It’s that time of year-- you should be lying around, celebrating your respective holidays, drinking some hot chocolate, and binge watching your favorite show on Netflix. If you’re a senior in high school, however, chances are your day to day activities look nothing like that. Deadlines for many college applications are fast approaching (or perhaps have even passed already), and instead of enjoying Winter break as a much needed vacation, high school seniors everywhere are stressing about putting the finishing touches on their applications and actually doing what they’ve been working towards for the last six months, or maybe even year or two. Yeah, that’s right. I’m talking about clicking submit.
In theory, it’s an incredibly momentous occasion, but despite the weight it holds, the aftermath of clicking that button can feel almost anticlimactic, which is kind of weird, so I’m here to walk you through exactly how it was for me, and what my life was like after.
I submitted my application to Tufts at the same time as all of the applications to other schools I was applying to. I did this, I think, because I envisioned feeling some sort of rush, rejoicing in my completion of the process, if I just sent them all in all at once and revelled in my accomplishment. Not quite.
I’m not trying to say it wasn’t a great moment, the process was just much different than I thought it would be. If you applied early to Tufts (or any other school), you know that there are two parts of the Common App submission process: the information section, and the supplements section. You have to click through a comically large number of screens, agreeing to this and that, signing your name electronically (if you have a long name, I am so sorry), typing in your credit card number to give them all of your money (no, I’m not still bitter about this, why do you ask?), and some other busy work, for both sections. And then you have to do that for every. Single. School.
I worked with a College Counselor throughout my senior fall (Shout out to Sara Kratzok at Collegewise in Newton, MA, you da bomb), and after every section of every school that we finally submitted, we would shout, “Yaaaaaayyyy!” The first couple of “Yay!”s were genuine, but eventually, ten or so schools later, it was more of a “yaycanwepleasebedonewiththisnow”.
Tufts was the last school for which I needed to click submit. Just saving the best for last, you know? I started going through the motions, typing in what the Common App asked me for, and when the process was over, I finally felt the rush of emotion I had been expecting all along. The “Yay!” was more than a “Yay!”, it was, “YAYIFINALLYDIDITIT’SOVERWOO!”
The entire process was monotonous, and I almost forgot what I was doing while I was doing it, because the repetition, honestly, was mind numbing. But when I reached the end, when I finally clicked submit, and all of the work I’d done had been recorded and sent in and was ready to be read, I couldn’t contain my joy.
The glee lasted a few days, and then, not surprisingly, I started to freak out. Did I forget something? What if I made a typo? What if I’m not good enough?
If this is you, don’t panic. Here are some things that got me through the immediate aftermath of applying to Tufts (and other schools), and the long winter months until decisions came out.
It is done. Your applications are in, they are being read, and worrying/rereading your essays/nitpicking over every single thing you wrote or did will change nothing. If you made any mistakes (which I’m sure you didn’t), freaking out will not change that.
That’s a good thing. You probably poured every ounce of effort you had into those applications, so don’t freak out-- you did your best. No one can ask anything of you except your best. Trust your capabilities. You are awesome.
I’m going to say it again. Stop worrying about it. People have probably been telling you since September that senior year will be your best year of high school, and you’ve been all “WHAT are you talking about, I have five hours of homework, all of my extracurriculars, and endless pile of supplements to write, and I haven’t slept in days.” Well, the senior year you’ve dreamed of starts now. Once your applications are in (any day now, winky face), you can finally take a breather. No more college apps, and, you’re a second semester senior. That’s a kind of freedom that you probably haven’t had in years-- I’m not saying you should let your grades drop or start cutting class, but I am saying that any little misstep that you might have freaked out about a month ago, like getting some points off of a homework assignment, or taking a day off from school to catch up on some much needed sleep, you can now accept with open arms, knowing that you’ve made it through the woods. You deserve to cut yourself some slack. If you continue to stress out about the past, you won’t get to enjoy one of the best times of your life.
Take advantage of your freedom. Take a roadtrip with your friends. Seek adventure. Go out for ice cream late on a school night. Have a beach bonfire. Pick up a new hobby. Take naps. Play with your pets. Talk to your siblings and parents (pretty soon, you won’t live with them anymore).
Speaking of your parents, and any other important adults in your life (including teachers), thank them. You would not be who you are or where you are today without them. Regardless of how present they were during your application process, they have helped you get to this moment-- they drove you to kindergarten, picked you up from soccer practice, went to your eighth grade graduation. And if they didn’t do those things, they worked tirelessly to put food on the table so you could wake up each morning and thrive in school. Tell them how grateful you are. They will appreciate it.
These few months can be scary. They will certainly be suspenseful. But know you are not alone, and that worrying now will not change tomorrow. Trust yourself, enjoy your freedom, give back to those who have helped you, and enjoy your life-- it will all be okay in the end. And congrats! You made it.