Into the Pressure Cooker: Taming the Heat of College Prep

Cassidy Stolarek, Staff Reporter

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Tis’ the season, and Santa’s bringing loads upon loads of doubts, fears, questions, and stressors with him in his sleigh. What if my application didn’t submit? What if I could’ve done better on it? Will I get my top choice? How will I pay for this? Can I handle a rejection letter? What if my parents don’t agree? Did I sleep last night? When was the last time I sat down and had an actual meal? These questions are flooding through the minds of seniors and ambitious juniors everywhere this time of year. With the Thanksgiving season comes the un-thankfulness for every bad grade you’ve ever received, because now they come back to haunt you and the college admissions director looking through your transcript. You feel weak and overwhelmed; will you even make it out alive? Your hands are tired from writing to five different schools explaining the tiger to be your favorite mascot and how amazing you’d look in purple. Of the many pressures, the most common include attending a college parents can get on board with, completing the long and specific application process correctly, dealing with the current workload at school, and suppressing negative thoughts about the future. Everything is moving at the speed of light and before anyone can catch a breath a decision has to be made.

Fear not, for with great difficulty comes great opportunity. There are many things the average student can do to simmer the stress boiling up. For starters, don’t rush every meal. I wont tell you the whole deal with breakfast. Unlike Geico, I know when repeated phrases become meaningless. Most people come to the conclusion about the importance of meals while sitting in their third period listening to a lecture about derivatives of functions while a beluga whale sends loud calling signals from the dark empty pit that is their stomach. Stay ahead of the game, and always have food handy. Eating a meal with family gives time to talk through plans and ideas about college. It might bode well to exercise the stress away, that way you can start college with a fresh new six-pack and a healthier state of mind. If crunches and push-ups aren’t your cup of tea, then sit completely still in a room all by yourself. Meditation has proved to minimize stress through clearance of the mind. Listen to some good music while you’re at it, and plan busy days in advance. When the time comes to fill out applications, it’s easy to forget about current classwork and assignments. Despite what you may have been told, those assignments don’t just up and walk away until you’re ready to deal with them. Teachers may do this on purpose to motivate organization and increase independence. Don’t wait until the last minute to do things. A study done on teens preparing for college published roughly half the students had reported great deals of stress on a daily basis. Now, those students may have brought that stress upon themselves. There’s so much happening in so little time and the excitement is real. Here’s some food for thought, bare with me: maybe there’s something exciting about the drama of procrastination. So, maybe you wait until the last minute on a deadline or assignment because secretly you kind of love the drama of not knowing whether or not you’re going to make it. That’s what happens with school work, and while a little stress is motivational, don’t push it too far. I can’t promise acceptance letters, but I can promise a healthier attitude towards your family and your mailman with these simple tricks to ease your mind.

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