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Feeling alone as you swim through the terrifying waters known as the college admission process? Have no fear! We have several seniors blogging about ups, downs, and random in-betweens of their college process for the next 12 months (from June 2014 to June 2015!). Sit back, relax, and get that “OMG I totally get you, bro” feeling. Information for how to contact a blogger will be at the bottom of his/her posts.

Even when I was a junior, I knew April 1st was a special day for the seniors. It was the Day of the End — the end of college decisions, for the most part. I imagined that every college in America got ready to mail everything on March 31, and that on April 1st, the hallowed day, seniors would approach their mailboxes and know the truth.

It’s not quite like that. The suspense hasn’t been building to a single “aha!” moment like I pictured. It’s more like a suspense-filled balloon with a hole in it. Just when you think you’ll pop from the waiting, another letter comes in. Most of my peers have experienced this with colleges, but I’ve gone through the same process with scholarships.

I’ll make the tentative assertion that applying for scholarships is actually more nerve-wrecking. There are thousands of them, they all want different things from you, and you might be able to learn about their half percent acceptance rate on College Confidential, if you’re lucky. As my friends experience their own successes, they’re realizing what I did when I recieved my own acceptance letter: college is expensive. $65,000 doesn’t seem so bad until you get the bill. I’m so nervous about money that I’m already researching potential work study jobs. (It’s also a lovely way to procrastinate when you have a literature essay due the next day.)

In the face of seemingly insurmountable tuition costs, most students turn to scholarships. Again, the reality of how much competition you have doesn’t hit until you start receiving rejection letters. And it’s hard to get used to rejection. When I began the year, I thought scholarships would be falling from the sky. In the middle of the year, I panicked about my prospect of getting any money at all. Even the tiniest ones were super competitive, and I wanted to at least put a dent in the number of loans I’d have to take out.

Then one day I recieved a thin envelope in the mail, just like all the other thin envelopes before. I kind of glared at it, resenting the sadness it would soon cause me. I managed to put off reading it for a good hour (I know other people who can play the waiting game for days, but I’m terribly impatient.) As you may have guessed, it held good news.

Surprise hit me on several levels. I hadn’t realized how demoralized I was until I got that letter. Until that point, I was simply going through the motions. At my school, we have a motto: audition, audition, audition. I had modified it for my senior year: apply, apply, apply. But my heart hadn’t been in it for a long time.

Okay, Arlena, I hear you thinking, talking about rejection abstractly is all good and well, but how do you cope with it? What if my acceptance letter hasn’t come yet?

Just as confidence comes with frequent auditions, acceptance of rejection comes in the midst of many thin envelopes. When I started senior year, my plan was to have my fingers in so many pies that I’d be able to brush off a single “no” and look toward a future filled with possibility. It’s worked for most of the year. I’ve applied for so many things that I couldn’t possibly remember them all. When I get bad news, I assume good news is still out there somewhere. When I get good news, it’s a lovely surprise.

In the rare moments I peek out of my makeshift home of school assignments, scholarship applications, and test prep books, I notice that my friends are receiving good news too. I’m happy for them. Seeing my friends succeed fills me with as much joy as when I do. But sometimes, in addition to my joy, I feel nervous. After all, I applied early decision to Barnard. Was that such a smooth move when some of my friends have  received full rides from all the colleges to which they’ve applied? Maybe I should’ve waited until regular decision and compared my options.

My fretting lasts all of 2.5 minutes. Why? I chose Barnard for a reason. Sure, there are other colleges out there that are similar. But no other college has every single thing I’ve ever wanted in a college. Some people feel warm and tingly when they think about puppies or their boyfriend. I get warm and tingly when I think about Barnard. Really, I sigh like a lovesick schoolgirl whenever I think about the freedom of college.

We’re getting close to the last stretch. Except for applying for a few more scholarships, there’s really nothing you can do but wait. Like me, you may be second guessing the decisions you made in the depths of autumn. Don’t. You made them for a reason.

Want to get in touch with Arlena? Fill out our Contact form, and she’ll write you back ASAP!

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