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It’s that time of year… admissions and enrollment season for preschools and independent (private) elementary schools. And to the newly initiated into this process one could be feeling a bit overwhelmed right about now.

The nervous anticipation parents may feel to receive notifications from schools they’ve applied to is, in my view, a really unfortunate by-product of popular culture’s trending emphasis on high competition. As I recall, this hamster on the treadmill mood has been under the influence of TV shows that vote someone off the island, out of a job, or out of a mate. So then the fan following grows to assume life’s “biggest” accomplishments are going to require some herculean strength - brawn, brain, or bone-structure, and only those with marketable or extreme “talent” are going to get to live their dream.

Well, I’m a proponent of excellence. But this pattern of acceptance of such high stakes - that just a small percentage of us are on the right track and everyone else is doomed to mediocrity or worse - is simply toxic. “I know, can you believe what you have to do to get into …?” “People treat preschool like it’s Harvard!” I hear this even from parents who while they’re saying how crazy other parents can be their faces belie a strain of doubt that they may be missing the boat regardless. A nagging FOMO.

This leaves the rest of us, those who categorically shun high competition because we find it an unsustainable way to plan one’s future (especially for the “big” choices), to move forward, maybe sometimes tortoise-like but with sights set on goals that are at once high and attainable. Rising to the occasion is beneficial and can be nurtured, but without all the angst. I’ll write more about how we do that at Untitled No. 1 School in the next blog post.

Meantime, if you didn’t receive the school admission notification you wanted, just try to gain a new perspective on it. THERE ARE MANY WONDERFUL TEACHERS IN MANY GREAT SCHOOLS. And if you’re celebrating receiving the notification you wanted most, I would say the same thing: THERE ARE MANY WONDERFUL TEACHERS IN MANY GREAT SCHOOLS. So hopefully you will find one another to be able to share how things are turning out in another year from now.