College is meant to be the most fun-filled time of one's life. But often, students end up being stressed and unhappy because of the admission process. From the form filling to the essay writing, obtaining recommendations to handling interviews, it can be quite taxing on a young mind. And as such, depression is a common condition several students deal with even before they've enrolled in an institution.
If you're a student looking for admission to a college of repute, we totally understand if you're finding yourself juggling with rampant negative thoughts.
Also known as the "puppy mind," such thoughts may seem never-ending, but if you practice the art of mindfulness, you can become aware of such feelings and find ways to deal with it. Over time, your acceptance can pave the way for understanding and enjoying the admission process.
If you like the sound of that, stick around with us to discover a few things you can do to become more mindful.
Keep the opportunity in your sight, not the obstacles
Well, let's face it. There might be numerous students who are more qualified or armed with better grades than you. And since all of you are aiming for similar colleges, there would be significant competition. You'll just have to face it whether you like it or not.
But there is something you can do.
Instead of going for obvious college choices, make a list of the institutions that you might actually get enrolled in or which have more chances of accepting you. You're entirely free to pick the colleges of your choice, and this will also help you realize that not all institutions are worth fighting for. You know your performance, so choosing a college as per that is the more appropriate option, rather than filling out the top-notch colleges' forms and then feeling low when you're not selected.
Everyone at some point or the other has to deal with stress in their lives, and there are several ways to combat it. There are a few things we think might help you in taming your anxiety.
1. Being honest can take you miles
Honesty is of primary importance when you're filling out an admission form. Suppose you feel like lying about your extracurricular activities, or misrepresenting your background, or fabricating as to why you'd like to go to that particular institution. In that case, we suggest that you take a break. You need to ask yourself why you're not being honest.
In our opinion, you shouldn't get enrolled in a college that you probably can't get into in the first place. And there's a simple reason for it – because you'd have to lead the next few years of your life pretending to be someone that you're not! Being yourself is the best thing that you should do, and though keeping it intact won't drive away all the stress, it's something that can help you find the college which may cater to all your needs.
2. Live in the present
One's teenage years are generally quite exciting and the most adventurous times of their lives. You should focus on living these years to the maximum rather than stressing over your future. This little window surely won't come around. You don't want to look back in time and realize how you let these crucial years go by stressing over adulthood.
Moreover, it's essential to realize that you can't control your tomorrow; neither can you look back and redo your yesterday. What's really in your control is today! Instead of worrying about your future or your past, focus on the present, and you'll be a very motivated individual who isn't afraid of what comes tomorrow. You need to grow through what you go through!
3. Just take a deep breath
Stress is always going to be waiting for you, at one point or the other. And although it's bad for you, some forms of stress can be quite good to help achieve your goals. It's all about finding the right balance.
But whenever you feel that you're overwhelmed by either your essays, or an approaching test, or even taking certain decisions, we suggest that you let go for a few minutes, meditate and take deep breaths. You're going to see yourself relaxed within minutes, and then you can be back on track.
You should also focus on exercising for a while or going for a walk. A change of environment is the best possible way to relieve negative thoughts. If you feel like it, play video games for some time. Just get your mind off of the problems at hand for a few minutes to calm yourself.
4. Find your way out of the stress tunnel
If you feel that you're entering the stress tunnel, all you need to do is find your way out to the other side. If you curb your stress for some time, hoping that it goes away, trust us, you're going to come back to it a lot!
You HAVE to face your feelings and deal with them to get out on the other side. If you keep running from them, they'll come back every other day and will probably increase in effect over time as well.
5. Be thankful
Being stressed about your admission process is a very normal thing, but the way it grows on you isn't. All we ask of you is to make a list of five things you're thankful for every day. This is a very positive way to kick start your day. And do know that not all these items need to be significant; you can even make a note of things like the cold glass of water you drank when you got up!
Focus on the things that you have, rather than looking for those that you don't. You are in control of your thoughts, and you alone can resist or change them.
6. The dealings with your feelings
When your doubts and feelings get a hold of you, take a few steps back and recall RAIN. It's a way of understanding the importance of paying attention to and accepting your feelings.
RAIN stands for:
- Recognizing your feelings.
- Accepting your feelings instead of running from them.
- Investigating why you feel this way.
- Naturalize your awareness of the feelings.
7. Go on a "Bear Hunt"
This is a metaphor for overcoming any obstacles that one might face. These are the challenges that are laid all over the path of your goals, and getting through them is your only way to come out stronger. You cannot avoid or run away from them, so you might as well try and go through them.
To win the fight against a bear, you need to find that bear first, and since you can't go around, under or over it, you need to power through it to come out at the top.
8. You are the flame
At times when you're overwhelmed by the deadlines, assignments and test preps, you'll feel that you've been thrown into the fire. But my friend, the real fire is within all of you.
When one practices meditation, they focus on their breathing and thus supply oxygen to that flame inside. In fact, as you move further, with time you realize that you're not being thrown into the fire; rather you ARE the fire!
You could check out meditation apps or read some books on it to figure out where to start.
9. Meditate with complete awareness
Even if you've never been a fan of meditation, still, give it a shot one day. We're sure that if you're able to find just 5 minutes of peace, you'll feel much more spiritually free of all responsibilities. Meditation can play a very crucial role in keeping your mental health, up to the mark. Not only does it help you deal with any stress coming your way, but it also clears your mind and makes more room to accommodate thoughts that actually are important.
All you need to do is breath normally. You can practice this for even four-five minutes a day and be done with it. The key aspect is that you should be relieved of your stress by letting go of those thoughts and attaining peace of mind in this process. The whole point of meditation is to get a grip of oneself, more specifically, their mind. You need to clear your mind with meditation, NOT relax it, because this way the thoughts will come back anyhow if you do not let go of them.
Your thoughts resemble a flowing river, being attentive will give you a chance to swim out of that river, to the shore. Or you can simply give in and go with the flow, which we think will not be right for you or your mental health. So start meditating if you feel that your thoughts are getting out of hand and you need to kick back and relax for a bit.
To wrap it up
Stressing about college and admissions is normal; almost every student goes through it. But overcoming negative thoughts is what sets you apart from the crowd. Just keep one thing in mind – if there's only one thing that can help you, it's YOU. So give yourself a hand, reach out, and pull yourself out of misery. The world has much more to give you yet.