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Eagerly Awaiting Versus Anxiously Awaiting

Credit: Sharon McCutcheon from Unsplash

Client families have been eagerly awaiting decisions from schools to which they have applied and December is a busy time. In addition to the admission decision season, it’s also the holiday season. Between mid-November and mid-January, holidays include Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Diwali, St. Lucia’s Day, Kwanzaa, Omisoka, Winter Solstice, and New Year’s Day. I also celebrate Festivus on December 23.

In addition to traditions and bringing people together, holidays can also come with stress. Add in people trying to make sure a surgery or medical procedure is scheduled before the end of the calendar year for deductible purposes (I’ve had two previous sinus surgeries in December), final exams, and the inevitable family questions of high school seniors (and juniors) “What are you going to do with your life?” and stress escalates.

And then…admissions decisions are released. One of our client families was expecting an admissions decision to be released earlier this week at 12 AM. Their daughter initially thought 12 AM meant noon and that she would be at school at the time of the release; she was nervous about being around her friends when learning the decision. However, through a (now funny) text exchange with her mother, the student realized 12 AM meant midnight…not noon. So that was adding to the stress. The student was planning to stay up until midnight, during finals week, in anticipation of an admissions decision being released.

The school ended up releasing their decisions three hours earlier than anticipated so 9 PM was certainly better than 12 AM.

Language matters and everything communicates. Over the years, I’ve heard my husband Thom gently correct people who say, “I am anxiously awaiting my vacation.” Thom, always the optimist, says, “You are eagerly awaiting your vacation.”

So are you eager or anxious?

Eager: very excited and interested

Anxious: afraid or nervous about what may happen, feeling anxiety

While often used interchangeably, eager and anxious are not synonyms.

We encourage our client families to approach the college search process from an eager perspective – exploring various schools and majors, finding schools that appreciate and “get” them, learning new skills that will repeat throughout one’s life, and being one’s truest self.

As I have probably mentioned before, we are Catholic and celebrate Christmas. We are in the midst of Advent. I love Advent as it reminds me of the time of waiting, preparation, and joy. Personal confession - today is December 17 and our family Christmas cards and GEC cards haven’t been mailed yet. I am almost anxious, but still trying to be eager.

If you know me well, you also know I love all things Charlie Brown. Linus reminds Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about and in many ways, the message is a good reminder for us all. Advent isn’t about predictions; it’s not about speculation. Luke 21: 34-36 reminds us to be alert and ready - not burdened and distracted by the cares of this world.

So whether you’re reading Luke, lighting your Advent candles, or celebrating another holiday, I hope you’re focusing on not being weighed down. An admissions decision doesn’t define you. It certainly can adjust your path, but you ultimately are in charge of that path and you can eagerly define your next steps.

Wait, be eager, be ready, but not weighed down. You are in the driver’s seat. You’ve got this. We are cheering for you.

Not working with us yet? Feeling stressed by the college search process? Let's chat.

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