Fall is a beautiful time of year with the leaves turning red and pumpkin spice lattes making their annual comeback, but the beauty of the season is hard for seniors to enjoy when all they can see is college application deadlines looming in the distance like the Grim Reaper. September is the month where reality truly sets in for upcoming graduates as they scramble to choose schools, fill out applications, and write college essays. All the stress makes it hard for seniors to sit back and enjoy their last year before they enter the world of adulthood; what can they do to ease their anxiety?
Firstly, and most importantly, getting enough sleep is crucial in maintaining a low level of stress. As manageable as functioning like a zombie sounds, it is no way for seniors to spend such a crucial time in their lives; they do not need the additional stress that sleep-deprivation brings. "Sleep can definitely reduce levels of stress. And with that people can have better control of their blood pressure,” Dr. Raymonde Jean, MD, says. Those eight to ten hours of complete decompression are important for any teenager but especially those who have applications to fill out and essays to write. Filling out applications is taxing enough; there is no need to overcomplicate it by doing it while half-asleep.
Finding emotional support is also essential to surviving the college application process. Trying to complete everything alone can make the task seem more daunting than it already is which is why talking to someone about it, and not being afraid to ask for help is incredibly important. Help can come from a parent, sibling, friend, or guidance counselor. Whether it is just a pep talk or an in-depth discussion on how to effectively write a college essay, the pivotal process will seem significantly less terrifying for students if they know they are not alone.
Taking breaks is also not a bad thing when applying for colleges. While week-long breaks are not always the best idea, day-long breaks can be extremely helpful. Working on applications for an extended period of time can make anyone’s brain feel fried, let alone a teenager’s. Taking an application-free day can be a good time for students to decompress and gather their thoughts to make an effective return to the application the next day.
Applying to colleges is undoubtedly the most stressful task of a student’s first eighteen years of life. Trying to take it on all at once without help will make the process seem impossible, and that kind of additional stress can affect the quality of the responses entered into the application. That is why it is crucial for students to remember to take steps to make those dreaded few weeks spent applying easier on themselves. Getting into college is important, but it is not nearly as important as students doing what is best for both their physical and mental health.