College process stress is beneficial

Pre-college procedures help juniors gain a better understanding of themselves

It’s that time of year again: as seniors come to the end of their college application journey, juniors are just about to embark on one of their most difficult challenges yet. From balancing standardized tests to trying to keep grades up, we are faced with a daunting future: college applications. And while it is quite a lengthy and exhausting process, the lead up to college applications is great for keeping students on their toes and makes for a good opportunity for self reflection.

Though it is a grueling process, there is a lot to learn from all the crazy things one must handle during their junior year. Balancing coursework, standardized tests and sleep is the ultimate challenge. However, it teaches extremely valuable skills of prioritizing work and managing tasks and time. Furthermore, it helps to know that the hard work and time you are investing in your studies will eventually land you in college. Though it seems like an overwhelming thought, keeping this in mind can really help you stay focused and motivated. What many do not realize is that in the search for the “right” schools, students undergo a special process of self reflection. It requires you to reflect on skills, strengths and weaknesses that will ultimately set you up for success.

Typically, a survey you might fill out for your college counselor or for naviance will ask you all sorts of questions about yourself and your preferences. In just a few questions, you must already begin to question aspects that you have taken for granted. In those initial moments, you already begin this process of self reflection, ultimately leading to a greater understanding of yourself.

For example, you might be asked whether you would rather attend a liberal arts school or go straight into, say, business school. If you prefer liberal arts schools, you are likely someone who want to explore various classes before settling down on a career, or you value gaining a general education instead of limiting yourself on one topic. On the other hand, if you prefer going into a major-specific program, you are likely an eager worker, ready to divulge in a subject you enjoy and get into the workforce as soon as you can. You are probably very passionate about the major you choose, considering that you are willing to devote yourself to focusing on one subject.

At the end of the day, the college itself plays a major role in the application process too. Sometimes, a school might seem “perfect” with the exception of it missing one quality you valued. In that moment, you must draw the line: will you compromise and take advantage of what the school can offer, or will you reject all possibility of attending that school due to your priorities?

High school goes by in a blur, and suddenly we are faced with some of the biggest decisions we have ever made, considering that we are so young. While some students know, or think they know what they want, others may be a little more lost. In any case, the college process will ultimately serve to clarify certain aspects of the students in terms of personality and aspirations.

As juniors brace themselves for one more quarter and the whole college application lead up may seem to be a never ending challenge, it is key to keep things in perspective. There is much more to this process than countless tests and surveys. It is an opportunity to take an initiative in planning your future and, along the way, gain a deeper understanding of who you are as a person, in a way that you have not gotten a chance to see before.