Meditations in an (Application) Emergency

Zachary WielgusI’m a planner. I plan things. Checklists litter my desks — e-mail these people, check in with these applicants, don’t forget to pick up stamps and dry cleaning, post blog. It’s how I stay efficient.

What often transpires, as so many of my list-making peers agree, is that I cannot turn off my planning nature. There are always three more things to do, a new idea to write down, which is why in addition to my written daily checklists one could find four notes in my iPhone with a smattering of to-do’s and what-if’s. (I’m not proud of it, but it is what it is….and it’s also why I have a password on my phone.)

A little frustrated that I could not put my mind on “vacation mode” during the days around Christmas, my younger sister felt I needed to hear my 2014 horoscope. It began with a suggestion to take more time to slow down and look inside myself, offering up the idea of meditation; oddly enough, I had recently read an Esquire article on the Headspace app — essentially meditation for beginners. Always impressed by random coincidences, I decided to give it a try. So, for the past five nights, I’ve crawled into bed and booted up Headspace, allowing myself 10 minutes of meditative relaxation.

It’s been incredible!

As someone whose mind is never fully powered down, I remained skeptical about my chances of fully embracing the goal of meditation: a tranquil, free mind. Instead, the day’s stream of tasks slowed down and the lists drifted away. They will still be there tomorrow, after all.Extra-Headspace-logo-001

With a week until our Regular Decision application deadline, I implore both students and parents alike to create some head space. The anxious tone of recent phone calls and e-mails has me wishing I could stand in front of each and every one of you to look you in the eye, ask you to take a deep breath, and remind you that it will all work out. And with this calmness comes a clear mind and keen eye, eliminating the chance for sloppy mistakes or rushed writing. Yes, every piece of the application is vitally important; however, if your mind is frantic from the stress of attaining perfection by a deadline, you can easily lose your footing as you try to put your best foot forward.

Take a walk in the brisk winter air. Eat dinner with your family and talk about something other than college applications. See a movie with your friends. Read a book for fun. Before you know it, the chaos inside your brain will settle, the stress will float away, and the final days before a deadline will feel much more manageable.

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