Hold on to your hearts: This waiting can be godawful, super stressful, I know. But the cool thing is that if your ED/EA school doesn’t work out, you’re still gonna have lots of great options. I promise. (spoiler alert: even if you don’t have a surefire safety that you love and every college rejects you, you’ll still have lots of options. Crazy, right?)

Life works out: I’m a big believer in doing everything you can to be who you want, get what you want, or position yourself in the best place for it. I’m all for putting everything into it while being reasonably balanced. I want you to try your hardest, knowing that you couldn’t have done any more, so you have no regrets, but then you just gotta let the universe take control. I’m old so I’ve seen it time and again, life works out the way it’s supposed to more often than not.

Emotional Planning: It’s real important that you do some EP right now. Emotional Planning. Your mental and emotional health are far more important than where you go to college. So, hope for the best, of course. You’ve worked your asses off to get to a position to even be able to apply to the schools you applied to. You wrote killer essays and presented yourself as your best you on your very best day. It’s only natural to be hopeful and you should be, but come on, you gotta be real too. The realities of admissions are that there are just too many of all these beautiful yous to be funneled into that tiny little teacup full of colleges you’re applying to, and some of you (many of you — I’ll be honest) won’t get in. So hope for the best, but please prepare yourself for the “worst.” I put “worst” in quotation marks because I know that often what seems like the “worst thing that could possibly happen” can turn out to be something really quite wondrous in the end. 

Prepare for the Suckiness: The fact of the matter is that we have to live our lives in the moment, and some of these moments suck and some of them blow us away with their amazingness, and some are just ho-hum. So buckle up, and prepare for some sucky moments to head your way in the next few days if you applied ED, but don’t forget to take a look around you right now, this minute, and see your friends, the beautiful blue sky (it is here today in Houston), the snow on the ground, your pets, your teachers, your warm bed, and whatever it is in your moment right now that you can appreciate.

So, here’s the real deal, the honest to goodness truth: you are an incredible person (Hard to believe I know that without knowing you isn’t it? But it’s true), and you’re gonna kickass wherever you go. You don’t need any certain school to do that. You don’t need a school to light your fire to help you on your way to being the person you want to be in the world. You don’t need any one name-brand school to spark the match that lights your way. That fire? It is YOU.