Here Are A Few Chill Pills To Swallow When Applying For Anything

Here Are A Few Chill Pills To Swallow When Applying For Anything

From someone who's done it all wrong or right.
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When I was applying to college I did almost everything wrong, while appearing on the outside to have done everything right. I got started in August before my senior year, as soon as the Common Application opened. I wrote draft after draft of my essays. I applied to a wide range of schools and took not just the SAT, but two SAT subject tests and the ACT as well. All this would have been fine, except I didn’t apply to four or five schools. I applied to eleven of them.

By the time the whole process concluded and I was headed to Western Washington University, I was so done with writing essays and filling out forms that I resolved never to do it again – or at least if I did have to do it again, to do it differently.

In the process of applying (and getting accepted!) to graduate school over the past few months, I did almost everything differently. I only applied to one school, I took no tests, and I applied as late as it’s possible to apply and still have a fighting chance. I wouldn’t say that one way is better than the other.

Instead, I’m going to advocate for the most middling of middle grounds when it comes to applying to college, graduate school, or for jobs of any sort:

Only apply to the places you really want to go.

I was either pressured or pressured myself into applying to almost a dozen schools when I applied to college, and I burnt out scarily fast during the application process. This time around, I only applied to one school, and it was a school I really wanted to attend. I managed to avoid burnout and get accepted. So while you should apply to a handful of schools, make sure all of them are places you’re excited about going to.

Get an early start.

This time around I started my application a month before the deadline, which is not enough time. (They ended up extending the deadline, but still). You don’t necessarily need to start the process in August, but giving yourself a good three months to get everything done is probably a good idea. The goal here is to minimize stress, not to make you feel like you wish you’d never heard of college before.

Set deadlines for yourself.

This applies whether you’re starting early or late. Make actual deadlines and pretend they’re as important as the real-world deadlines you’re up against. Otherwise, you will panic, you will find yourself writing the first draft of your essay the night before it’s due, and you will die. (You probably won’t die, but it’ll be very unpleasant for some time).

Know when to say enough.

I had to call my mom for a pep talk in order to psych myself up enough to submit my graduate school application, and one of the things she told me was that at some point, you just have to do the thing. It’s never going to be as perfect as you want it to be, but it’s definitely going to be good enough. Odds are, you're ‘good enough’ is someone else’s ‘very impressive’.

Once it’s over, relax!

I was still struggling with this right up until I got my acceptance letter. Once you hand in your application, you’ve done everything you can do. The part of the process you can control is over, and if you follow the above steps – or at least some of them – you’ll know you did enough to give yourself a good shot at the college, grad program, or job of your choice.

Cover Image Credit: ucentralarkansas / Flickr

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Stop Discourging Future Teachers

One day, you'll be thankful for us.
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“What do you want to be when you grow up?" It seems like this is the question we heard from the time we were able to talk. Our answers started out as whatever movie or action figure was popular that year. I personally was going to be Cinderella and shoot spider webs out of my wrists at the same time. The next phase was spent choosing something that we read about in a book or saw in movies. We were aspiring to be actors, skydivers, and astronauts.

After we realized NASA may not necessarily be interested in every eager 10-year-old, we went through the unknown stage. This chapter of life can last a year or for some, forever. I personally did not have a long “unknown" stage. I knew I was going to be a teacher, more specifically I knew I wanted to do elementary or special education. I come from a family of educators, so it was no surprise that at all the Thanksgiving and Christmas functions I had actually figured it out. The excitement of knowing what to do with the rest of my life quickly grew and then began to dwindle just as fast.

“Why?"

"Well, looks like you'll be broke all your life."

“That's a lot of paperwork."

“If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't choose this."

These are just a few replies I have received. The unfortunate part is that many of those responses were from teachers themselves. I get it, you want to warn and prepare us for the road we are about to go down. I understand the stress it can take because I have been around it. The countless hours of grading, preparing, shopping for the classroom, etc. all takes time. I can understand how it would get tiresome and seem redundant. The feeling a teacher has when the principal schedules yet another faculty meeting to talk an hour on what could've been stated in an email… the frustration they experience when a few students seem uncontrollable… the days they feel inadequate and unseen… the sadness they feel when they realize the student with no supplies comes from a broken home… I think it is safe to say that most teachers are some of the toughest, most compassionate and hardworking people in this world.

Someone has to be brave enough to sacrifice their time with their families to spend time with yours. They have to be willing to provide for the kids that go without and have a passion to spread knowledge to those who will one day be leading this country. This is the reason I encourage others to stop telling us not to go for it.

Stop saying we won't make money because we know. Stop saying we will regret it, because if we are making a difference, then we won't. Stop telling us we are wasting our time, when one day we will be touching hearts.

Tell us to be great, and then wish us good luck. Tell us that our passion to help and guide kids will not go unnoticed. Tell us that we are bold for trying, but do not tell us to change our minds.

Teachers light the path for doctors, police officers, firefighters, politicians, nurses, etc. Teachers are pillars of society. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we seek to change a life or two, so encourage us or sit back and watch us go for it anyways.

Cover Image Credit: Kathryn Huffman

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14 Honest College Things The Class Of 2023 Needs To Know ~Before~ Fall Semester

Sit down, be humble.

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To The Class of 2023,

Before you start your college career, please know:

1. Nobody...and I mean nobody gives a shit about your AP Calculus scores.

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" I got a 5 in Calc AB AND BC, a 5 in AP Literature, awh but I only got a 4 in AP Chem"

2. THE SAME GOES FOR YOUR SAT/ACT SCORES + nobody will know what you're talking about because they changed the test like 10 times since.

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3. College 8 AMs are not the same as your 0 period orchestra class in 12th grade.

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4. You're going to get rejected from a lot of clubs and that does not make you a failure.

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5. If you do get into your clubs, make sure not to overwhelm or overcommit yourself.

visual representation of what it looks like when you join too many clubs

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6. It's OK to realize that you don't want to be pre-med or you want to change majors.

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7. There will ALWAYS ALWAYS be someone who's doing better than you at something but that doesn't mean you're behind.

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8. "I'm a freshman but sophomore standin-" No, you don't have to clarify that, you'll sound like an asshole.

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9. You may get your first ever B-, C+ or even D OR EVEN A W in your life. College is meant to teach you how to cope with failure.

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10. Go beyond your comfort zone. Join a theatre club if you're afraid of public speaking. Join an animal rescue club if you're afraid of animals. College is learning more about yourself.

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11. Scholarships do exist. APPLY APPLY APPLY.

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12. Don't try to brag about all the stuff you did in high school, you'll just sound like a weenie hut jr. scout

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13. Understand and be sensitive to the fact that everybody around you has a different experience and story of getting to university.

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14. You're going to be exposed to people with different opinions and views, don't fight them. Instead, try to explain your perspective and listen to their reasoning as well.

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