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After you've made your decision

Here are 5 tips for stress-free waiting

After you've made your decision

You've been accepted to college and the selection process is over: you’ve mailed the check and signed the dotted lines. But instead of relief, you’re more anxious than ever, and questions plague your mind: Did you make the right choice? Will you miss your best friend? Will you fit in?

Don’t ruin the fun of senior year and summer vacation with unnecessary stress. Here are five common pre-college jitters.

Did I pick the right school?

You were ecstatic when your acceptance letter arrived. Now, that you are accepted to college that college is looking large and looming. Was that really the right choice for you?

It’s natural to feel stressed before stepping into the unknown, says Major General Henry M. Hobgood, USAF Ret., president of the Randolph-Macon Academy ( in Front Royal, Va.

Banish that worry by looking beyond the first few days. “Focus on the goal…going to college and doing well,” says Hobgood. “Do not start changing things…professors, courses, roommates, etc. These issues will arise and be solved in due time. Don’t out-guess yourself before you have the experience.”

Am I smart enough to survive at college?

You had it all under control in high school. But now that you have been accepted to college will it all come together in a new environment?

Mary K. Sadler of Front Royal, Va., recalls this anxiety the summer before she attended Roanoke College ( “I stressed that I may not be as smart as the other students, whether or not people were going to like me and more,” she recalls.

She reeled herself in by thinking rationally. “I just came to the conclusion that I had to be smart because I got in and got scholarships…I just had to take the knowledge I had and learn how to apply it properly.”

Am I going to gain weight?

Everyone hears about the dreaded freshman 15—pounds that creep on as a result of cafeteria food, late night pizzas and too much junk food.

Over the summer, get more involved in making your own food choices: prepare a meal at home, or do the shopping.

Plus, fitness is a sure way to fend off the freshman 15 and burn off steam. Find out what resources are available at your future school such as the pool, weight room and indoor track.

Will I miss my best friends?

Changes to some of your current relationships are inevitable, so talk about the topic early, rather than letting anxiety ruin your summer.

“Facebook, e-mail and cell phones have made it easier to stay connected to friends and family,” says Sadler.

Did I choose the wrong major?

“Deciding on a major is a big decision, and many students do not realize the time and self reflection needed,” says Dr. Sarah David, director of Career & Transition Services at Lone Star College System in The Woodlands, Texas.

Do what you can to become familiar with your career choice, but don’t worry if you continue to feel unsure. You’ll likely spend the first year taking core courses which apply to most majors, meaning you can easily shift your major later.”

The summer before college will be a time of stress and impending change. Don’t let that overshadow your vacation. Do things you enjoy and go off to college well rested and relaxed.

Debbie Swanson has published more than 100 articles in national and regional magazines, including Dog Fancy, The Christian Science Monitor and Highlights. Visit her website at


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