I tend to write based on the circumstances under which I am currently living. And right now, that is the college application process. It’s now time for all of the effort spent keeping his grades up, preparing for standardized testing, gathering writing samples and recommendations, and visiting six college campuses to pay off. We have reached the application and essay phase. We are all in and looking forward to the November 1st deadline.
Our son confided in me yesterday that he hasn’t really been stressed about the process until now. Now it is real. I am hoping that by applying some tried and true principles, we can both get through the process with minimal stress.
I have encouraged him to remember – to thine own self be true. I may have ideas about what I think is best for him (after all, it’s been my job for the past 17 years) and his friends may try to influence his choice, but only he knows what environment will feel like home, will feel supportive, will offer the types of classes and programming that will give him the collegiate experience he is looking for. I am a division I, large state school gal. He is small, private, division III guy.
I encouraged him to remember his goals. Our public school system started teaching students about setting goals in Kindergarten. When I was a kid, I do not remember anyone ever talking to me about goals. I often wonder how things would be different in my life if I had learned to set goals. When faced with a challenge, I have taught my son to check things against his goals. How will the decisions he make advance what he is working towards? What are the possible roadblocks? The promise of moving him closer to his goals was a big factor in ranking his college choices.
I visited two college and applied to one. I was accepted. But for my son and his peers, applying to college feels like a full time job. When the demands of the process get to be too much, I remind him to do the next right thing. Blocking out the long To Do list and focusing on the next thing to move the process along has served us well.
When it all becomes too much – step back and take a break. Dialing up something from the Netflix queue, going for a run, grabbing a quick power nap, or whipping up some cookies are all sanctioned breaks in our home.
Celebrate the victories. Whether it is prioritizing schools in order of preference, a draft of the application essay, a great meeting with the cross country coaches, we counted them as victories and took the time to enjoy them. We are looking forward to celebrating meeting the November 1st deadlines and then to celebrating receiving his acceptance letters later this fall.