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Unsurprisingly, October is my favorite month of the year. Not only do I have a week off during October break, but I also have my birthday, my brother’s birthday, my grandfather’s birthday (triple the amount of cake anyone would normally have in four weeks), and Halloween. It’s just the right amount of chilly and sunny, fall trends are at their peak, and courses are at the pinnacle of their interest level. I usually let myself go a little bit during this month to enjoy life, but that seems to be impossible this year.
If I’d had any idea how much work I’d have this month last month, I definitely would not have complained one bit. We are already halfway through the application timeline, and that final January deadline is creeping up on us at an alarming pace. And even closer, is the November first Early Decision/Early Action deadline. Since my school is, as consistent with the ABC culture, extraordinarily overachieving, almost 3/4 of my peers are applying early. With the stress of those deadlines, keeping tabs on teacher and counselor recommendations, and other school work, everyone is really at a tipping point (one of the most put-together girls I know straight up broke out sobbing in the middle of my Stats class last week). Tension is high, people are mean, and eye-bags are darker than ever.
I tried really hard this month to get everything together and have my Early apps ready weeks before the deadline. My school has an internal deadline of October 15th, but I tried to finish even earlier, about a week before. I was feeling okay about my Common App essay and my supplement, but still had doubts. I showed it to my English teacher, and sadly, got totally wrecked. I ended up having to start my supplement over from scratch just one week before the deadline. Needless to say, I did not get much sleep that week. However, as of now, I’m feeling much more confident about the new draft, and am around 95% done with my Early apps.
After I tidy up my Early Decision essays, I’m tackling the rest of my supplements head on. I’ve already set deadlines for myself for each of my supplements, ranging from most difficult to least difficult, and set up meetings with my counselor every three weeks for the next two and a half months. Hopefully, I can stay on top of those dates and get everything done.
During this stressful time, remember to leave some time for yourself and relax, even if its just for an hour. There are still ways to relax and be productive (or is that just procrastination)! Here are some things that I do to alleviate pressure:
- Watch an SNL skit on Youtube. I find that laughing at something makes me feel so much better. My favorite to watch are the Laser Cats ones (cats are super calming, and the Hader/Samberg combo is super funny, so).
- Read a book. If I get too overwhelmed with college applications, I put them on pause to get a bit of required Lit reading done. Even though it’s homework, it’s less tedious than hammering out page after page of research and supplement brainstorming ideas.
- Clean your room. Even though I feel more comfortable with knowing exactly where everything is, even if its on the floor in the corner behind my bookshelf, I find that an organized desk allows for an organized mind. Empty desk space free of cluster helps clear my mind of chaos.
- Listen to gaming music while doing work. Since video game music is meant to foster achievement, it can also be used for motivation and concentration. My favorite at the moment is the Mario theme song. I downloaded it around 3 months ago, and it is pretty much the only thing I listen to when I do work now (300+ plays on iTunes. No shame.). It helps me focus and activates that “let’s win this thing” attitude in me.
- Make yourself a smoothie. Healthy, fun to make, and delicious to drink, smoothies are perfect for when you’re feeling a little down. It’s just the right amount of sweet, cold, and refreshing, and just healthy enough to not make you feel guilty. My favorite blend right now is apple-banana-kiwi with peach yogurt. It really wakes you up!
- Take a nap. Power naps are fantastic for recharging after a long day. For me, instead of trying to concentrate and do work on the long, bumpy bus ride home, I take an hour long nap instead. When I get home, I’m feeling awake and ready for anything.
These months are going to be the toughest of our high school careers. Dive in and give it your all, but don’t forget to relax between those problem sets and research essays! I’ve had enough breakdowns in my Junior year to know that it’s not fun for anyone – you or your classmates.
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