The Spinning of the Wheels

It’s that time of year, readers.

November 1 has come and gone and those students who had early college admission deadlines on their calendars have (hopefully!) met their requirements and clicked “submit” on their applications, officially turning their fates over into the hands of the readers at their dream schools. The mad scramble, the days of test preparation, essay tweaking, and nitpicking over every last detail has come to an end. And while there are still regular decision applications to complete here and there, for the most part, high school seniors have entered a new phase of the admission cycle – the one that everyone hates the most (more so than even writing essays!):

This is the quiet phase.

It’s hard to live in that space – the space where everything goes from full out running to a complete and dead stop – and not feel off balance. I’m right there myself right now – not with work, mind you (that’s an ongoing thing for those of us in the higher education industry, where the end of one phase always brings on the immediate beginning of the next), but instead with my riding. After retiring my FEI gelding to trail horse status after the last competition season and with my three-year-old only very recently under saddle and by no means ready for any sort of strenuous training, I too find myself spinning my wheels a bit as winter approaches.

Usually at this time of year, I’m clipping my gelding in preparation for his annual move to an indoor arena where the training cycle can continue uninterrupted. And yet this year, I’ve instead pulled his shoes and watched him get fuzzier and fuzzier as the days shorten.

It’s the first time in 14 years (!) that I haven’t fired up the clippers and it’s left me feeling a little adrift.

It’s weird to run headlong at goal after goal after goal and then all of a sudden find out that you’ve entered a space with no goal and no real firm direction you need to head in. Sure, there will be goals on the horizon and you can see them coming, but there’s no firm deadline associated right now and you most certainly don’t need to work on them until a deadline appears. And as we currently live in a time when everything (and I mean everything) is geared toward instant gratification, our ability to simply sit and wait for the next thing to come our way is substantially diminished.

But here’s the thing, readers:

The good things really do come to those who wait for them. And the world isn’t necessarily trying to torture you by putting you into a situation where patience is required. It’s just giving you time and space to really appreciate that next thing when it appears.

Would I love for my three-year-old to be Grand Prix ready by spring? Sure! But it won’t help his tendons, ligaments, skeleton, or overall understanding of the sport of dressage if I rush him toward it now. I have to wait and put the building blocks together if I want it all to work – which means that I have to be content with the fact that he learned to tuck his butt and push into the upward transition last weekend. #Victory!

And would high school students love to know instantly (probably before they even apply) if they will be accepted to their dream school? Of course they would! But considering you just spent all of those weeks writing the perfect admission essay, you probably should appreciate the fact that an admission counselor (or more than one admission counselor) will take the time to read it and analyze all of the contents of your application thoroughly before passing judgement. Let them get to know you – that’s something that never really happens overnight in the real world and it isn’t necessarily fair to expect it to happen for your application.

Bottom line: The holidays are coming, the college application rush is over. Take a moment to sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet – which will last for a very short period of time (usually right up until Thanksgiving when all of your relatives will demand to know where you’re going to college next year and why you haven’t applied their beloved alma maters).

The chance to spin your wheels is a gift. Embrace it.

(Need help choosing the list of colleges you’ll apply to next year? Contact me or pick up a copy of my book to guide your search.)

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