A Survival Kit to Applying to College (Milken Edition)

Lauren Mokhtarzadeh
Wildlife Editor

Seniors, they’re here. The days we are most dreading and most looking forward to: college application deadlines. And unlike the rest of Milken, these are real deadlines. From endlessly researching each school to answering the repeated supplemental question, “Why do you want to go to ______?” to feeling no greater joy than seeing the “Application Submission” window pop up on your screen, the utter feeling of stress is constantly hovering among us.

Listed below are the things that all high school seniors going through the stressful process of applying to college need in order to survive. For the next few months, days of agonizing over applications (that only end up being read for two minutes) will be a constant center of stress in the life of a senior.

1. A coffee shop

Siblings fighting, parents breathing down your neck, and friend drama – sometimes you just need to get out of the house. A change of environment, a cup of coffee, a muffin to nibble on, and most importantly, no interruptions are what you need in order to get your work done. Leave your house and go to a quiet coffee shop, sit down, and just write. Here are some coffee shops, in The Valley and The City, that are great places to work:

  • Alfred Coffee
  • Comoncy
  • Starbucks
  • Peet’s Coffee and Tea
  • Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf 

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2. A “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door to your room

Alone time – so hard to find. If you can’t get to a coffeeshop, write a sign that says “DO NOT DISTURB” in bright red, and hopefully people will get the message. You need some peace and quiet to get these applications done by the deadline, and for that, you need to not be disturbed. If no one understands that you are trying to focus and get your work done, even with this addition, another alternative is to tape your door (but this is obviously a last resort).

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3. Coffee

Each day and night is comprised of school, homework, and college applications on repeat. In no world will you not be tired, so be prepared. Have coffee with you 24/7, and a suggestion for those of you who are drinking coffee all day – buy a coffee machine for home and save money on those everyday Starbucks runs. 
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4. “Don’t Ask Me About College” pin

The question that we all detest: “Where are you applying?” Honestly, it’s no one’s business, so do not feel obligated to share. It’s better to keep the whole college process private – you don’t have to tell anyone (besides your parents and college counselor of course)! Wear this pin on your clothes on the daily, and hopefully others should be considerate and won’t use the dreaded C word (college) in your presence. 

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5. The Weekend

Throughout this process, it’s difficult to stay sane. Managing your grades, taking countless practice ACT/SAT tests, and having endless college essay drafts is not easy. It’s really hard to balance everything and to continue to breathe normally. Just think, if you spent your entire Saturday morning doing college applications, you could treat yourself that night by laying in bed watching New Girl and eating ice cream. And don’t worry about wasting those hours spent relaxing and taking a break. Sunday is just around the corner, waiting for you to do more work.

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6. College Counselors

The walk down to the College Counseling Office is always terrifying. *cue scary music* This is where endless amounts of tears, happy and sad, fall to the ground. The college counseling squad are the ones basically getting you into college with the wave of their magic wands. You love them, but sometimes you want to curl into a ball and cry due to their brutal honesty.

Regardless, thank your college counselors for everything they do. And know that Mr. Wiesinger is the real MVP.

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7. A water gun

A necessity. Carry this around in your bag so that you have it handy at all times. This is for all your schoolmates who just love to share their test scores, GPA, the progress of their applications, and other miscellaneous college talk. Squirt them with water whenever you’ve had it with any of those topics.

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Good luck to all the seniors applying to college! We’re almost there!

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