The Waiting Game

November 18, 2019
Grace Masback

Three years ago, I was in the same shoes as many of you right now. I had my heart set on going to Princeton. I had been thinking about it and preparing to apply for months. I had taken my standardized tests, fulfilled my academic requirements and consulted with the relevant people. Eventually, midway through October, I finally submitted my application to Princeton for Early Action.  

Then, the hardest part began: the waiting. After all the months of build-up, once you submit your Princeton application, the unfortunate reality is that you will not hear back for a while. For me, this was hard to reconcile. I wanted an answer right away! While I was certainly still busy with other college applications and my senior year course work, I remember how difficult it was to not obsess over the status of my application every second of every day. 

Eventually, I realized that obsessing was not going to get me anywhere. After you submit your application, there is absolutely nothing else you can do. You have worked incredibly hard to get to this point, so regardless of the admission result, you should be proud of yourself and your accomplishments. I know that this is easier said than done. Still, at the end of the day, it is so important to remember that Princeton is a highly selective institution. The number of incredibly qualified students that do not end up here is high. As such, whichever way the admission decision goes should not be taken as an indication that your hard work is in some way less valid. So try not to obsess about what the decision will be! Take a moment to breathe. Focus on the things you care about. Take part in activities that take your mind off of the waiting. While this is easy for me to say in retrospect, it was only once I stopped obsessing over the waiting that I was able to make the most of my senior year. 

I started studying Arabic, took up rock-climbing and ran on my high school cross-country team. Outside of adopting these new activities, I tried to make more time for things I had been too busy for most of high school. I ate more meals together with my family. I finally watched the show, "Grey’s Anatomy," to understand what all the hype was about. I went to a yoga class with my friend (and promptly determined that there was a reason I had not done yoga during all of high school). I still thought about college and applications, but I also made space for new explorations and existing passions. Ultimately, when it finally came time to hear the admission result, I was nervous (that is totally normal), but ready!