Dear High School Seniors,
A year ago I was in your shoes. Anxious, worried, stressed, and about one letter away from having a mental breakdown. If it wasn’t filling out application after application for scholarships, it was every person within a 60-mile radius of me asking what I was doing next year. This is the best and the worst time of your lives. So, as someone who survived the war zone that is Senior year, gather round your computer as Veteran Morgan tells you a story.
In December the oppressing feeling that you need to be the most accomplished, know-it-all, confident person in all of the land starts to hit. SAT scores, volunteer hours, and GPA are all that matter in life. That party on Saturday is not going to happen, and you need to get at least a 25 on your ACT before you can even think about watching the latest episode of your favourite television show. It’s no wonder your hair is turning grey because of the stress. But in all honesty, once you move past this time of just incredible pain and suffering, you’re going to realize that it isn’t the end of the world.
I’ve always been one of those people who takes an ounce of stress and turns it into an ocean. And with Senior year, which is already an ocean by itself, I dried up every body of water on Earth with my stress levels.
Looking back, I see there were so many things that I stressed about that I had no control over and therefore shouldn’t have stressed.
Once you apply for a scholarship you should stop stressing. Once the application is in their hands there is nothing else you can do. And if you call them daily badgering the committee about it, they are probably not going to give you the scholarship due to general annoyance.
Other than participating in activities, working hard in school, and following the basic steps for the application (such as writing a great essay), there is not a super secret way to be accepted into your dream college. You can visit as many times as you want, but they aren’t going to care. You can befriend as many faculty as you want, but it isn’t going to make a difference. Each school has a certain set of standards, and if your application doesn’t reflect what they are looking for, you just need to accept it.
Just because you haven’t gotten your letter yet does not mean you didn’t get in. I applied to the same school as a boy in my class and he got his letter two days before me. So during AP Government, when I should have been focusing on the lesson, I was totally focused on the fact that he’d gotten in and I had no letter. But that was ridiculous as when I texted my mother after class she assured me that my letter had in fact arrived in the mail that day, a beautiful, special acceptance letter.
Teachers are not going to write you awful letters of recommendation. As a student who prides herself as being respectful to her teachers, I shouldn’t have worried that my teachers would say, “Morgan is the worst student I ever had and would be a terrible candidate for university.” Unless you are one of those students who does not take their schooling seriously and has no regard for authority, chances are that your teacher is going to write you a great recommendation letter. The only thing you can do is to be nice to the teacher you want and make sure they get to know you before they write a letter.
Rejections should not stress you out. Honestly, half of your stress is going to come from people telling you, “No.” Rejection letters from universities and scholarship committees are your biggest fear (don’t lie, I know you) and you will lose sleep wondering what happens when you receive that letter. Here’s the thing though, you can’t do anything once you receive that letter. You can’t call them and ask for a second chance. You were supposed to send your best work in the first time, so why would you need another chance? When you receive those rejection letters, please know it’s not personal. These people are looking for the best candidates for their service. Maybe that’s not you. Just know that somewhere you are the best candidate, and if you keep working hard you’ll have more acceptances than rejections.
These are all going to be stresses you are going to have. But you will get through them. Before you know it, you’ll be at university sitting with hundreds of people who went through the exact same process and are now living the life. We act like getting into college is the destination, but is simply our starting point.
Now, put down those books and take a long breath. You’ve worked so hard for something that is going to be an ongoing process until June. This is a great time to live. You are ending high school, a time of trials and tribulations and ridiculous dating drama. Grab a blanket, a mug of salted caramel hot chocolate, and your laptop and watch that episode you’ve been dying to see. Go outside and take a walk, the only thought in your brain how much you like the song your iPod is playing. Invite your friends over and spend a night away from the applications and textbooks and enjoy your time together. This time next year you won’t have the opportunity to do this.
The stress will always be there, whether you are filling our university applications or dealing with a mortgage. We’re young, we’re single, we’re meant to be enjoying this time. So either pick up a book and feel your heart clench with stress and anxiety, or take a night off and watch a film before returning to your studies tomorrow.
How are you going to spend your Senior year?
Sincerely, You in a Year
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