This week we welcome Senior Admission Counselor Samantha Rose-Sinclair to the blog. Welcome, Sammy!
My “quarter life commitment” came in the form of my first home purchase this summer, and I quickly learned buying a home doesn’t happen in half an hour as House Hunters will have you believe.
I know. I was just as shocked as you are.
After setting my parameters and keying into the type of home and neighborhood I was looking for, it was time to physically set foot in a few places. The first one looked nice, but had a lot of candles burning to cover up a suspicious smell; the second one was sold before I even left my showing, but the third one? Now that I could work with (yes, I really only looked at three. Again, I’ve watched too much House Hunters)! Top floor unit, hardwood floors… sure, the bathrooms are painted school bus yellow, but otherwise, it was perfect.
I went home, had a few conversations with my real estate agent, and sent in my offer paperwork that very night. Then came the waiting. It was between me and a few other buyers. I spent several days waiting for the phone call telling me which offer the seller had chosen. You know that forgot-to-breathe, heart-in-stomach sensation every time the phone lights up while you’re waiting for an important call or email? Let me tell you: I had it bad.
Finally, the phone rang! False alarm. It was my aunt. Thoughts swirled through my mind…
How would the seller judge me? Sure they had every piece of info about me besides my blood type and horoscope, but they didn’t even know me.
The phone rang! My home security company. I pondered some more…
I thought my agent said they were going to get back to me yesterday. Should I send the seller cookies? A recommendation letter from my mom? (By the way, if you’re reading deep into this metaphor, the answer is no, don’t send colleges cookies).
Then…the phone rang.
How do you wait?
I only had to wait a few days, but college applicants wait a whole season. It gets especially hard this time of year when the answers are less than a few weeks and email clicks away. Many months go into actively searching out colleges and preparing your application, and then once you hit submit… radio silence. So, how do you wait?
Think about it
I will confess, this is how I wait: as soon as I confirm my orders on Amazon, I reread the product reviews and scrub through YouTube demonstration videos, imagining how great my life will be once my food scale arrives in two days. When I bake cookies, I sit in front of the oven, turn on the light and watch… and watch… and watch. And when I put an offer in on a house, I scroll through the property pictures, mentally planning the furniture layout, learning which grocery stores I will shop at, and Yelp all the restaurants nearby.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t cross the line into impatience, but I do use my nerves productively. Why? Because when I use my time wisely and channel my nervous energy towards a positive outcome, I’ll be more prepared for what comes next. And if it doesn’t go well? I’ll be disappointed, but at least I’ll have an oddly impressive knowledge of all the grocery stores in a random Atlanta neighborhood.
I think, no, I know many college applicants feel the exact same way right about now. There are whirlwind trips for college tours, chats with friends at the schools where you’re applying, and perusals of excellent blogs (wink wink) to learn more. If you take this route, be sure to know & set your limits. Be careful not to let excited interest turn into unhealthy fixation. Ultimately, there’s going to be a lot of big decisions to make come spring, so if there’s something you’re curious about right now, this is the time to dig in and learn about it.
Don’t think about it
Contradictory, aye? I can understand the continued focus on college causes people more stress, so not thinking about it might be more your style. The decision will come regardless of what you do at this point—the pendulum has to swing back. And while you’ve controlled your application, you can’t control what your admissions officers, or the rest of the applicant pool, will do. I could list a million different “live in the now!” clichés, but the reality is, you know this. You’ve probably played the “last” game all year now (my last year at home… my last first day…). There’s plenty going on right now that deserves your focus.
You might even be like my sister, who took a hands-off approach when she submitted her job applications last year mostly out of fear of “jinxing it.” (Fair enough, she does have her dream job now.) As long as you know that your colleges have everything they need from you, you’ve done your part. You’ve passed the ball, and you’ll get it back soon enough.
Are you holding your breath? Exhale. There’s no reason you can’t invite opportunities for growth right now because of decisions that will come later.
There’s a certain amount of freedom in these few months. You’re not in the college search process. You’re not writing applications, and you’re not making your college decision. You just… are. And if you can find peace with that, then you can see the opportunity. Is there something you want to do before you leave home? Remember this summer when you swore to yourself you were going to learn sign language, right after you learned how to cook? Now’s the time to do it.
(Added bonus: if by chance any of your early action applications come back as a deferral, you’ll have something new to add to your application)
On behalf of college admission officers everywhere, thank you for waiting with us, and allowing us the opportunity and time to dive into your accomplishments. We’re in the home stretch.
Perhaps it’s the least discussed part of the college application process, but the wait is hard. The angst, the anxiety, the lack of control. We live in an era of instant gratification, a departure from which can be frustrating! There’s a maturity that comes with learning to wait for results, or even the simple passage of time, and it takes knowing yourself to know how to wait well. Find what works for you, and push forward in these last few weeks.
However you wait this season and whatever comes at the end of it, remember you will be okay. There will be triumphs, disappointments, and incredible opportunities. And if things don’t work out as you’d hoped after the wait? Know there are so many great colleges where you can be a happy, healthy, and successful member of the community.
Turns out there are roughly 100 other condos in my complex with the exact same floor plan. Guess I didn’t have to go with the school bus yellow bathrooms after all. Lesson learned.
Sammy Rose-Sinclair has worked in college admission for four years. A newly-minted southerner, she moved to Atlanta and joined Georgia Tech two years ago as a senior admission counselor on the first-year admission team. She now uses her millennial-ness and love of working with students, families, and counselors to interact with the GT Admission community through our social media channels. If you’ve gotten this far, send her questions about admission or Netflix recommendations on twitter or Instagram- @gtadmission.
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