Creating the Four-Year Plan

The struggle of getting into college was real. The entire process of scrolling through the bulk of emails from college admissions, selecting the lucky bunch that you were to apply to, and completing the list of requirements for your application to be successful was draining. And yet, it was also simultaneously fulfilling. 

Personally, I am a ticking time bomb. My stress tends to build on top of one another. And eventually, I will either a.) explode with panic or b.) calmly lay on the ground as I scream internally. However, as the years have gone by [that have included many nights of panic and the constant nervous shaking of the leg] I have learned how to reduce all of my anxiety into one single object: a Google sheet. 

In the early stages of my college application days, I realized that the simplest way for me to stay calm was to feel in control. In the mess of everything, the only thing that kept me at bay as if I felt organized and if as though I had a plan. That’s where the google sheet came into play. I would make a check-list of requirements for every single college. This would determine what needed to be done and what was already complete. 

And now in college, it serves me the same purpose. Creating the four-year plan seems a bit daunting: you’re laying out the next four years of your life after all. However, it honestly helps a lot in the long run.

Now, I’m not saying you have to do this. But if you’re someone like me—a paranoid, bit of an over-achiever student who worries about succeeding in life and in college, while at the same time getting the most out of their college experience and way too overpriced college tuition in order to graduate with a double major and minor all within the span of four-years—it helps.

For me, I put in all of my GE requirements, college requirements, and major requirements into one sheet and added in my transfer and current credits in order to view on one page what I have achieved and what is in progress. All of my classes and fulfillments are on one page. That way I’m able to see what I need to work on still. With that, I’m able to help distinguish which classes to take during the next few years to ensure my desired graduation time. 

Although this all seems kind of boring, I believe in the long run it is beneficial if you’re trying to juggle multiple things in college. If you’re overwhelmed by the number of internship applications, job interviews, schedules, and class time, creating something that lays out everything will help you see things clearly. It 1.) opens your eyes to what you need to prioritize, 2.) helps you to see what does not work out, and 3.) reduces the panic and fear of having to spontaneously decide things within the moment if the time comes for it. Because I’m trying to double and minor, it has been helpful for me to see what classes overlap with two areas of requirements. Kill two birds with one stone, you feel? 

Although the four-year plan doesn’t mean everything is set in stone because, well, nothing really is set in stone, it does create some kind of organization in what is an already chaotic life. It’s there for you to bring you comfort that “yes, I am not a complete mess”. And you aren’t. Because even if you don’t create this plan, it doesn’t mean you have everything thought out. And if you do, it doesn’t mean everything will go as planned. Life is crazy; life is unpredictable; life will stress you out till the end of time. But don’t let it. Take life by the reins and control how the story plot thickens and ends. You’ll be surprised by the result.