From a Teen’s Perspective: Application affirmations

by Dylan Lanier on October 17, 2023

This past weekend, I submitted my first few college applications. I expected to feel intense relief afterwards, and while I did feel like I had less hanging over me, my anxiety about the future didn’t go away.

Submitting applications made the process feel real. Suddenly, there was nothing more I could do than sit and wait for my admission decision. I felt powerless, which is pretty scary considering that college plays such an important role in our lives.

However, I decided that instead of giving into my worries, I would come up with some positive affirmations to reframe my mindset. And yes, I know that some of these (if not all of them) will be corny, but I truly believe that words have power. Even if they feel silly to say, they’re still a valuable way to force yourself out of a negative thought pattern.

1. Worrying won’t help: No matter how much you stress about your application after you submit it, nothing will really change. You’ve done the work, sent in your best effort, and the rest is up to the admissions boards. Consider redirecting your mental energy towards other goals — for example, when I start to get stressed about my applications, I think about something in a show or movie that ticked me off. That way, I’m still releasing my energy into a strong emotion, but I’m focusing it on a subject with less weight.

2. I have the strength to grow anywhere: Humans are built to withstand adversity. All of us have the ability to thrive in a wide variety of environments so long as we keep an open mind and look for opportunity. Even if you don’t get into your top school, college is what you make of it. Trust that you will be able to create a positive experience wherever you end up. Just ask your friends in college or graduates — almost everyone looks back on their college fondly even if they didn’t originally plan on going there.

3. Straight lines aren’t that interesting: Life is supposed to be a little messy — that’s what makes it so fun! None of us will follow the “perfect” path, because there isn’t one. Your ideal path is the one you end up taking. I firmly believe that when one door closes, another opens. Whatever happens in your admissions journey, remember that life isn’t so much about what happens but how you respond to it. After all, if life didn’t have lemons, we’d never get to make lemonade!

4. My self worth is my own: Of all the things that make you, you, where you get into college is not one of them. Who we are is all about our character, our values, our relationships — not about which admissions boards decide we can come to their college. Remind yourself that you are the only one who can decide your worth. So own your pure awesomeness in everything you do, regardless of the opinions of people you don’t even know.

Of course, it’s easier to say these statements than to believe them. However, they are a quick and easy way to break up negative thought patterns and, if you repeat them enough, you might get to a point where they become a natural part of your mindset.

We’re all in the thick of college app season, but it’s still important to practice emotional regulation and constructive thinking. I wish you all the best of luck!

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Dylan Lanier is a senior at Menlo-Atherton High School; his column appears weekly on InMenlo

Photo credit: Image by rawpixel on Freepik

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