Hey y’all! It’s that time of year! Hanukkah has come and gone, Christmas music has taken over Magic 101.9, and students are so stressed out by their college applications that they can barely enjoy the holiday cheer. It’s a tough time to be a senior!

We know that this waiting game is the worst. You turned in your Early Action application 3 weeks ago and now you’re just twiddling your thumbs and hoping for the best. It’s a tale as old as time. While we don’t have an exact day for decision release quite yet, I can tell you that we will be releasing Early Action decisions before we close for Winter Recess. We will update you ASAP once we determine the precise day and time (like we did for Early Decision).

While none of us can claim to be as meditative as Jeff tried to be, we do still have a few tips for you on how to make this time of year as stress-free as possible! I like to view stress reduction as part of my job description. As Director of Engagement, I spend most of my year getting students hyped up about Tulane. From posting on TikTok to hosting virtual events, we do our best to find fun and entertaining ways to make Tulane come to life. Doing all of that research on Tulane and your other schools all leads to the applications themselves, and waiting to hear back can be torture. Here are 5 tips to help you navigate this stressful period.

1. Set aside some college-free time.

I remember my senior year. College is all anyone could talk about! Whether it was at Thanksgiving dinner, at lunch at school, or with random people at the grocery store, everyone wants to know your plans. Set some boundaries for yourself and try to limit this talk. Ask your family if there is at least one day a week where you can go without college conversations. Don’t let this consume your whole life! Senior year is full of so many other milestones besides college! Don’t let the stresses of this process detract from the fun of this important year.

2. Remember that you are not competing with your friends

Don’t let your friends stress you out! Of course, applying to college is a major milestone and we know that shared trauma brings people together (only half joking). Naturally, you and your buddies are going to talk about college. That is completely fine. But don’t get caught up in the rat race of trying to collect trophies or dunk on people you care about. They don’t need to know that you got into their top choice, but don’t actually want to go there. Nobody cares what you got on your ACT. Try to show some class and remember that this is a hard time for everyone and putting others down is not going to make you feel better. Also remember that most schools do not put quotas on specific high schools/counties/states. Nobody is “stealing” your spot!

3. Don’t put too much stock into social media

Social media is a huge part of my life. I just like it. It’s also a major part of my job. It’s terrible because I know it is awful for my brain. Chasing the serotonin from getting likes is a brutal game. Try not to feel the need to update your followers on every single acceptance you get. Excited about your top choice school? Post away! But don’t forget that Instagram is insanely contrived and that comparing your lowest moments to your friends’ highlight reel is not realistic. Don’t let it get you down!

4. Exercise

The mental health benefits of exercise are well documented! Although this colder weather (in other parts of the country) can make it daunting to leave your cozy place, don’t underestimate how much better you will feel even after a 30 minute walk around your neighborhood! Exercise can help clear your mind, or you can view it as a time to catch up on your favorite podcast or show. Get moving!

A run through campus is a great way to de-stress!

5. Try to be patient with the process and with others

Reading applications takes time! Now that you have sent off your application, there is nothing more to do. The decision is gonna be what it’s gonna be. Bothering your teachers or a family friend for a panicked extra recommendation won’t help. Trust that your team did everything they could to help you, and for goodness sake, show your school counselors some grace. They had to send thousands of documents this fall. They are working extremely hard, and it can often be a thankless job. Don’t forget to show them some appreciation!

So there you have it! I promise I am not trying to lecture y’all on how to behave, and I promise this is for your own good. Everything will be alright in the end! Hope for the best, and enjoy everything else that is going on in your life!