As we approach the lacuna between when decisions are finalized and released — the few quiet hours that Ben once called the eye of the storm — I wanted to take a breath and collect some words of encouragement from bloggers past about the very specific feeling that is awaiting your college decisions. We’ve had many posts about decisions, but here are some that I thought were especially comforting, and might quilt together into a nice, cozy blanket to curl around you while you wait.
it’s okay to be nervous, anxious, excited, whatever emotions you’ll feel right before you view that decision. remind yourself to breathe and ground yourself, even if just for a second. and we, the bloggers, will be here with you, talking with you, and existing in the same virtual space as you when the time comes.
I knew I would be nervous when the time came, because who wouldn’t be? My usual defense in this kind of situation (aka any kind of situation) is to make lots of plans, so I had ’em ready in spades: I imagined, as realistically as I could, how it would feel to be rejected so that the emotion wouldn’t come as a shock. I told my parents that I wanted to open my decision alone so we could get the argument out of the way in advance. I googled for various rejection letters so that I would be able to recognize mine immediately and wouldn’t have to keep reading as my stomach sank. I decided on a restaurant to go to (a fancy, really good dessert place), which would be a consolation or a celebration as needed.
but actually, whatever the header on decisions.mit.edu displays tomorrow, you’ll do awesome things. i wish i’d known earlier that good colleges aren’t prerequisites to success. in the end, you’ll be yourself wherever you go.
to distract and enliven you, the students here have offered some serious and/or fun resources. below is our list, composed collaboratively and in no particular order.
If you’re sitting there, reading this with something between butterflies and hornets, I encourage you to stand up, shut off your communication devices, make a playlist, and go out for a long walk. Your air may not be as crisp, and your decisions are released earlier than ours were, but I’m willing to bet that some fresh air and a fresh perspective would do you some good.
And breathe. Slow inhale on a count of four, hold for a count of four, exhale on a count of four. Repeat twice more.
You’re gonna be okay.
Achieving your dreams takes skill, perseverance, but also a good amount of luck. And who you are, your passions, your goals, your dedication matters so much more than the school you go to. Appreciate who you are right now and the people you surround yourself with, because right now in your life SO MUCH is going to change SO QUICKLY and you want to hold onto these memories as you grow up. Because growing up can be really scary.
Be bold. Make mistakes. Nothing can be as bad as you imagine because if you’re anything like me you’re imagining total embarrassment and an apocalyptic sinking feeling and nightmarish chaos and the entire world shunning you forever and ever. And it sounds a little ridiculous when you say it out loud, because it really will never get THAT bad.
Here is my deep life advice, for the next week and forever after. Going places and reaching your goals takes luck, skill, and perseverance. It depends more on you than on the school you go to. Keep the future in mind, but live in the present. Enjoy what you do and the people you are with. Take chances; be bold enough to put your all into everything you do. You’ll probably miss at least as often as you hit, but trying hard and trying often are more important than succeeding, since the positive impact of your successes will eventually far exceed your losses.
As hard as I know it is, try not to obsess over your pending decision. Do spend time with your family and friends, and revel in the last few months of your childhood before you have to buy your own groceries (the rest of us are jealous, really). Do the things you keep putting off.
The point is, we’ve been there – we all know feeling of anticipation right before decisions are released, what it feels like to be accepted into a school, what it feels like to get a rejection letter. And the best way I can think of to calm your nerves right now is to assure you that whatever happens in two days, you are going to do great things and you are going to have a wonderful college experience if you want to and if you work for it. Out of fear of sounding insincere or trite, I hesitate to use these tired cliches, but there’s nothing else I can really think to say. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and while you can debate the validity of that philosophy, what is absolutely unquestionable is that your applications were in amazing hands.
And here’s the most soothing thing I know for some background music: