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This is my favorite time of year as a college counselor. The acceptance letters are rolling in, and my inbox is flooded with messages like:

WOOHOO!!! They said YES!

CANNOT BELIEVE THIS! THEY SAID YES!

I got in!!!!!!!!

I love seeing the hard work pay off and so many dreams coming true. It is what makes the whole struggle worth it.

Back in December there were many late nights, both for the students I work with and for me. There were dozens of essays to go through and strict deadlines to meet. It was a hustle, and it is every year. It’s the nature of this process. It’s a lot of stress, trying to sum up one’s life into a few pieces of paper and send it off for evaluation. It feels like the results will make or break your future.

I’ve been with my students when they’ve started to scream or cry, too scared to move forward. But in 100% of cases, somehow, we’ve made it through, and there is an excited email I get at this time of year confirming that everything worked out.

Every year, I tell my students not to stress out too much – it will be okay. And every year they get stressed out anyway. But stress melts away as fast as it came, and come the spring and acceptance letters, they forget.

If you’re a junior right now, take these words to heart: you will get through this too. Next spring, you will be the one sending me an excited email saying that all of your dreams are coming true. You might not be going to your #1 choice school, but by then, you’ll probably have forgotten the exact order of your preferences from back in September. You’ll be so thrilled with the great options in front of you that you’ll hardly care about any school that didn’t take you. You’ll see forwards, not backwards. You’ll see the possibility that lies ahead.

Yes, there will likely be a lot of stress between now and then. The end of junior year is tough, and senior year – between AP classes, standardized tests, and the college applications– can be equally stressful. But look at your senior friends now and realize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You too will be here faster than you think. And when that day arrives for you, all of your hard work will feel worth it.

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