Good News, Bad News, and Purgatory

Many colleges are releasing their admission decisions early this year for the Class of 2018. When I type a date like that, I'm amazed at how fast the years have flown by. For those of you high school seniors who submitted your applications in late December or early January for Regular Decision (or even early November for Early Decision or Early Action), the last several months have dragged on, rather than flown by. Well, now it's “go time," as they say. Your decisions will be forthcoming any time now. These days, you'll most likely be looking excitedly (perhaps with dreadful anticipation) at your computer screen for your admission results. The big question is: How should you deal with them?

When you play the high-stakes game of competitive college admissions, sometimes you may lose. The competition is tougher than ever and getting worse every year. Yes, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Sometimes you get rained out and postponed. Rejection comes with the territory. It can hurt badly. The good news, though, is that things seem to tend toward working out for the best … most of the time.

My experience has shown me one thing for sure: There are no sure things. Much of life is a series of carefully, and sometimes not so carefully, considered ventures. Quick-and-dirty folk wisdom tells us to “Do our best and good things will happen." Sure, that's neat. Many of us, though, suffer an excess of after-the-fact self-criticism. “If only I had done [this] or [that], things would have been different." Those are words of torment. We can second-guess ourselves until the Mother Ship arrives, but it won't change reality.

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