To be quite honest, I find myself avoiding the entire college process. Everything about it seems so untouchable, so confusing and new and, well, I get overwhelmed the minute the Common Application website asks for my password. It’s scary, you know, filling out forms and writing essays that have the potential to determine the rest of your life.
I’m certainly no psychologist, but I know that these feelings are shared by so many people right now. I also know that these feelings are temporary, and that there are multiple skills to help minimize the impact of these feelings on our daily lives. Below is a list of things that help me daily with college application anxiety, and, I’m sure, can help with other stressors as well.
- Curate a calm and productive morning routine.
A positive start to your day is everything. When we structure our lives around one thing – school, jobs, etc. – we’re programming ourselves to believe that these are the most important aspects of our lives. Now, I’m not saying these things aren’t integral, because they are, it’s just that our mental and physical health, our loved ones, and keeping these things stable are so so important. So, and this is a note to self: waking up ten minutes before you have to leave is not a good way to start the day. Wake up a little early, give yourself time to enjoy your morning tea or coffee, have a nice breakfast, move your body, snuggle your pets, and maybe even write a to-do list for the day – compiled of not just your assignments, but also your personal goals (ie. spend some time outside, go for a walk, practice gratitude.) I’m confident that structuring your day around yourself rather than the tasks you must complete makes your goals feel less like a burden and more like something to enjoy.
- Reward yourself.
Give yourself a chocolate after every question on the Common App if that works. But seriously, find ways to give yourself credit for the hard work you’re doing. Plan to spend your Saturday doing some college applications, but dedicate your Sunday to spending time with your friends. It’s so important to provide balance to yourself, reward yourself for the hard work you put in, and recognize that, even if no one else is patting your back, you know what you’re accomplishing.
- Make time for the things that bring you joy.
First of all, what does that mean to you? Is that hanging out with loved ones, or watching football on Sunday? Is it going on the ice every night, or baking something sweet each week? Whatever it is, schedule time for it. Both small, daily activities as well as bigger, weekly or monthly things that slow you down and inspire you. Make time for these things, because when you foster your own joy, you bring that joy with you – through life, through college, and through the application process.
- Ask for help.
We have so many resources right here on The Hill (shoutout Mrs. Nanof and Ms. Tracey). Not to mention how easily accessible everything is with the media and the internet. Reach out. Even if it feels scary, and even if you’re afraid of wasting your time. Asking for help is a skill, and it’s one you can use for the rest of your life. Learn how to use it now, and you’ll thank yourself later.
That’s all the advice I have right now. If you have more tips, please share them with me. I need all the help I can get, too. Queue the High School Musical “We're All In This Together” soundtrack. Good luck, Huskies!
With love, from The Hill