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Waiting… by Jessica Z. '27

and a more serious note about pre-decisions at the end

A few days ago, I scrolled through my camera roll to find an old picture. Instead, I found a nearly one year old video that I accidentally recorded when I was talking to my parents about college decisions. To spare myself the embarrassment, I won’t be posting that here, but it reminded me about some of the things I did to avoid thinking about decisions. Hopefully some of these help take your mind off of college, even if just for a few minutes :)

1.) Take Online Quizzes

My friends have long ridiculed me for taking pointless online quizzes, but I love taking them. I don’t hold any of these quizzes to have any merit or influence in my life, but I think they’re a fun way to take your mind off of something. Here are the most recent two quizzes I took:01 this also gave me an excuse to avoid studying for finals and retake these quizzes...

  • 16 Personalities: A classic quiz! It’s slightly longer than most, and some of the questions are pretty repetitive so it kinda feels like you’re answering the same questions over and over again, BUT, I feel like it’s a pretty fun quiz. I’m an INFJ-T, which stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging, and Turbulent.02 </span>For fun, here's my percentage breakdown: 53% Introverted, 56% Intuitive, 78% Feeling, 56% Judging, and 88% Turbulent :0
  • What Flower are You: My friend sent me this quiz to make a friendship garden collage! The quiz was made by The Linnaean Gardens of Uppsala, a botanical garden in Sweden. It’s very short—just six multiple choice questions—and gives you a flower based on your answers.

2.) Find Fun Google Chrome Extensions

I have a ~lot~ of Google Chrome extensions, but my two current favorites are:

  • Coffeelings: Ever since college started, I haven’t been able to keep up with bullet journaling as much as I’ve wanted, and I’ve slowly transitioned from writing in my planner to Google calendar-ing. Coffeelings is a mini journal that takes about ~5-10 minutes of your day, and I like that the mood tracker shows you a broad overview of how your mood has been over the entire year. Would highly recommend!!
  • Tabby Cat: Kano introduced me to Tabby Cat at the blogger retreat, and I immediately downloaded it. It generates a cat doodle with a random name each time you open a tab. It’s very cute and makes opening a new website tab for homework so much more enjoyable :^)

3.) Buy/Make Holiday Presents

Practical suggestion! I like making any sort of holiday gift package for people, and it’s even more fun with friends. A few days ago, my friends and I baked and decorated 25003 it was a lot, lot, lot of baking cookies to give to our friends before everyone left for the holidays.

4.) Write Thank-You Cards

Every time I finished writing a college essay last year or received an admissions decision, no matter the outcome, I wrote a thank-you card for someone in my life. It honestly made me feel a lot better during such a stressful time, and it was also just a really good way to remember the people who have helped me in my life. I think now, in college, it recently struck me how differently I interact with people simply because there’s so many more people around. You’d be surprised by how many people keep handwritten thank-you cards, too—I remember visiting my middle school teacher a few years ago, and he kept a thank-you card I wrote when I transferred schools. I love stationary so I like decorating my own cards, but even a simple scrawled note is a gesture that shows you appreciate someone in your life :’)

5.) Be a Tourist in Your Own Home

I’m originally from Jim Thorpe, a small tourist town in Pennsylvania. I never really expected to get homesick at all,04 another blog post for another time but when Thanksgiving and December rolled around, I really, really, really wanted nothing more than to just go home. One thing I wish I did more before leaving for college was just being a tourist in my own town and taking the time to appreciate it—I miss my town’s annual Winter celebration, the friendly chatter of neighbors I’ve known since childhood, the festive holiday stores that line the streets, and seeing my family and friends.

6.) Take a Deep Breath 

In a few days, it will mark one year since I was hunched over my laptop screen, refreshing the MIT Admissions portal and rereading MIT’s email about when results would release for the twentieth time. I remember the feeling of nervousness throughout the entire day, and it felt like I was constantly holding my breath. These nerves really didn’t disappear until I talked about it with one of my high school teachers.

She asked me a simple question: What would the decision take away from me? And it was that short question that helped me realize it wouldn’t take anything away. I would still want to study biology, and I would still want to do research. These motivations were, and are, entirely my own. When she told me this, I finally felt some of the stress leave.

I never really stopped to think about my life as a whole until I was forced to write about my life for college essays. Writing about your strengths, weaknesses, and challenges with unbridled authenticity is something valuable, and that is something to be proud of. Your commitment to your community or values aren’t any less important or representative of yourself—they’re wholeheartedly yours, and that is something that any college decision can’t give or take away from you.

I hope these words bring some comfort in the midst of waiting for decisions, and remember to enjoy your senior year of high school. Take some time to thank the people who have helped you and take a deep breath. Congratulations on taking the leap to submit your college applications, and good luck!


  1. this also gave me an excuse to avoid studying for finals and retake these quizzes... back to text
  2. For fun, here's my percentage breakdown: 53% Introverted, 56% Intuitive, 78% Feeling, 56% Judging, and 88% Turbulent :0 back to text
  3. it was a lot, lot, lot of baking back to text
  4. another blog post for another time back to text