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Zauber

Youngest in my program. HELP!

5 posts in this topic

I got accepted into a PhD program and found out pretty recently that I am the youngest of 5 admitted students. With a minimum of 4 years between me and the next person, I'm worried about fitting in and how to not make a fool of myself given my inexperience and obvious youth. ANY ADVICE would be fantastic at this point, if only to stop me from having panic attacks. 

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Don't worry. You'll fit in. A gap of several years is usually not a problem. You're able to gain new insights from your peers and vice versa. I once enrolled in an advanced diploma program where I was the youngest and most were over 10-20 years older. Hope you'll have a wonderful time still.

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Make sure you're not suggesting everyone go to frat parties every weekend and you should be fine. Be as mature as you are. Be the person who got admitted into the program.

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My best friend from my MA program is nearly 8 years older than me! We meshed better than I did with students who are only a few months or a few years older than me. My point is, age really doesn't matter because you and the other members of your cohort are likely to be at a similar place in your lives. I can see there being a greater divide between married and unmarried students, but even that isn't necessarily the case. I agree with the other posters, just be yourself! You wouldn't have been accepted into the program if you didn't come across as mature to the admissions committee! 

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One of my professors noted that graduate students are usually pretty preoccupied with their own problems that they don't usually notice much about other students if it doesn't directly involve them. It is true. I bring this up not to make you worried but to hopefully reassure you that most students won't even notice.

I am the direct opposite of you. I am the oldest in my cohort. I am older than the youngest in my cohort by some 15 years. Nobody in my cohort even noticed until one day some random conversation where age came up as a side note. Everybody looked at me in surprise, some even complete shock.

Like the others here said: Just be yourself. Unless you go in there telling everyone "I am very, very young!!!" chances are, most won't even notice. Take a deep breath. Everybody is probably just as nervous as you are and just as worried as you are, all for very different reasons, and that's ok.

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