January means a New Year, but for high school seniors, it also means that the due dates for regular decision college applications are coming up. As an early action applicant for this year, I feel the need to give some advice to those of you who may spend the next couple of weeks (or months) stressing over if you’ll get in or not. Personally, I spent the time between sending in applications and hearing back in total distress — it sucked. During that time, I had gotten advice from my siblings, older friends, and some online public figures who attend college on how to survive this period of impatience. Like me, you might spend all your time wondering how much your scholarships will be, what college will be like when you get there, if you’ll make friends… the list of general college queries goes on and on. There is a way, however, to get through this seemingly never-ending period of time without stressing so much about whether you got into your dream school or if you’re even smart enough to get into the safety school that you’re guidance counselor recommended (which you are, by the way). Here’s a short list of ways to distract yourself for the next few weeks and enjoy your last few months of high school.
Don’t give into senioritis
Senioritis is absolutely real, but you can conquer it! It might feel like school is insignificant now that you’re almost halfway through your senior year, but don’t think about it that way. School will always be important no matter what and having the best grades you can achieve will always matter. Maintaining your grades now is especially important in case the school you choose to go to next year wants to reevaluate your grades from the end of senior year. It would be awful if you got into a school that you really want to go to just to have them revoke your scholarship or even your place in the class based on some grades from your senior year. Plus, you don’t want to make it hard to maintain stamina. If you forget how to study well now, you’re only making it harder for yourself at the beginning of college. I know that you’re probably rolling your eyes right now, but it’s true.
Enjoy the time you have left with your high school friends
I know it’s exciting to think about all of the new friends you’ll be making next year, but don’t forget about the friends you have in your hometown! You’re not going to see too much of them next year (even with the invention of FaceTime and Skype) and you’ll regret not enjoying time with them this year. Study together, watch a movie, party, go to restaurants and concerts and carnivals, and take tons of pictures (to hang in your future dorm, obviously). Do whatever you all want to do, but find any excuse to have fun. When you’re older, you’ll want to reminisce, not regret what you could have experienced but didn’t.
Don’t forget about your family
It might seem lame to some people to have “family nights,” but you’re not going to have many next year if you choose to study far away from home. If you have a close-knit family, you’re really lucky and you should value them as much as you can right now, especially if you go away to school. Play outside with your little brother, hang out with your nearby cousins, or watch a movie with your mom. (Many of us can say that she’s the one who’s done the most for us. Show her you’ll miss her despite how anxious and excited you probably are). Don’t go out every night with your friends for food because you’ll miss the way your mom makes spaghetti or how your dad nails the way he cooks pancakes, and you should enjoy their cooking (and spending time with them) while you can.
Focus on the time that you have left knowing everyone surrounding you
There’s never going to be another time where you get to know the people around you for thirteen whole years. Personally, I go to a small public school, so I am speaking literally about knowing everybody, but even if you go to a big school this can hold some truth. Maybe it feels like you still don’t even know everyone in your grade, or maybe you do know them all and don’t like most of them, but they’re still familiar faces. While that can be mundane, not having familiar faces can make you feel like you’re completely on your own. I’m not saying that you won’t get used to a few faces at college- but it’ll never be the same as it is right now.
Throughout the year, I’ve found that being a senior is a very special thing. Even though it may seem like High School Musical hyped it up a little too much, it wasn’t completely off. It is a time like no other in our lives. We might not burst into song randomly or have flash mobs during lunch, but it’s the last year of being a kid. It’s one year of the last part of our lives where we will have freedom and, if we are privileged enough, to not have the burden to have to pay for our own bills or take care of someone else. It is one of the last years we will write “student” when forms ask for an occupation and the last year ever where those of us who are fortunate enough to have a healthy relationship with a parent will live under that same roof as them and have their shoulder right down the hall to cry on when we are in need of it. As we enter the part of the year that will (hopefully) be academically easier for some of us, try not to focus on whether or not you got into a school, because whether you stress about it or not, the results will be the same in the end. Every single person who views this article will land on their feet so long as they believe in themselves, put their mind into everything they do, and relinquish themselves from any unnecessary stress. Good luck to everyone in the Class of 2019 who is waiting to hear back; I believe in you.
Photo: Heather Gillin