seanna-85Personally…the college process was daunting to say the least.  My dad never finished high school…my mom never made it to college.  Throughout school, my main focus had been getting high grades…extracurricular activities…establishing good relationships with teachers and peers…all the “normal” stuff.  When it was time to start applying to college, I had no clue where to start.  I’d done all the ground work, with no idea how to make the rest happen.

“Seanna…I don’t know what you’re worried about…any college would be lucky to have you…”

“You must be really excited…where are you applying…?”

“All that hard work is about to pay off…your mom must be so proud…!”

For months, the constant repetition of things that were supposed to be encouraging and motivating, only made me feel more confused and overwhelmed.   And while my mom was very proud, she was unable to help in many ways due to her lack of personal experience.  Oftentimes, neither of us knew the next appropriate step.

I didn’t realize that college fees could be waived, and that many schools only required either the ACT or SAT.  The prospect of applying for financial aid kept me up at night…I was in the proverbial tunnel with no light at the end.  And although there were plenty of counselors and mentors available to help, I felt that I should already know the answers…that I should not have to ask…

So here’s the big picture that I was missing…and here’s my advice to all those setting out with college applications…

You DO NOT have to know everything…asking questions is more than just okay…it really does help.  The people that offer assistance know what they’re talking about―the right steps to take, and even better…they WANT you to succeed!

Obviously, I did figure out the application process, managed to conquer my fear of financial aid, and even made a final decision!  So here I am, halfway through my first semester, and I realize now that allowing others to help from the start, rather than waiting until I was engulfed in essays and scores could have made the process much easier.

In fact, I’ve learned that reaching out is not a sign of weakness, but instead…a sign of strength.