Ours is a generation that is misunderstood – by the media, by our families, by the world at large. We have the reputation of being entitled and lazy, while in reality we are faced with a world that is rife with inherited problems that we had no hand in and must learn how to tackle. Meanwhile, contemporary parents are characterized by high expectations. All children are special, of course, but for many parents nothing is enough until their child is the best and has every aspect of their life planned and prepared. College app time can be the absolute worst for children of pushy parents.
Not to condemn parents entirely, of course. It is reasonable for them to be worried about a decision that will alter the course of their child’s life forever. Not to mention in most cases it is their money that will be going toward the education, and money can be a stressful factor. For that reason it is important to heed your parent’s words to an extent when they are just trying to help, because they do want the best for you. Those are worn out words, but only because there is truth in them.
However sometimes parents can hover to the point where their attentions are overwhelming and only add stress, which is not helpful at all. The pressure of choosing the right school is a lot to bear as it is, much less when you feel you must have a choice before you even know what your options are. Remain realistic without being pessimistic. Understand and calmly explain to your parents that you have worked your absolute hardest and have done everything possible at this point to improve your chances. That being said, once it’s submitted the application is out of your hands. You can keep in contact with admissions officers, but the admissions process is a treacherous one that cannot be controlled. You cannot be expected to decide before you are sure where you may and may not be accepted. Still, stay positive! Arrange for a best and worst case scenario just to be safe, but have confidence that you can accomplish so much wherever you go. Your parents should believe in your ability to make the most of your resources whatever they may be.
Reassure them that you are considering each school in turn, and perhaps give a list of top choices depending on the admissions results. That will reassure them that you have a plan, but it is one that is subject to change and you don’t have to commit to. So much changes between application time and May 1, the deadline for commitment. My mother told me at the beginning of my freshman year that she would bet money that the college I actually chose in the end would be one that wasn’t even on my radar yet. I thought surely she was wrong, but, as my mother usually is, she was absolutely right.
You never know quite how things will turn out until the moment is upon you. But even when stressed remember to keep a cool countenance, as rough situations are only aggravated but treated them with rough responses. A little stress is helpful. It keeps your motivated, on your toes, and working hard. When it becomes a bigger problem and wears on your mental health, that’s when you need to have a serious talk with your parents, and maybe a school counselor if you need help with making that next step. Just because they’re your parents doesn’t mean they get to wear you down to any sort of breaking point. Take a deep breath and form an organized and tempered approach. Whatever happens it will be your big decision in the end.