It's been weeks since you turned in your college applications, meaning chances are you're stressing out again. No matter how drawn-out your wait to hear back from colleges may seem, it doesn't have to be grueling. Back away from your mailbox and inbox--we've collected ten ways you can de-stress, reboot, and revel in your final months of senior year. Let the waiting game begin!
1. Read for pleasure. You've been swamped with textbook readings for what seems like forever, but here's a caveat to consider: there's much more to come. Take time to catch up on pleasure reading during your last high school semester. Check off that list of must-reads, whether you're a Twilight fanatic or a classic lit queen. Or indulge in nonfiction on the subjects you'll potentially pursue: if you're considering a major in fashion, why not get insight from The Teen Vogue Handbook? If you're toying with the idea of medicine, non-profit administration, or women's studies, you'll be engrossed with Half the Sky. Ask your local librarian or bookseller for recommendations or generate some suggestions on YourNextRead.com.
2. Get a part-time job. Hannah Orenstein, Her Campus High School Editor, NYU '15, passed her application waiting time by working at a boutique. "Working a few days a week after school helped me stay busy, meet new people, and learn about retail," she says. "I also had a little extra cash to enjoy, which meant I could take my mind off of college with dinners out with friends or shopping."
3. Plan a trip with friends. Four years of tuition means less cash for getaways, so corral your high school friends for a last hurrah. Some people backpack in Europe or organize their spring break plans, but you don't have to do anything quite so extravagant. Plan a mini road trip or spend a Saturday hiking. Even if it's just a shopping trip to the mall, you'll find yourself less stressed over hearing back from colleges and more focused on reflecting with the people who helped make and shape your high school experience.
4. Gather your friends in the same place and celebrate. If you don't have time to plan a trip, throw a congratulatory get-together with your best friends. You don't need to host a party or spend a lot of money to reward yourselves on finishing those applications – you can enjoy DIY manicures, have dinner at a local restaurant, or simply hang out at someone's house.
5. Don't let anxieties affect your positive attitude. Mitigate unruly nerves by readjusting how you view your situation. "I reassured myself through logic," says Kristen Pye, McGill University '14. "I didn't allow irrational anxieties to negate the confidence I felt toward my applications." Develop a positive mantra like 'no matter what, I did my best' or 'everything will work out.' The more you purge your mind of anxieties, the more likely you'll handle any outcome with positivity and grace.
6. Hone in on one of your hobbies. Do you write short stories for fun, but plan on majoring in environmental science? College courses and extracurriculars will quell the free time you have for hobbies, so invest time in your favorite leisure activities or try something completely new. Look for a healthy lifestyle or physical activity class at your local YMCA or a painting class after school. Whatever it is you do for fun, enjoy it while you have the time.
7. Rack up more community service hours (for fun!). Even though you may have already boosted your applications with volunteering, reach out to an organization you're curious about without using it to up your admission chances. Not only will it prepare you for more volunteering in college, but it could kindle a passion for a new cause and make you less likely to sweat over those applications. Find organizations in your area through VolunteerMatch.org.
8. Take the time to actually enjoy your activities. Your college applications were teeming with extra-curricular activities. Now that you're done, remember why you liked and joined them in the first place. "You've spent all year padding your resume with different activities, sports and jobs," says Jackie Newell, Susquehanna University '13. "Why not use this time to actually enjoy them?"
9. Plan your summer. Brooke Hofer, University of Missouri '14, looked for summer jobs while she waited to hear back from colleges. She infused as much effort into her job search as her college applications. "I actually found myself hoping that I didn't get a letter some days because I hadn't met my goal yet!" she says. "And when I finally did, it was doubly sweet because I got my college admittance letter AND a summer job." If you're itching for more of an adventure, find internships, au pair jobs, or volunteer projects abroad or in a different state through GoAbroad.com
10. Remember that you rock – no matter what. Don't let the fear of acceptance or rejection letters dictate your self-worth. "Tell yourself you are amazing no matter what!" says Casey Deer, Chatham University '15. Remember what makes you uniquely you; make a list of your best qualities or your favorite things in life. You'll be surprised at how much better you feel—because confidence and a healthy sense of self is the key to success, wherever you end up next year.