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  • Writer's pictureRei

College Applications & Mental Health

Over my last year in high school, I have had to work harder than I ever have to

achieve my goal of getting into a good college. I’ve known since freshman year that I

wanted to move away from my home to get an education elsewhere (whether abroad or

in a different state/city). After working on my applications for months, building portfolios,

and writing what seemed like a million essays, all of my college submissions were

completed. Time to relax! Until... the responses started to roll in. One after another. The

realization that I had to leave my home, friends, and comfort zone had slowly set in. I

began to feel myself spiraling. “How will I do this?” Or “Was this the right decision?” ran

through my head every second. “Will I make any friends?” “Will I lose all of mine at

home?” I experienced the most significant amount of anxiety I have had in years. I grew

so terrified at the prospect of moving away and changing my entire lifestyle that I almost

withdrew my applications.

I understood I was about to make a rash decision, so I took my thoughts and

feelings to my therapist. We worked out how I was afraid to leave my comfort zone and

how it would be helpful to get ahead of all the stress. It was time to focus on the positive

outcomes that were beginning to come out of my work. I had to get out of a

self-destructive mindset (which is never easy). I learned to dive head-first into what

scared me. I asked my parents to fly out halfway across the country to tour my top

school. And we loved it! I began to embrace the idea of an unknown future and bask in

the fruits of my labor. Here are a few ideas that I had to remind myself of while coping

with the significant changes ahead:

1) Plan Ahead: I knew that my entire life would change in a few months, so

why not plan for the exciting things that would come with that change? I


- Looked for new furniture for my dorm room

- Found exciting classes that I could take during my first quarter

- Took a look around the college town and found a bunch of new food


- Found a local gym to continue to do what I love (weightlifting)

2) Reframe your thinking: Your life will not fall apart just because you’re

leaving your comfort zone. Think about all the new opportunities this

change will present:

- The ability to form new friends

- Explore a brand-new city

- Learn more about the subject I’m passionate about

3) Maintain normalcy: Don’t stop living your present life just because the

daunting reality of change is setting in. You still have time; it will just be an

adjustment later. Enjoy what you have in the present, and take some of

those ideals to your new space (it might help the transition of the move).

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