Dear High School Seniors, Before Your Last Semester Starts

Dear High School Seniors, Before Your Last Semester Starts

Applying to college is hard. You'll get through it.

Dear Seniors,

I know how you feel because one year ago, I was in the same spot as you.

If you were anything like me, you did not want to talk about your application process, the schools you were applying to, your scores, and wanted to avoid acceptance and rejection letters as much as possible.

While everyone is probably checking their emails or mailboxes to check for their acceptance letters, you’re probably avoiding opening your email or mailbox as much as possible.

I know that the majority of your first semester was spent staring at your common application and supplements- attempting to revise every sentence, proofreading for errors, and making sure your essay fits the word count. After all, every word in this essay determines your future.

Every other student and adult is probably asking you the same questions: where you’re applying, how far you are on apps, what major you’re applying to — and then you’ll hear everything about their application process or their kid’s. And nothing kills your more than that. I personally was not proud of my grades and felt so insecure talking about what my plans were, and equally hated hearing about it.

Applying to a select amount of colleges is definitely stressful, but the worst part is the actual wait. After hitting the submit button, your future is left in the hands of picky and selective people who comprise the decisions committee. After all, they want the best for their school and you don’t know if that is you or not. As you wait, you think about your life at college — wearing college gear, going to the library, the dorms. You even think about how you’re going to announce your college on social media. The wait feels like forever until you receive a letter from a college.

This can go one of two ways:

The more desirable is reading “Congratulations! I am pleased to inform you of your admission at....” The first acceptance letter puts you at ease, knowing that there is a spot for you somewhere.

The other is reading “I regret to inform you...”

I get it. Rejection hurts. Whether it was from your dream school or not, you will still wonder why you were not good enough. Why would you apply to this school if you didn’t think you were good enough? You may feel as if you are less competent compare to those around you who did get into the university you most desired. You may get waitlisted and wonder if it is even worth your time to consider this school.

The environment I grew up in, especially my high school, made me believe that if I did not go to a college that was ranked in the top ten percent of the nation, I was going to be set behind those who did and not be successful. However, in my past few months at university, I have truly learned that your institution will never define you or your capabilities. Regardless of where you go to college, you are the one in control of using your education and applying it in order to build a successful future for yourself. It is all up to you to use your resources and take advantage of opportunities presented to you.

I never in a million years would have thought I would be at Baylor University as a business major. And I will tell you one thing, I do not regret my decision one bit. Of course, there were other schools in my mind and at the time I wish I applied to other schools. Now that I am here, I am happy with my decision because of all the people I have met and the experiences I have been able to be a part of. So many people asked me where Baylor was and so many adults asked me why I didn’t choose to stay at a UC or somewhere local. I never really had an answer but I am glad I was given the opportunity to venture out of my hometown and grow as a person in such little time.

Do not get beat yourself up over one college because going to college is an accomplishment in itself. Enjoy the last moments of high school because I assure you that you will miss it. Wherever you end up, I promise you will be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Shachi Deshmukh

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Empowering Mantras That Soothe The Soul

Learn and repeat these mantras to center yourself.

January is the month of change. We can decide to change at any time during the year, but the start of the new year pushes us to be our best self. If you have something you want to stop, or start doing, now is the time. As I sit in Spain far away from my family, friends, and peanut butter (which is shockingly impossible to find in Spain), I’m confronted with a new challenge and a new opportunity to grow. Although studying abroad is an incredible opportunity and I am more than grateful, I would be lying if I said there aren’t moments of crying in the shower and longing for my body pillow at home (his name is Maxwell and he is pink, and no, I’m not pregnant).

Whenever I get overwhelmed I find it extremely helpful to stop, take a deep breath (or sixty) and repeat calming mantras to myself until the feeling passes. Mantras can be words or sentences and phrases that you can repeat to yourself anytime, although traditionally they have been used during meditation. The goal is to help focus the mind internally and block out any external distractions. It helps to center you and mentally decongest. Scientifically, the benefits are incredible.

The repetition of mantras have been linked to a decrease in heart rate, brain waves and the ability to slow down breathing.

“I am enough”

Fake it till you make it. Believe it or not, say it over and over again. We are what we think, so think positive.

“This too shall pass”

Life goes on even when you think it can’t. We have to experience the peaks and valleys to live a full life. Remember that in a bad moment, it will pass and a new feeling will replace it. And treasure and revel in the good moments because you know what you have overcome and what you may face in the future.

“I am grateful”

Your nail breaks, you spill your coffee, you tumble down a flight of stairs. Plenty of things happen throughout our days that may cloud our overall perception. Challenge yourself in those negative moments to list three events or people you may have overlooked that made your day brighter. Gratitude literally alters the way our brains process our emotions and thoughts and the best part is that we are in control of making our thoughts positive.

“Let it Be”

Time and time again we learn this lesson. It is what it is, what will be will be. That’s not to say it’s always a graceful moment of acceptance, but there’s a certain freedom in knowing that so many things are out of our control.

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5 Must Things To Do During Second Semester

Looking for things to do during this winter season? This list has got you covered.

For many of us who have just started our second semester, or are about to, the stress of college is about to come at you full force and smack you in the face. Personally, I find second semester to be much more difficult compared to first semester.

First semester is filled with tailgates, football games, hayrides, pumpkin patches, Thanksgiving, Halloween, the list can go on and on. Due to the fact that there's so many more activities to do first semester than second, that can lead to a semi-dull second semester. With that being said however, here's a list of things you can do to prevent all that boredom.

1. Go to other sporting events that your college offers you

College sports are one of the best parts of living in America so you might as well take full advantage of them. Even though football season may be over, hockey and basketball season are in full swing right now. Also, by end of March and beginning of April, baseball will start as well. Going to games as a student is a great way to have fun with your friends while not having to bust open the piggy bank.

2. Pajama and movie nights

A simple enough idea, but has the potential to have tons of fun if you decide to give it your all. During the winter, especially up north, it can be brutally cold so staying inside is priority majority of the time. But that doesn't mean there's not a way to enjoy all that cold.

Curl up with your best friends whether it be in your dorm room or apartment while showing off the funniest or best pajamas you own. Pick out your favorite movies and settle down for a night full of laughter, gossip, and memories.

3. Enjoy the outdoors

Even though I just said that winters up north can be brutally, there's still plenty to offer when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors. Go ice skating and watch all of your friends struggle to stay upright and fall down, or go skiing/snowboarding and enjoy the beauty of the snow while getting a great workout in.

Or, you could be like my friends and steal dining hall food trays and use those to sled down some hills. Having these options can help you look forward to the winter and enjoy activities other than staying inside.

4. Go to a museum

Learning about different cultures or parts of history can be a lot more fascinating than people would like to admit. Go to your local college museum and check out cool facts there or drive to a city around you to check out other museums as well. If you're close to a moderate to large city, you will usually be able to find a history museum, aquarium, or some type of science museums. These are fun ways to learn new facts about the past, present, and future of our world.

5. Day trip

Spontaneous (or not spontaneous) day trips can be a blast with your friends or significant other. Choose a random place to go and drive there. Find something to do wherever you go. You'll make some great memories that'll last you a lifetime. It doesn't even have to be far, it can be only 30 minutes away and still be just as fun. Where the destination is doesn't matter, it's who you're going with that matters.

I hope these 5 ideas of what to do in the winter will help you enjoy your second semester of college while still having as much as first semester. After all, you're only in college for four years, so take advantage of everything you can do while you can!

Cover Image Credit: Maddie Blank

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