on this process is that you will go to college. Where? We do not know. But if you follow the wisdom of parents, guidance counselors, common sense, and a guidebook or two, you’ll get in somewhere. And the key to happiness is something you’re working on right now: assembling a list of potential colleges.
You should be excited about each and every school to which you apply. You should be able to imagine yourself on their campus living a happy and fulfilling four years. If you can’t: why apply at all? And if you can, your absolute worst case scenario this time next year is that you will be admitted to at least one school you’re excited about. Not so bad, right? No need for panic at all.
There will always be schools on your list that excite you more than others, but keep an open mind. Not even your top choice school is perfect (every institution has its flaws), and achieving human happiness is possible in more than one setting.
So be positive. Be open minded. Allow yourself to embrace a variety of schools, not just the ones with low admit rates. And know that the work you put in to building a thoughtful list now will pay off in huge dividends this time next year when you are immune (somewhat) to the hysteria.
P.S.- Seniors, if you’re reading this: sit tight. We’re still in committee eating lots of popcorn and lovingly homemade cookies in the shape of elephants (thanks, Jessica!). It’s not time yet.