Have post-secondary applications been weighing you down? Do you feel anxious, nervous, exhausted, or panicked? Does the thought of university itself give you shivers? I know, I know, it feels like we’ve just started going back to school, but undoubtedly, the pace is picking up. Whether you’re applying for college or not, you’ve probably felt some stress or tension lingering in the air.
As a student, you’re probably got a list of goals and schools in mind – but applying to university or college doesn’t have to be as dreadful or excruciating as you might think. Here are some tips that you might find helpful as you power through the season!
1. Make a Timeline/ Plan of Attack
If you haven’t already, I’d highly suggest forming an outline of what needs to be done, and when. Not only does this help you stay organized, but it prevents any last-minute stressors that are bound to pop up (in other words, it forces you to stay accountable!) Timelines are the centre of any successful project – without one, it’s easy to push things off, or forget about them altogether. They also keep your goals manageable: this ensures that you’re not biting off more than you can chew. Make sure to include important deadlines, consultations, meetings, and any other miscellaneous tasks!
2. Ask for support if you need it
The applications process is definitely daunting – and nobody should walk through it alone. On that note, you are never really alone! Help is available anywhere, as long as you know where to look. There are many experienced individuals around you, from your teachers to parents, guidance counsellors to fellow peers – chances are, most of them have gone through the same struggles you are experiencing. Find someone that you feel comfortable talking to, and don’t be shy! It’s really important to be honest and open up, they want to help! The more youcommunicate, the more insightful and valuable the guidance will be.
3. Maintain healthy relationships
Your networks are your best support. These are the people who have most likely stuck with you through tough times, and this time, it’s no different. Although you may be tempted to lock yourself up in your room, furiously type essays all day (or procrastinate, we’ve all been there) – make every effort not to. As human beings, it’s in our instinct to communicate with others. Your mental health should always be a priority – make sure you address that first, above all else.
Luckily for you, studies (such as the Huffington Post, Healthline, etc) have shown that spending some quality time with friends, family, and other acquaintances can actually alleviate stress, so get out there and have fun!
4. Don’t neglect your health
While we’re on the topic of health, let’s make sure we discuss physical health as well. Applications ARE NOT worth risking your wellbeing and immune system. Try to ensure you’re still following through with basic health procedures, such as staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and engaging in exercise every now and then. Do not – and I stress this – DO NOT let your wellbeing slip away. In fact, you might realize that taking a walk or taking a quick stretch clears your mind – which could lead to a more successful work or study session!
5. Reward yourself
You’ve probably heard this before: rewarding yourself after a study session will keep you motivated and content. It sounds cliche, but it’s true! You might find that having a tangible pleasure – such as food, social media time, or a 5-10 minute break – creates that desire to jump right into an assignment!
This technique is commonly called the Pomodoro Technique, where you work hard (without distractions!) for 25 minutes, then take a break for 5. It’s been proven this is one of the most effective study techniques, so next time you’re preparing for a long day of work, try this! (but make sure you don’t get carried away with the break…).
6. Don’t worry about it after it’s submitted
After you’ve hit that submit button, you’ve finished your marathon – congratulations! Take some time to relax and enjoy yourself. However, try not to dwell on the “what-ifs” (what if I don’t get accepted? What if my essay wasn’t good enough?) – that’s all in the past, there’s no reason to stress over something that’s now beyond your control. You put all you could into it, and that’s your end of the task done. Breathe out, stretch, and stay positive. Now, you’re ready for whatever comes next!