I know, the stress is real.

Dear Senior Year You,

How’s the last leg of your high school journey going for you so far? At this time you’re probably a few months into your long awaited senior year, and elbows deep in college applications. You’re stressing out because of all the dates you have to keep track of—deadlines for scholarships, SAT score reports, the University of California application and the varying deadlines for private universities on the Common App. I know you’re feeling like a wreck and wanting to rip out your hair in clumps, but trust me, everything worked out very well and you ended up at the best place possible for you. Life betrays your desires and immediate plans on much more occasions than you’d wish, but it never turns its back on your dreams and aspirations. I know the stress is real, but I’d love for you to put down some of the weight on your shoulders. As cliché as it sounds, there’s a perfect place waiting for you at the end of the yellow brick road, and you’ll get there no matter what happens.

I wish I could help you in some way or even make you stop mindlessly filling out applications for a while. This would seem completely irrational to you at the moment, but you seriously need some down time. Go watch a random history documentary, I know how much you love doing that. I’m certainly not advising you to let loose and forget about your applications altogether, but I’m most certainly trying to convince you that everything tastes horrible with stress as the main ingredient.

Try making time for important things and people you’ll not be seeing in a few months. It’s only August, I know, but senior year will go by in the blink of an eye and you’ll regret not giving that extra hug or going on one more spontaneous adventure with your best friends. Academics should still be your number one priority, but little breaks thrown in here and there won’t hurt, trust me. In fact, it will only boost your memory, focus and ultimately grades, because as I’ve said before, letting go of unhealthy stress will only help you.

Most importantly, I wish I could tell you to go at your own pace. You always compare yourself to others around you, and that’s hurting you. It honestly doesn’t matter who won what and who got into what. Nothing’s going to matter after high school—college is a squeaky clean whiteboard where you can pick up a brand new marker and write a totally different, new story. Focus on that. Think about how you’re going to present yourself through a mere 500 words to get to the institution you wish to attend. Consider whether you want yourself to appear red, blue, or even green to the admissions committee. Because in the end, you’re going to be you and comparing yourself to “amazing” Sally over there will not benefit you in any way.

Take a break. Breathe, please.

Best wishes,
A taller, more mature you

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