What do you deserve a medal for?

Not everything you do that’s award-worthy actually has an award attached to it. So here’s a useful exercise as you apply to college. Think about how you’ve spent your time in high school—in the classroom, in your activities or jobs, at home, etc. And for each of those areas, ask yourself, “What do I deserve a medal for?”

Examples:

“I babysat my colicky newborn brother every day for 18 months after school while my parents worked.”

“I brought Abigail back from a panic attack minutes before our jazz band took the stage.”

“I spent every lunch hour for three weeks getting extra help from my chemistry teacher to claw my way to a C in that class.”

“I rode the bench on the basketball team all season, but nobody was more positive about being on the team than I was.”

“I read ten books about World War II last summer because I’m a legitimate history buff.”

“I broke a rib during my black belt test and still took the SAT the next day.”

“I was really scared to leave home for the first time to spend a summer with a host family in Argentina, but I did it. And I came back fluent in Spanish.”

“I created my own concoction at the smoothie shop where I work and now people request it all the time.”

Then, as you complete your applications, essays, and interviews, look for the appropriate places to share these medal-worthy stories.

Seniors, what have you done—and underclassmen, what are you doing—that deserves a medal?