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How to Land Your #CollegeCrush (in 14 lovable steps)

by Carol Barash, PhD, on Feb 14, 2016 1:00:00 PM


Yale was my college crush: The place I wanted above everything else. The place I obsessed about and studied fiercely. The place I was more than a little afraid of. The mirror I used to define myself.

When I was applying to college I was 16. My father had died the winter before, and my mother worked nonstop to keep me and my sister in the world as it had been when we had two parents. My AP US History teacher, Mrs. Bressler, loved me far more than I will ever believe I deserved; in acts large and small, loving devotions to what she saw was possible in my life, she got me through a wretched chapter in my life story.

Mrs. Bressler’s love got me my college crush. I want to share her love with you. It’s sweeter than candy, more fragrant than the roses’ last bloom, and within your grasp right now.

Here’s how it works:

  • Love yourself: You are in this world with a unique set of talents and possibilities. No one else can do the work that you are here to do. You will figure out what that work is by doing it. Take action. Love yourself in the present by doing, not thinking. 
  • Love your competition: The people all around you are not numbers on a scattergram; they are people, just like you. You can’t all get into Princeton or Penn State, but you can all work together to get everyone to college.  
  • Love the journey: On a day I was desperate with sadness and wanted a way out of my pain, Sue Justice put her hand on my arm and gently said, “Carol, life is a journey not a destination.” Much later, Sue changed her name to Sunne.
  • Love the bumps and bruises: To learn you need to make mistakes. And I’m not talking about the wrong answer on a standardized test. Don’t break the law--unless it’s civil disobedience you’re after--but swing for the fences. Win big; lose big; be in the game.
  • Love what you know: Trust what you see in front of you. If you are afraid, it might mean to push forward, or it might mean to pause. Trust the twitch in your belly and what it tells you.  
  • Love what you don’t know: When I look back, I see how much I thought I knew when I was in high school--and how little I really knew. Surround yourself with diverse people, and you will learn much faster.
  • Love the past: There is so much to be learned from the past: your personal past, your family’s past, your people’s past, our shared past and our different pasts. Love the past just as it was; honor what happened, just as it happened.
  • Love the present: The only way to be happy is to love the present. The only way to get things done is in the present. Nothing happens “always” or “never.” Only now.
  • Love the future: Sit quietly and imagine the world you are creating with your actions. What does that world look like? Imagine it in detail. Write it down. Commit to it.  
  • Love your teachers (especially the ones you hate): You have to spend a lot of time with them, so remember they are people too. What can you learn from them besides subject matter?
  • Love learning: Think of school as a place where everyone is teaching and learning. Be someone who takes joy in knowing--and not knowing. Celebrate learning. Help others learn.
  • Love your friends: These people are your posse, your tribe, your community. Long years from now, they will remember who you are and who you were. Be with them; honor them.
  • Love your enemies (even more): The other side of love is not hate, it’s fear. Pay attention to where un-love takes you. And soften the grasp those places hold over you.
  • Love your story: Your brain already knows how to tell stories. It’s our most primitive and powerful form of communication. Tell stories and the world will love you more.

At Story2 we inspire students to find and share their unique stories. We would like you to tell us who your college crush is.  All you have to do is record a short video telling us which school you find the dreamiest and post it on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with the hashtag #CollegeCrush. Get your friends to show the love by commenting, liking, sharing, or retweeting your story.  I’m giving a year of college coaching to conquer college admissions with one of our Story2 coaches to the student who tells the story their friends love most. “All you need is love…”

Topics:college admission