“Twenty-ten” is upon us. For many students, the new year marks an end to the college application process and the beginning of the rest of senior year. As we return to school, still clinging to our winter break sleeping patterns, we take a deep breath and prepare ourselves for what comes next.
Decisions are sent in March and April––actually not too far away from now. It’s hard to believe first semester is nearly past. Two or three months should go by in a heartbeat. But if you’ve ever stared at the clock in class, anxious for lunch or the end of school, you know that the time you spend waiting can seem like an eternity. It’s the same case with waiting for college decisions. We may stare at the clock second semester, or we can make the most of the rest of senior year.
This is your last year of high school. Make it worthwhile. Why spend this time on cruise control––being lazy, being tired, being bored? It is never too late to pursue some interest that might carry over to college. Graduation and all the festivities will eventually come, but surely there is something you can do to graduate little by little until then. Set your sights on that unrealized ambition, that broken relationship, that patch of darkness in someone else’s life. As Katie Malachuk says in her book You’re Accepted, “This waiting period is a fantastic time in your life for becoming skilled at non attachment, precisely because this time in your life is so ripe for attaching to fantasies of your future. Remember, if you can let go of specific ideas of what should happen to you, you are setting yourself up for more bigger and better things than you can imagine. Letting go leaves space for the new to come in.”
This is also likely your last year at home. If you haven’t already, begin to learn how to take “home” with you to college. Learn how to do your own laundry, for example. Colleges tend to have rather small washing machines so familiarize yourself with all the different functions and settings. Spend time in the kitchen. If you don’t want to eat dorm food all your life start to help make dinner. Learn how to use a credit card and write checks properly. Go to the grocery store. Gas up every car in your family’s garage. Take responsibility.
In the next few months, don’t doubt the schools you’ve applied to. You applied to them for a reason and you’ve put forth your best effort. Don’t stress about the circumstances you can’t control. However, do continue to learn more about these schools. Explore financial aid options, visits campuses, talk with alumni, and seek scholarships. It is very important to keep your grades up as well. Every year, a few distraught seniors have their offers of admission rescinded because they slacked off second semester. At this point, you’ve worked too hard to be one of them. Don’t throw it all away.
When decisions arrive in the spring, don’t lose control. Stay humble for acceptance––remember, for every acceptance someone else was turned down. On the other hand, rejection is a character-building experience in all aspects of life. From relationships to career paths, rejection is something we all experience at some point. Above all, place things in a larger context. 1 out of every 100 people in the world today earns a college degree. You could have been born in the Dark Ages or during the Bubonic Plague. Not very fun. You are comparatively fortunate to have the opportunity to apply to college in the first place. Do see the big picture and where you fit in.
Time is an interesting thing. When we are bored and waiting for something interesting to happen to us, time can come to a standstill. When we are fully aware and living in the moment, time can also seem to slow down. Evidently, our days can be spent doing more than waiting. Whether we are anticipating lunch or graduation, time is ours to control.
The Teen Wire provides a perspective on today's youth, in the face of a changing world. Daniel Morizono, a senior at San Ramon Valley High School, news editor of the Wolfprint, and managing editor of the SRVHS International Studies Academy can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the fifth in a six-week series of blogs about applying to college by admission advisor Elizabeth LaScala and Teen Wire high school senior Daniel Morizono - showing both sides of the coin, so to speak. Topics will cover everything from pressures to apply early, to parental involvement, to dealing with acceptance, rejection and the hated wait-list option.