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College Guidance - Creating Space for Success

Creating Space for Success in Life’s Travels and Education


The best approach to reach your goal on schedule is to make space in our planning for things unforeseen and for items that are not within our control.

Planning for success in any enterprise begins with the end or goal in mind. In this article, Seton Guidance Counselor Nicholas Marmalejo discusses severely underestimating one of his own deadlines and offers some perspective on how to create a better pathway for one’s future, whether it is in education or on a cross-country drive.

Continue reading for some reflections on the road ahead.

Last fall, my family and I began the road trip of a lifetime: a trek from the East Coast to visit my brother-in-law in Western Montana and Yellowstone National Park. The journey included stops to visit additional family and friends on the way there and on the way back. It was nothing short of an adventure, and at times, a kind of enduro.

This not being my first long road trip, but the first one in many years, I began mentally preparing myself, my vehicle, and my accouterments months in advance. When the day finally arrived to leave and head West, it was almost hard to believe.

Setting out for Exciting Adventures

With coffee firmly in hand, I seemed to see a new and exciting future beckoning on the horizon. Our departure was the culmination of many, many moments of preparation.

In life, there are significant events that act as sign posts of sorts. They are usually so significant that if you had not experienced them, you would be poorer for it. This trip was one such time. The farther and farther we drove from home, the more the hectic cares of daily life receded in importance.

In their place, somewhere between our final destination and the “Corn Palace,” pranced seemingly endless pronghorn sheep on the open prairie. The vastness of that space is at once overwhelming and freeing. If you are looking for some reflection time, a drive on I-90 may do the trick. Some may find the landscapes depressing, but I digress.

Among the many thoughts I pondered was the idea of deadlines. I was, in fact, on a tight timeline. To my dismay, I realized as the day wore on that I had seriously underestimated how much driving time would be required to cross the 1000 miles from Chicago to our hotel in Rapid City. (I know, bad move.)

The Internet said 14 hours. With frequent stops for life’s necessities for myself and the family, however, as well as the obligatory check-in at Wall Drugs and the opportunity to watch the sun set and moon rise over the Badlands, it took about 19 hours.

I chastised myself, thinking that had I planned better, I would have created more space in my schedule to get to our destination and enjoy the overland journey.

Successful People Expect the Unexpected

All of this is a circuitous route to bring you to reflection about the benefits and challenges of deadlines. Unfortunately, they are necessary.

Especially as we prepare for the next big thing in life—whether it be college, a trade, a vocation, or anything—we will face deadlines. As we do so, the best approach is to create for ourselves as much as it is within our power to do so, the space to succeed.

This means accounting in our planning for things unforeseen and for items that are not within our control.

When applying to college, for example, the bureaucratic process and all of its vagaries come to mind. Plan to give yourself much more time than you think you will need, and then stick to the plan.

Do not wait to the last minute or try to squeeze too much academic or logistical work into a small amount of time.

For sending transcripts and college applications, plan to have everything submitted six weeks in advance of the school’s deadline. This may sound like a lot, but it gives you plenty of breathing room to be as sure as possible that all of your requirements have been met.

Not only will you look like a superstar, you will feel much better and more confident about the process, your place in it, and the results. That, and you will not have given yourself a stress disorder by the time you arrive at your destination.

Parchment – Seton’s New Transcript Request Service

All of Seton’s transcript requests (K-12) are now done via Parchment, a simple and secure way to send documents.

Parchment makes requesting your transcript easy. You will find details on your MySeton page under the Resources tab.

Allow a week for your first Parchment request to be processed.

Final Transcripts for Colleges

  • Once you have graduated from Seton and have chosen a college use Parchment to have your final transcript sent to the school.
  • Final transcripts are not sent automatically for you. Request your transcript in a timely manner to avoid unpleasant surprises from your intended college.
  • Completing this important step on your college application checklist will help smooth the way ahead.

About Nick Marmalejo

Nick Marmalejo
Nick Marmalejo, a history major, graduated from Christendom College in 2001. He holds a Virginia Teacher Certification and lives in the Shenandoah Valley with his wife and three children.

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