Fiona's Blog: How to Handle College March Madness
For those of you who may be high school seniors or know high school seniors, you’re probably aware that April 1st marks the end of a long, grueling process for anyone who applied to college this year. That’s right—in addition to being the day of whoopee-cushions and fake spiders, April 1st was a day many anticipated as the end of their waiting game.
In my case, college decisions trickled in over the course of the last week, my final two decisions rolling in today. On Thursday, six of my colleges gave me my decisions all within the same hour (fun hour, right?). So, these are my three suggestions for how to handle the college March Madness.
1. Don’t countdown. This is probably the hardest advice to follow, but if you can do it you will thank yourself later.
While you may feel an undeniable urge to treat April 1st like the New Year’s ball drop and count down the days, hours, and minutes with everyone you know, this is probably isn’t the best idea. Even though it’s exciting and nerve wracking to wait for your decisions, the more you can play down your nerves and try and trick your body and mind into believing that you don’t really care, the less let-down you may feel if you get bad news. It will also reduce the stress of the actual moment when you check your decisions, which is something I will get to next.
2. Secure the perimeter. This may sound a bit intense, but seriously, when it comes to actual decision-checking go time make sure you’re in a secure location.
You don’t want to be stressed out while you’re checking your decision. Maybe you want to be in your room alone, maybe you want to check at school with a close friend and a teacher nearby, maybe you want to check it on your phone at dinner with your parents. Everybody has a different environment that they find relaxing, so I can’t prescribe a specific place. However, I can give you an idea of what not to do, based on my personal experience.
I was in California on Thursday when I had to check six decisions, and in my attempt to convince myself that I didn’t care that much and shouldn’t make a big deal out of the situation, I didn’t prepare to check my decisions away from home. This led me to have to request new passwords from almost all of my colleges (I have a nifty way of forgetting all my passwords) while I tried to find out my decisions.
The day that everyone checks their decisions online is probably not the best time to be requesting passwords, so I found myself locked out of one website (I think they suspected I was a hacker after I tried to guess my own password forty times). At one point, I was sitting there desperately trying to guess my favorite food from childhood in an attempt to answer a security question I had created on one of my accounts.
As you can imagine, this made for an impossibly stressful situation during which I attempted to log onto six accounts at once and became very frustrated with technology. There was a lot of cursing and nervous drinking of Cokes (which I regretted a few hours later as I tried to go to bed). The moral of that story can be found in any sex-ed class: be prepared.
3. It ain’t over until it’s over. Nobody wants a play by play.
When I got my first college decision, I began emailing and texting everyone I knew. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration but I sent out some texts and emails. When my second decision came in, I sent out another update. At which point I realized that nobody else was quite as invested in this as I was and I was being a bit annoying. For the sake of your own sanity—and if you want to keep your friends—wait until the end to debrief.
In addition, remember that your friends are probably going through the same thing as you and don’t necessarily want to hear your victories and defeats while they grapple with their own. Reach out to them when it’s all over to check in with them as a friend. No one can adequately weigh their situation until they know all of their options. In my case, I was rejected from what I thought was one of my top choices, but I ended up really happy with my results due to other acceptances I wasn’t expecting. I’m glad I reserved my judgments for after all the decisions came in.
Finally—and you’ll hear this a million times during the college process—relax! It will all work out okay in the end.