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Worried Myself Sick (Literally)

Posted by joro, 10 December 2009 · 98 views

Over this past weekend, I came down with a stomach infection from basically worrying too much about the missing letter of recommendation. This is actually the 3rd time that this has happened. My first time applying for graduate school, I worried myself sick because of the GRE. I became really anxious and my liver started retaining fat deposits (fatty liver). After the GRE was over, I was a lot more calm till April. I started receiving rejection notices because I was unable to produce that 3rd letter of recommendation (I would blame this on myself for getting him the materials late). That time, I came down with a bad stomach infection for a week. I had to go to urgent care and such.

The same Professor said he would write one for me this year since I am reapplying and we had a one on one talk. My last day working with him, he said (in front of his colleagues and other RAs) that he would be writing me a letter. It isn't as glorious as you think. We were just hanging around as a going away "party" and he mentions to me that he will write it.

Now this past weekend, I get sick again and on my birthday. I think writing these blogs gets me even more worried because I realize how little time I have left and it gets me thinking about what I will be doing if he doesn't write one for me again out of pure negligence. It's not like I can reapply again for a 3rd time... On a better note, I am feeling a lot better than I did this past weekend.

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I'm with you. In the last three months, I've been sick four times and re-opened my ulcer. Hot.
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I totally feel for you. This process is about 10x more stressful than I ever anticipated, and this definitely does not have a good effect on one's health. I hope you feel better soon and everything works out!!
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So this is just me being a big hippie, but as a Religion student I've been able to study Buddhism and their ideas about mindfulness have really been helpful for stress management. Something one of my professors had me do was to think about two things: 1) What is the absolute worst possible outcome? (For me, it's that I get rejected outright from everywhere but still get to graduate with my degree...not too bad, I guess) and 2) Assess how likely that situation is (again, for me...seems kind of unlikely). I was getting sick a lot (I never ever ever get sick, I'm a total germophobe and I walk around with hand sanitizer at the ready) and he noticed, so he told me to start doing these kinds of assessments and they've really helped.
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I'm so sorry to hear you're having these issues. I hope that this professor turns stuff in for you. Have you called/offered to show up (in other words done something more pushy than email)? I can't understand why a professor would do this to you or anyone for that matter! Feel better soon!
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I just tried what you suggested and I think I frustrated myself even more:

1) Worst possible outcome would be that my LOR doesn't get submitted and I don't get in anywhere. It is very likely that I will be accepted into my first choice school if everything is submitted (that's why this really bothers me).

2) My LOR submitted everything late or so he says (online application never says they received them), so I would say it might be very likely he does it again.

I honestly don't have anyone else to ask for a 3rd LOR. I wasn't very vocal with many of my Professors except for the ones who wrote me a LOR.

UPDATE: Just got a call from my doctor's office about my blood tests. My liver results aren't as bad as last years, but it is still slightly up. I need to retest in a month to see how it is doing.
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I'm so sorry to hear you're having these issues. I hope that this professor turns stuff in for you. Have you called/offered to show up (in other words done something more pushy than email)? I can't understand why a professor would do this to you or anyone for that matter! Feel better soon!


I don't know his schedule to just really show up. He travels around the US and to other countries for research purposes. I do have a number though, not sure if it's office or direct cell number. I will be giving him a call tomorrow to see how my LOR is coming along, I hope that he is done and was just waiting till the deadline to finish. I can't think of any reason as to why he hasn't been responding. I keep thinking to myself that I got on his bad side some how.
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Well my thoughts...

If he didn't want to write your LOR/you were on his bad side... then why did he volunteer to do so? No one is forcing him. I don't think that's the case from what you've said. It sounds like he's just very disorganized/unaware.

If this happened last year, and he was late and it caused problems with your chances of admission, he really cannot blame you (especially this close to the deadline) for trying to get into contact with him and make sure he submitted them. In fact, if he said he would do it again for you - he should have gotten them in early and avoided this whole situation. I know that professors don't owe us anything, and they are certainly welcome to bow out if they change their mind/get too busy. What is not okay, is to just disappear - that doesn't show very professional behavior on his part.
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This process is super-stressful. The worst part of it is that no one understands how much work is involved in applying, and how stressful it can be.

In social situations, I often avoid having to say what I do because I'm tired of blank faces.
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This is probably the only part I am really stressed about. It is totally out of my hands and I can only bug my LOR to do it. At least when the admissions decisions come, I will know that based on how my applications look decides whether I get in or not. That I initially had control over this.

I am counting off the days till freak out that the LOR didn't get submitted...
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This is probably the only part I am really stressed about. It is totally out of my hands and I can only bug my LOR to do it. At least when the admissions decisions come, I will know that based on how my applications look decides whether I get in or not. That I initially had control over this.

I am counting off the days till freak out that the LOR didn't get submitted...


I've been told that the deadlines are more for students than they are professors. I wouldn't worry too much.
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