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Stress

Posted by Kitkat, in updates 27 July 2011 · 192 views

So now I am starting to get a bad case of pre-application nerves and worries. I've been working on my SoP and should have a first draft done by the end of this weekend, after several run thoughs of my own. I'm retaking the GRE on the advice of profs in the department. I keep thinking that I should be doing so much more.

And then recently to top off that I am already stressed out to a certain degree about this, I find out that there are issues with the research I am currently working on. Nothing to do with my part of the work, but still, it is not making me feel any calming about the whole process. What has happened is that a machine has broken down with the other school that we are working on, and so it basically looks like I won't be able to present at AGU this fall. It has just delayed getting enough results to the point where I won't have enough data to hand in something for the deadline for the conference. I will still probably be presenting my work at the GSA regional conference in March, so during the application season. But I was looking forward to going to that one conference.

The anxiety is starting to build......

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Hey Kitkat, just keep at it. I think if you have your first draft for your SoP at the end of July then you're doing good in terms of the timeline. The delayed results and not being able to present at AGU are a disappointment but just keep working at the research you're doing. Even if you don't have a paper to show for it, you'll could still get a very valuable LoR out of it. As for the anxiety, that's unavoidable I think, unfortunately. What helped me last year is that around this time, I made a month by month breakdown of what I wanted to accomplish before the deadlines in December. So for example, you could take a month to focus on your GRE preparations or you could aim to have your SoP reviewed and then reworked again at least once more during August.

Another helpful tip I found last year is to use your "down time" (e.g. when you're too tired to focus on complex things) to do data entry on your application sites (assuming you can save them and continue later). So fill in the usual personal and academic details early - that way you won't have so much to do later on in the application season when you're finally ready to submit your apps. Plus, it gives you that feeling of 'getting something done' that is useful when you start to feel overwhelmed.
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What helped me last year is that around this time, I made a month by month breakdown of what I wanted to accomplish before the deadlines in December. So for example, you could take a month to focus on your GRE preparations or you could aim to have your SoP reviewed and then reworked again at least once more during August. Another helpful tip I found last year is to use your "down time" (e.g. when you're too tired to focus on complex things) to do data entry on your application sites (assuming you can save them and continue later). So fill in the usual personal and academic details early - that way you won't have so much to do later on in the application season when you're finally ready to submit your apps. Plus, it gives you that feeling of 'getting something done' that is useful when you start to feel overwhelmed.


Agreed. I've essentially been filling in the basic personal information required as soon as a program in which I'm interested has the 2011-12 version available. Actually, I'm pretty sure one of them I worked on recently was last year's application, so we'll just have to wait and see (until September 1, I suppose--the most common starting date for applications to be submitted as far as I've been able to tell) if I've jumped the gun with this plan--several guns would be more likely, with my luck.

Anyway, I suppose that's some advice, in and of itself. Most programs will let you create an account for their application now, but some make it explicit that there simply is no application to begin completing until a later time. Others, such as the one to which I referred above, still have last year's application up, and, at least in that particular case, there is not easily-identified clarification that your information entered manually into the text boxes will seem to save and such just fine, but when the scroll-down option comes up that asks when you're planning on entering, it won't give Fall 2012 as a choice...and then you're sad.


Sadness face.
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Agreed. I've essentially been filling in the basic personal information required as soon as a program in which I'm interested has the 2011-12 version available. Actually, I'm pretty sure one of them I worked on recently was last year's application, so we'll just have to wait and see (until September 1, I suppose--the most common starting date for applications to be submitted as far as I've been able to tell) if I've jumped the gun with this plan--several guns would be more likely, with my luck. Anyway, I suppose that's some advice, in and of itself. Most programs will let you create an account for their application now, but some make it explicit that there simply is no application to begin completing until a later time. Others, such as the one to which I referred above, still have last year's application up, and, at least in that particular case, there is not easily-identified clarification that your information entered manually into the text boxes will seem to save and such just fine, but when the scroll-down option comes up that asks when you're planning on entering, it won't give Fall 2012 as a choice...and then you're sad. Sadness face.

Yeah, some applications open later, unfortunately. One of mine from last year opened in the middle of October!
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Thanks for the support from both of you. My PI for the research is being really supportive, and will write me a good SoP, I'm sure. He's also reminding me that although this means that I will probably be presenting later, I will still be presenting my results at a conference, and it is still most likely something that I can talk about somewhere in my application, like on my CV. And I am trying to do this, a little bit, by a little bit, so that I don't get too stressed out during the process.
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Noooo! Don't stress! You're totally on track, and 90% of research is those bumps and obstacles, so don't sweat it. Sorry to hear about AGU though :( I don't think I'll be able to present either, due to a few complications. Yeah, it totally sucks. Sadness. But smaller regional conferences are pretty bomb, too!

If there's one regret I have about my application season, it's that I stressed to much. I know (from personal experience) that it's hard to listen to other people when they say "don't worry," but remember--keep working hard, but make sure to enjoy life too!

Oh, and I am really sorry if this comment is overly optimistic and cheerful. All I'm sayin' is don't stress too much, now!
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Well I think at this point it is just a matter of getting as much together as early as possible. Aka, putting all of this anxious energy to good use. And I am trying not to stress too much, I am still doing fun stuff to relax.

The regional should still be a good conference to go to. I am tempted to see if I can make it to another, bigger conference in more of my field just to get a feel for the bigger ones, and to see if I can meet people.

How was your application season btw? It seems to have worked out well for you.....
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I'm stressed out too. I was rejected last application season by all 4 programs I applied to, and the stress of that season is not over yet, for some reason.

My plan to improve my profile and chances are to apply to a wider range of schools this time, to retake the GRE, to take a subject GRE test (I don't know if it's really worth it), and to rewrite my SOP. I"ve already sent a paper for publication but it's still being reviewed. I hope it'll get published so that I can add it to my CV. I'm also working on a second one.

I also plan to contact some POI's this time (last time I didn't).

Is there anything else I should be doing?

I'm really worried. I hope this season be a successful one for all of us!
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Well I think at this point it is just a matter of getting as much together as early as possible. Aka, putting all of this anxious energy to good use. And I am trying not to stress too much, I am still doing fun stuff to relax. The regional should still be a good conference to go to. I am tempted to see if I can make it to another, bigger conference in more of my field just to get a feel for the bigger ones, and to see if I can meet people. How was your application season btw? It seems to have worked out well for you.....

Oh, yeah.... that. it was basically a miserable and disappointing time that can only be summed up by the phrase "epic failure." I've grown a bit weary of the sadness, though, so now I'm trying to make the best of things (and it's not that bad at all, now).
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I'm stressed out too. I was rejected last application season by all 4 programs I applied to, and the stress of that season is not over yet, for some reason. My plan to improve my profile and chances are to apply to a wider range of schools this time, to retake the GRE, to take a subject GRE test (I don't know if it's really worth it), and to rewrite my SOP. I"ve already sent a paper for publication but it's still being reviewed. I hope it'll get published so that I can add it to my CV. I'm also working on a second one. I also plan to contact some POI's this time (last time I didn't). Is there anything else I should be doing? I'm really worried. I hope this season be a successful one for all of us!

Just as long as you are not getting to stressed out! Try to put it all into making your application better this year.
I would say that you should ask the departments that you are looking at, if they want/think that the GRE subject would really be all the helpful for you to take.

I would say, just make sure that the programs are a good fit for you, and you for them. Also I don't know how it is in your field, but try to contact all of the departments/POIs you are looking to see if they are even taking people and so they have some connection to you when you apply.
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I'm not so sure. You see, my GPA is not very high (3.29), which is something that cannot be corrected at this point, so I'm looking for other ways to improve the package. Most schools I'm applying to state that the subject GRE is "not required but preferred" "or highly recommended but not mandatory". So I thought I'll try and give it a shot.

Can I contact POIs even if I don't have a topic/idea for my thesis. I know of course what I'm interested in and what I'd like to do, but I don't really have any thesis-appropriate ideas at this stage. Is it OK if I just say that I'm interested in their work and if they are ready to accept new students?
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Yeah, I am sure that you can, just state what you are interested in, connect it to what they are doing, explain how that is why you are contacting them. Then ask if they know yet if they will be taking new students this fall.

As for your GPA, is there a reason why your GPA is a 3.29? Is it something that you can explain in your SoP? A lot of schools focus more on the last two years, or if there was a temporary one time thing (or something like that), that should not affect your graduate school studies.
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Oh, yeah.... that. it was basically a miserable and disappointing time that can only be summed up by the phrase "epic failure." I've grown a bit weary of the sadness, though, so now I'm trying to make the best of things (and it's not that bad at all, now).


Well, I'm glad your back, and I hope that it keeps getting better for you.
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Kitkat--

I recommend that you break the habit of thinking about what you should be doing and where you should be. The dynamic may prevent you from appreciating what you've accomplished.

Please consider the merits of focusing on what you're doing at the moment, doing the best you can under the circumstances, and then moving on to the next item on the check list.

Also, try to find ways to relax when you can, to maintain a sense of perspective about your goals (this suggestion is meant to be cryptic), and to keep your sense of humor at all times.

HTH.
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I would like to add my blog to this website, how did you do it?

my recent article is about revising your personal statement letter for SLP grad program, I am not sure what type of program you are applying for but maybe some of my tips could help you out too. I also listed a couple good apps I used to help study for the GRE and raised my score a lot! dont feel bad about retaking it, I did 3 times to get the score I needed to get into my school of choice.

MedSLP
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I would like to add my blog to this website, how did you do it? my recent article is about revising your personal statement letter for SLP grad program, I am not sure what type of program you are applying for but maybe some of my tips could help you out too. I also listed a couple good apps I used to help study for the GRE and raised my score a lot! dont feel bad about retaking it, I did 3 times to get the score I needed to get into my school of choice. MedSLP


They should have it under the 'The Cafe' section under 'Blogging Experiment', here. They should be starting getting new people for it soon. You should bring it up with admin!
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I found your post through http://forum.thegradcafe.com/blogs/. The blog post immediately underneath yours says "OK, so, at this point I am going in for a re-excision for cleaner margins on Monday, and then have a CT and Bone scan the following Tuesday...I will likely begin chemo at the end of May - four rounds of..."

Chill out - no matter how stressful things get they could always be worse!
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True, things can be worse. And I am glad that she at least found out that she had gotten into grad school before she found out about it all, and as able to enjoy that moment for a while. I've been watching my dad go through something similar, and honestly, it makes me want this all the more in a way. It shows that anything can happen, and you should go for what makes you happy.
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