Mental Health Blog

Managing the Anxiety of Waiting

☟[Don’t want to wait to see ways to help your worries go down? Scroll down to the bullet points if you want to learn ways to alleviate the worry]

It is that time of year when you hear back from colleges!

Choosing to pursue higher education is a huge achievement. It may seem premature to think about life after graduation, but it is essential when making your decision. Whether you stay at home, take a gap year, go to community college, college, university, or just work.

You have made it! You have put in the hard work. Be proud of your application. Every acceptance, waitlist, or decline only means that you are one step closer to your next milestone. 
I’d be untrue if I said that getting your college acceptance letters are as easy as it sounds.

I’ve felt anxiety and worry and I’ve seen others feel anxiety and worry. We all have our ways of coping with it. 

Some worries may stem from wanting a sense of approval by others, worrying about the logistical statistics of acceptances, worrying about the stereotype of what is considered a “good or bad college”, etc.

These are all normal feelings, it’s human nature to want to know things that are out of our control when waiting for any big life-determining news, it’s difficult. 

To keep yourself and others sane during the month-long period of waiting for acceptances to slowly trickle in is to honestly not think about it too much, enjoy the present moment of your second semester of high school. 

By nature, that’s what we tell ourselves, yet it’s easier said than done.

Some ways to guide the process of counteracting our uncontrollable worries:

  • Alone with your throughs
    • Talk to yourself just like you would to your own best friend:
      • Listen to your worries, they are valid.
      • Write down all your worries
      • Revisit what you wrote down – balance out negative or opened-ended worries with positive, close-ended achievements 
        • Close-ended achievements: Re-read your college application or resume and draw successes from there
        • Remember: 4 years of high school have led you to develop your maturity, take on responsibility, manage your time, learn about yourself, your study habits, your limits. Wherever the outcome, those high school life skills will help you figure out what’s next.
        • You have made it this far in life, your growth may not be drastic but it has defiantly occurred – reflect on those experiences
    • We are happier if we don’t have too much free time because we have no worry, stress, or fatigue that needs to be healed 
      • Go out and exercise
      • Make (small) plans to take your mind off the uncontrollable
      • Focus on positive emotions to counteract the unlimited void of worry because multitasking can only be possible when tasks do not overlap cognitive resources
      • Read some positive affirmations online
  • In a group setting 
    • When worrying about something, make sure you are not overloading your worry onto someone else, they may also be going through the same thing – anxiety is contagious but there are ways to contain it.
      • Healthy conversations could be carried out by discussing your worries while leaving room for some positivity and support along the way
        • Try to avoid “I” statements if the other party is also in the same waiting position as you (about college or life in general) because may lead to more worry for others and feel like no one is in control
  • With your parents
    • Relationships with your parents may be a big factor in why you worry so much, but opening up that conversation with your parents about possible outcomes creates an environment and a sense of control that will not only solidify your relationship but also takes away from the worry of making the final decision on your own when it comes time make decisions for your future
    • Your parents may be your biggest supporter, what they think will weigh a lot on you, but getting into college is ultimately your achievements that were aided by your parent’s support
      • It was YOUR college application that YOU worked, those were YOUR achievements, you don’t need anyone’s approval other than your own first. 

Something I wish someone told me was that no matter what, people will support you, they’ll be by your side. 

Freedom and going off to college won’t make you happier, but doing what you want will help guide your decision that will be parallel to happiness.