For many, emotional intelligence (EQ) is something that is focused on second-hand. As I have been applying to colleges and trying to figure out what the next stage of my life will look like, I’ve been reflecting on how EQ plays such a vital role in making consequential decisions in life. Because of the rigorous academic culture we have grown up in, most of us are looking at colleges through the lense of greatest success. What school can I go to to ensure a good internship? What state has the best connections to my job field? What school will look better on resumes? I hope my 10 AP classes get me a year ahead.

Those are all great questions to consider when choosing a college — we deserve for our hard work to be recognized and used as a catalyst for a successful career. However, how many of us have considered what place will offer us not only academic rigor but also a better sense of self? What place will challenge us, both in the classroom and in relationships. In new classes and new responsibilities? One key aspect of having high emotional intelligence is self-awareness. How aware are you in striving to have a well-rounded, fulfilling life? 

Developing self-awareness is about knowing when you need to push yourself and when you’ve taken on too much. While emotional intelligence is so much about how you react to others and live with empathy, I think something most people forget is that it’s living with empathy for yourself as well. You may have heard the famous saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup” and I feel that encapsulates such an important truth. I encourage everyone who is also applying to colleges and making decisions about where you want to spend the next stage of your life to consider what place will give you the environment to be your best self and with that in mind, how you can show up as your best self for those around you. 

And while you’re waiting on acceptance letters and final commitments, remember to be where your feet are. Spend time with your friends and family, do your school work but don’t put too much pressure on yourself, do the things that make you, you because I promise at the end of the day you will end up where you’re meant to be.

Photo Credit: The Oxford Review

Written by

Daniela Lanning

Daniela Lanning, junior, loves both writing and reading because she feels that words allow people to express emotions and ideas freely with the rest of the world. In her free time, Daniela loves to sing, play the guitar and ukulele, go to the beach, listen to music, and spend time with all her favorite people in life! She is passionate about reaching out to others and learning more about how to understand those around her. Her favorite author is Robin Jones Gunn.