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Destress During Application Season!

Hello to all of our esteemed readers, and welcome back! My name is Javian Rojas and I’m so happy to be back for a new semester full of amazing blog posts and working hard as a Marketing and Communications fellow under Emory’s Office of Admission. One thing I know for sure is that this limbo period of January–March can be a difficult period for students going through the college application season.

Three sticky notes reiterating destressing during application season. They read: "slow down, relax, and destress" in that order.

One thing every Emory student can relate to (and a good majority of other college students across the country) is how stressful this specific period is in terms of college applications. The process is very demanding and requires extraneous work from students. There would definitely be nights when I wouldn’t be able to sleep due to the anxiety of waiting! As many of us can tell you, it’s very normal. For this specific blog post, I’ve gotten in contact with a couple of students around campus to brainstorm different ways to destress during application season.

One thing that I always try to remind myself of today is to make sure I’m reading for pleasure, even if it’s only for ten minutes a day. A really boring and predictable answer as a Comparative Literature major, but I promise it works! Stepping into a new world and reading about fake stressors really helps alleviate the real-life stressors that we face while applying to college. Some of my favorites during the college application season were heavily fictitious, such as Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Kindred by Octavia Butler, and, of course, an amazing re-read of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. 

Jaanaki Radhakrishnan (26C) had a different method of destressing. For her, thoroughly planning anything related to college applications, such as deadlines, interviews, which essays were done, etc., really calmed her down and made her feel like she was on top of her work. Notion was my best friend during that period. I made sure to update it, even with the most minor changes I could think of. 

Without that very particular planning I did, I would be 100% more stressed than I was,” said Jaanaki. As a Woodruff Scholar, she’s definitely someone I take advice from every week! The use of apps such as Notion, Google Calendar, or even something like Excel can really help students take the edge off of application season. Everything being visual and ready to access with the click of a button might help take the edge off for you. 

While speaking to another student, Alisha Morejon (25C), I got another amazing answer. Having a mother who is a university professor, the pressure on Alisha was definitely on. She was incredibly stressed and just wanted the process to be over in order to get into a school that offered a good computer science program, and also “to just get my mom to stop bothering me about those applications!”

Four people talking a walk in order to calm down, something that Alisha did in order to destress during her application season.

Morejon went the physical route to destress. Walks through scenic parks in her home state of Texas, through her neighborhood, or even just playing Just Dance with her sister, helped her remember that “college application season is not the end of the world. Everyone will end up where they are meant to be, regardless of the outcomes students receive. It’s very easy to think the worst and succumb to doubt, but this physical activity truly reminded me that I can just breathe and go where the wind takes me.”

Navigating the college application season can be a highly stressful experience, but there are various strategies students can use to manage this stress effectively. Whether it’s indulging in reading for pleasure, as I do, to escape into different worlds and alleviate the pressure of real-life stressors, or meticulously organizing application-related tasks like Jaanaki, these methods can significantly reduce anxiety. The key is to remember that this phase is just a step in the journey, not the entire journey itself. Stay positive, stay organized, and most importantly, take care of yourselves during this challenging but exciting time in your academic journey.

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