The Journey & The Destination

Every November and December the holiday season arrives at fever pitch.  Parties and baking, dance recitals, choral concerts, service initiatives, holiday open houses, fall athletic season championships and the conclusion of another academic jump for joyterm.  Loved ones arrive from near and far, holiday cards are sent and decorations are proudly displayed on fireplace mantels, window sills and trees.  Phfew.  It all reminds me of Dorothy and the gang’s anxiety ridden skip down the yellow brick road in the Wizard of Oz.  With trepidation (and at ever-increasing speed) they chant, “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”  You can just feel the stress level rise.  During the holiday season there is, quite simply, a lot to think about.  Thankfully, in spite of that, for most it is a happy time and the positive energy in the air is palpable. For seniors who have applied early to a college (or colleges) the typical anticipatory feelings of November and December are only further exacerbated by the knowledge that they are soon to get “the news” (insert the dramatic “dunt, dunt, DAH” sound effect you hear on old movie scores when a turn of events or a major revelation is taking place). It’s not an easy wait. There are a lot of great informational resources out there that can help provide guidance regarding how to spend your time during that wait. Some share how to make the days and weeks productive, how not to be overwhelmed by the lack of control one feels, how to stay joyful, focused even how not to obsess. Those are important supportive pieces of counsel.

Today, however, I want you to stop, take a deep breath, and spend a moment of your time and energy celebrating.  You can even cheer if you want to! Regardless of the early news you’ve received, or are preparing to receive, you have done a tremendous job over the course of the last weeks, months and years in preparation for the college admission process.  People don’t often spend enough time simply recognizing the commitment students and families make to what is an incredibly meaningful, yet arduous, life event.  When one considers the sacrifices, focus and growth which take place during the search and application timeframe, the accomplishment of simply making it to the admission decision phase is quite something.  Students, you have spent countless hours thinking introspectively, exploring websites, reviewing viewbooks, preparing applications, taking standardized tests, attending workshops, requesting letters of support, completing forms and sacrificing (already scarce) free time for the purposes of navigating your own personal road to a college experience you feel great about.  We’ve discussed what’s important to you (and what isn’t), you’ve traveled (near and far), you’ve interviewed, you’ve toured and you’ve brainstormed countless essay topics.  You’ve written, rewritten and started over again.  You’ve asked for help.  You’ve built meaningful relationships with admission representatives, tour guides, coaches, faculty members- even alumni.  You’ve opened up to your parents, to us and to yourself about the kind of life you hope to have over the next four years.  You’ve been initiative takers, collaborators, independent thinkers and planners.  You’ve managed your time (most of you;), your priorities, and your emotions, taking very mature steps towards embracing all that is ahead of you.  Your parents are proud of you, we are proud of you, we want YOU to be proud of you.

So, regardless of the decision news you receive this month, next month, or in March, know that you have worked hard to put your very best foot forward in the college admission process and we have been pleased to be your advocates. Thank you for your commitment to this poignant time and enjoy a wonderful winter break!

Jennifer Scott, Senior Associate Director of College Counseling,
Norfolk Academy
Fall, 2013