Makin' a List...Checkin' It Twice (or maybe 3 or 4 times)

It’s hard not to be list-obsessed, especially during the fast approaching holiday season. I know it is definitely influencing my thoughts as my most recent emails are all about list-making.

I wish I could chalk it up to the holiday season, but I’ve always been a huge list-maker.  I remember as a teenager having post-it notes all over the place as reminders and the quantity of said post-its has only increased as an adult. 

- Shopping lists

- Weekly, daily, monthly“to do” lists 

- Priority lists

- Long-term goals

- Short-term goals

Yes… For me, as you can see- it is all about the list.

As a visual person, list making is not just a tool to keep track of all I have to do,  it’s also a creative process.  The actual act of making a list gets the thoughts and ideas out of my head and onto paper.

 This process clears my head, makes the items more real, and insures that the creative ideas and thoughts won’t be forgotten.  List making also helps me to plan ahead, and make adjustments if necessary.

Also, let’s not forget the total satisfaction derived from crossing things off and knowing they are accomplished!  I hope I’m not the only one out there that writes something down that I did that wasn’t on the list originally JUST for the sheer joy of crossing it off!

Lists can be powerful and life-changing!  I find this to be the case in college planning as well, especially when the lists are unique, customized and part of the student’s creative process.   

It is SO rewarding to work with a high school sophomore or junior and watch their college experience come alive! This happens most frequently when we work together to take the ideas that are in their head and create their own customized college criteria – their list! 

The actual act of putting their thoughts on paper helps them to take that which is unknown and possibly scary and overwhelming to that which is known, tangible, focused and exciting!

This recently happened with one of my sophomore students.  Once we had created her customized college criteria, we started to put together her initial list of schools. She immediately got extremely excited at the future she was creating. 

Then, all of a sudden, she got rather quiet.  When I asked her what was going on, she said:

“I wish I worked harder my freshman year so that I could get into these schools”.

As I congratulated her for her awareness, I said to her:

“What would it feel like to be saying this to me as a senior, working on your applications?”

She immediately brightened up as I knew she understood the opportunity! She had several years in high school to make good on her commitment to work harder, stay focused and do what she needed to do to apply to her newly identified colleges of interest. 

She also realized she could impact her extracurricular activities, and could even revise her list of colleges between now and her senior year.  We happily spent the next half hour making lists of activities and interests that she was excited to explore next semester!

Ahhhh, another convert to the list-making club!!!