Featured image from @lstagi on Twitter.
1. Cry. (You knew it was going to be on the list somewhere, right? Figured we’d get it over with.)
2. Binge something on Netflix. Maybe a series of documentaries, to maintain some semblance of scholarly interest, or maybe just all ten seasons of Friends, because you could use a few “friends” who aren’t asking about your college applications all the time.
3. Talk to stray cats. (It’s therapeutic, I swear.)
4. Pick up a new hobby. Now’s the time to get really into (like, wayyyy too into) knitting or bird-watching or geocaching or something. Now that application season is over, you can pursue interests, hobbies, and extracurriculars for your own enjoyment rather than for the purpose of checking off a box on the Common App.
5. If you didn’t apply EA or ED, you can use the time between the end of the year and the spring of the following year to take advantage of post-Christmas deals and go on an online shopping binge.
6. Look at your other options – other schools, exotic gap years, work experience. This might be stressful to do at first, but it will also help get you accustomed to the idea that you have almost an infinite number of alternatives at your disposal if you don’t get into your top-choice school. Sometimes just seeing all the paths your life could take is comforting.
7. Check out a bunch of obscure and advanced relaxation techniques for when you really can’t deal. Find some relaxing .gifs online, look up ASMR videos to pamper your senses, or maybe try acupuncture? (Although that seems like the kind of thing that would stress me out more.)
8. Write a letter. It could be about admissions season or it could tactfully avoid it. It could be to someone special or to yourself or to no one at all; you could send it, or you could keep it for a rainy day. Letters are great for keeping in touch with the more human side of reality, but on the flip side, they’re also great for playing pretend. Write yourself whatever you need most.
9. Make a list. Like this one!! Or, honestly, a list about anything. Lists are beneficial because they help you feel organized, and on top of something, even if the “something” you wrote a list about (and are on top of) is a set of totally arbitrary topics. That’s okay. Your brain won’t know the difference.
10. Go someplace new. A change of scenery is almost always good for the soul. You can get trapped in old patterns of thinking simply by virtue of being trapped in the same location. Go on a drive, take a hike, or at least read exotic travel magazines to give yourself a taste of all the world has to offer – because it’ll offer you more than any college ever would, anyway.
11. Go to your local drugstore or mini mart and buy a Penny Press book of variety puzzles. You can live off these things. No matter what kind of thinker you are, there’s something for everyone, from sudoku and logic puzzles to acrostics and connect-the-dots. There’s always somewhere for you to apply yourself, no matter what page of the book you turn to or what college you get into.
12. Drink lots of water. (And eat healthy, too. Basically, follow all of the advice your parents always gave you – just until you get your results back.) It can really help to distract yourself by counting the glasses of water you’ve had all day, not to mention the feeling of being refreshed and hydrated.
13. SLEEP. YOU DESERVE IT. A good night’s sleep (or, God forbid, multiple good night’s sleeps in a row) will give you mental and emotional clarity, and you need it now – and you’ll need it when you do get into college. Enjoy your rest while you wait for your hard work to pay off.
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