Whew! The flustered, harried college application season is over at last. Schools have been listed, essays have been churned out, and the stressful frenzy has finally quieted. The weight is off your shoulders, and now you can enjoy the last semester of high school in peace.
“So, are you excited for college? Where are you going?” your aunt/friend’s parent/other well-meaning adult suddenly asks, shattering your pleasant illusion.
You’re not done yet, and a new anxiety sets in.
One year ago, I had no idea where I would be in seven months. I didn’t know how I felt about leaving home. I wanted to just focus on enjoying senior year. I didn’t feel like explaining myself over and over again to various acquaintances who were attempting to make small talk.
On many occasions I felt like ignoring these kinds of questions and not thinking about my academic future. Alas, that would be rude. So I gave half-hearted, generic answers like: “Well, I just finished applying, so I won’t know where I’ve been accepted until April…”
I became so annoyed by the prevalence of these questions that one night, at dinner, I asked my parents to completely stop asking me about college unless it was extremely important. They were good sports about it, even though they didn’t understand why talking about college bothered me so much. In retrospect, the repetitive questions not only aggravated my anxiety about waiting for acceptance or rejection but they were also a constant reminder of my uncertainty about the future in general.
To my past self I would say, “Worry not: admissions are way less of a big deal once you get there, and lots of cool stuff happens, and the future will still be scary but you’ll be so busy studying gas laws and biking across cities that you won’t notice as much.”
So take heart, waiting seniors. Put thoughts of admission and the ever-elusive future on the back burner, encourage your family to do the same, and grab your second semester by the horns. Go out of your way to enjoy all the fun things about high school (while still working hard in your classes, of course). Preemptively and aggressively begin non-college small talk with your relatives, if necessary.
The semester is yours, and you can deal with admission/rejection when you get there.