Caring for Yourself During the College Application Process
For many students, senior year is defined by the college application process, the anxiety provoked by applying to schools and anticipating acceptance or rejection. While this process is important, I have become attuned to the way in which it subsumes high school students in an unhealthy manner. College applications are both important and demanding, but it is important to be able to balance your needs with the needs of your preferred universities. Here are a few of the many ways you can achieve this balance without disregarding your mental health.
1. Don’t centralize your schedule around college applications. It is easy for students to feel like their main priority is college applications, which causes daily lives to be overwhelmed with stress and anxiety. While college applications are important, they should not be your primary focus. One way to combat sole fixation on applications is to plan out your day and allocate specific amounts of time to each task you need to complete. Make sure to give yourself time to spend with family and friends (safely of course), complete schoolwork and college applications, and focus on yourself. While this may seem simple, many students subconsciously dedicate a majority of their thoughts and time to applications which can take away from other aspects of life. Plan your schedule in a way that is healthy for you, and maybe ask your family members or those close to you to help you maintain that schedule. This will help to ease overwhelming stress that spurs from applications and better balance your busy schedule.
2. Stay mindful of your well being and actively make healthy choices for yourself. It may be tempting to stay up late working on applications and schoolwork, but it’s important to get at least seven hours of sleep each night so you can continue to focus on school and college demands. These may seem cliché, but it is equally important that you are drinking water and eating protein, fruits and vegetables and carbohydrates. These practices will provide you with energy to work on assignments, making it easier to complete them. This is an extremely stressful time for most people, and it's easy to let the stress take over, but make sure you are remaining mindful and healthy.
3. Be patient with yourself. College applications are a lengthy process that will likely span over many months. Do not rush the process and try not to get angry with yourself. You will experience obstacles and challenges within the process that will be frustrating, but it is important to remember that you’re working hard, and you will be accepted to a school that you like. Give yourself time to carefully construct your application and reward yourself for each victory, such as finishing an essay, submitting an application or being accepted into a school. Recognize your achievements and be kind to yourself, and the process will likely feel less grueling.
This is an anxiety provoking time that can be extremely overwhelming for a majority of students. Allocate time for yourself and treat yourself with kindness throughout the application process. Remember that you will get through it, and you can reach out to others who are feeling the same way to create unity throughout this stressful time.