Cleaning the Fence and College Apps

Written by Lisa Bleich.


Last year, with the power outage of Hurricane Sandy and the 2011 October snowstorm still fresh in my mind, I decided to be pro-active and install an electrical outlet outside to plug in our generator to run the house electricity.  As I showed the electrician the side of our deck where he intended to install the electrical outlet, I noticed how dirty the white paneling was and decided that I needed to clean it.

I started armed with diluted bleach, a bucket and some rags, thinking that it shouldn’t take too long.  Of course as I restored the gleaming white of the initial section, I noticed the entire side of the deck was filthy.  I started to wonder what I had gotten myself into: “how would I ever clean the entire side of the deck? Not to mention that part of it was covered with plants that I needed to get around.”

I also started to think about how applying to college is a lot like cleaning the side of the deck.  It seems manageable before you start, but once you delve into the common application, the supplements, requesting letters of recommendation, transcripts and sending test scores, it can seem daunting.  And it is.  But there is only one way around it, to just get started:

  • Dedicate a focused 30-45 minutes per day on college related stuff, e.g. essays, filling out applications, requesting transcripts, sending test scores, writing supplements, etc.
  • Set an achievable goal each day and check it off your list.
  • Turn off Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, texting, etc. during that time.

Then take a step back and admire your work

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