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Found 35 results

  1. Is anyone willing to share their worst academic moment(s) during their undergraduate years? For example, did you get a mediocre grade in class pertinent to your research interests, have a research paper or project turn out poorly, etc.? For me it was royally f*cking up a research paper in a graduate level course (that I was taking as an undergrad) in the very subject I wanted to study. My circumstances were mainly due to the combination of experiencing housing insecurity during that semester (moving every few days, hoping to eventually find permanent housing) and clinical anxiety. I did not have disability accommodations for my anxiety (it's never affected me so much academically), but my professor was aware of my housing situation. Nonetheless, I was not granted the opportunity for a grade of I. While I ended up receiving an A- on the paper, she alluded to the fact that it was a generous grade and later ended up ignoring my request for a letter of recommendation. The paper did turn out pretty badly, and I would not have expected her to portray it as stellar, but do my circumstances during the semester (and my anxiety disorder, which I later told her about) not deserve any consideration when evaluating my potential for graduate school? What makes this so distressful is that I greatly admired this professor and wanted her to be my advisor; now I know she doesn't believe I"m capable of graduate school. Is there just no margin for error when pursuing an academic career path? I'd like to think that most scholars (including her) have experienced at least one (or more) significant setback(s) at some point during their academic careers. While I asked for worst undergrad. setbacks, feel free to share stories from grad. school as well...
  2. I'm basically finished my PhD in theoretical condensed matter physics, but I still have trouble thinking that I'm not smart enough and frequently get stuck on things that seem like they should be easy. Seems like this might be a common experience (I'm hoping). Anyone feel this way often? Have any advice for combatting it? I find it hard trying to learn things from textbooks in particular.
  3. I have been a longtime lurker in these forums and finally decided to join the convo. I'm writing about a topic that is relatively sensitive and in a 2019 context is highly charged so I'm hoping this dialogue can be productive and respectful. Full disclosure, I am a woman of color and this has been the most emotionally taxing process I've ever been through, and I've been through some shit. I know this is something everyone has to accept, but I feel terribly alone at the moment. The silent but toxic stress of carrying all of these identities is killing me. After being one of the few members of my immediate and extended family to complete a bachelors degree, I entered the workforce for several years and after mind numbing work, I decided to re-enter academia and apply to PhD programs. Though I am not first generation, I might as well be. My mother has an associates and my father completed his masters shortly after I entered college myself. Beyond that, I don't know anyone who has ever ventured into getting any sort of advanced degrees of any kind let alone bachelors degrees or high school diplomas. My parents, though supportive, proved quite useless during this process and many of my other family and friends didn't understand why I'd give up a great career to "go back to school." It's draining at family functions to have conversations about things no one understands and judges me heavily for. Navigating the application process was such a difficult process. I reached out to other minorities and POC (person/people of color) during the initial stages but they too vocalized how taking on this endeavor can be very difficult if you're the first to do it. Not to sound like a martyr but for much of my academic and career journeys thus far I have always been the first and only in the spaces I exist in. I am one of a few POC at work and I was one of 3 POC women in a group of about 10 total in my undergraduate program. The stress of constantly feeling like I need to represent an entire group is draining and the burden of not feeling like I can measure up is exhausting. Imposter syndrome has been real. At every step of this process I have been filled with self doubt. I waited 2 years to take the GRE just because I was afraid of failing. I did not I got 160Q/167V/5.5 Writing respectively. Then I applied to programs and felt like my statement of purpose wouldn't be good enough, I was told by many that it was great. I went to open houses and info sessions thinking I didn't belong only to walk away feeling empowered. But now, that has all come to an overflowing boil. I am at a point in the PhD application process where it's becoming more readily apparent that I will probably get a flush of denies to every program I applied. I have seen acceptances and invitations for interviews go up and my inbox remains empty save for the 4 denies I've already received. When people ask me how the process is going, i can't bring myself to tell them I've been denied so I just keep saying "I'm still waiting to hear back...". Though this is true, I have no faith that I'll get into the remaining 3 programs I'm waiting on. Even my 'safety school' denied me already. What's more frustrating is the current undertones that exist in admissions -- the Harvard case against affirmative action, the feeling that spots are "deserved" rather than earned, this idea that POC are given spots in program. I was not expecting to be admitted based on some diversity metrics, and I don't fully believe at the PhD level special considerations are made based on race, religion, ethnicity, or gender. But to continually get denied makes me feel double as bad as I feel like I truly was the worst of a group that already gets special considerations/concessions. I am not sure how to move on from these denials and face the hoards of family who thought I was crazy for considering this, the coworkers and friends who have supported me with a zeal that honestly made me even consider doing this in the first place, and the countless other marginalized groups I wanted to encourage through my application and acceptances into programs. Though I identify (and exist) as a woman of color, I know I am not alone. I know there are countless women, people of color, international students, immigrants, LGBTQ, and other underrepresented or marginalized populations who hopefully can identify with these emotions and I just wanted to allow for a space for folks to be vulnerable.
  4. Hello people, I know it's kind of late to start a thread now after all the applications over for this Fall 2019. I just wanted to hear some feedbacks from people who already went through this process, or from people who are going through this process (like me). I have a degree in BFA Illustration, and I graduated from Parsons School of Design in NYC last year 2018 May. The schools I've applied are: SVA- Computer Arts Pratt- Digital Arts MICA-Illustration Practice [had an interview] FIT-Illustration Washington State University- Fine Arts RISD- Digital+Media Yale- Painting [rejected] SAIC- Communication Art [rejected] Columbia- Visual Arts I recently got rejected from SAIC and Yale, and I just had a Skye interview from MICA but, I don't think I excelled at the interview. I was nervous. If you guys are also in a status of waiting and getting rejection letters like me, how are you guys doing? And, I have a weird question. Does receiving the catalog from school mean anything? I've got a catalog from SAIC then I got a rejection letter a month later. From MICA, where I got the interview invitation, I didn't receive any catalog. And today, I received a catalog from Pratt. I know that it should mean nothing but, it just makes me anxious. Does anyone know?
  5. Hi all! I thought it might be a good idea to create a forum where people can share their self-care tips, especially during this time period where grad school results are coming in (or not, which can be stressful). This is definitely not a cure or a 100% solution, especially for those that have a mental illness, but I hope these tips/advice will be of some help during the waiting. So, here are some self-care tips I TRY to utilize: 1. Walking. Being stationary is not good for your body in general, so it is always good to just take a walk outside and enjoy nature. 2. Binge watch movies or TV shows. Even though it is good to move around, sometimes it is also good to be lazy and laugh or cry or both a little. It's all about balance. 3. Read. It's a good distraction where you can improve your vocabulary. A win-win! 4. Listen to podcasts while I clean the house. Cleaning my house always me feel better. I take a long shower after cleaning and it feels good to chill in a house that won't stress me out anymore. I love listening to podcasts while I clean because I can listen to stories or learn something new while doing something that isn't the most fun thing to do. 5. Drink some herbal tea. The comfort of holding a warm cup of tea feels like home. I say herbal tea because it has little to no caffeine in it. Caffeine can sometimes increase my anxiety, so I try to avoid it all costs when I know my mental health is not doing very well. 6. Hydrate. Water can help flush out the cortisol in your body when you are stressed and/or anxious. 7. BUBBLE bath! 8. Yoga. I typically do yoga when I don't feel liking walking, but know I need to move my body. I can't do yoga without someone to tell me what to do, so I watch Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube. She is funny and really good at teaching yoga. 9. Meditation. This can help you clear your mind. I use an app called Oak to learn how to mediate. 10. Nap. Sometimes what you need is some shut eye. 11. Talk with someone I am close with. Getting a different perspective on something that's bothering me can help me rethink about it. It's also good to talk with someone who cares about you and who you care about. 12. Face masks. It's nice taking off the mask and having a soft, clean face. Please share any tips or advice you have for self-care! I also found this forum where you read some other self-care tips. I wish everyone the best!
  6. My top choice school had an application deadline on 1/15. My current institution had an error on my official transcript. I contacted the coordinator and everything was fine. But my official transcript got to admissions on 1/25 and I was told it had been sent off to the potential advisor I have been speaking with, who has already agreed to supervise me and put in a letter with the committee. So, questions: 1) I know it's been a week, should I have heard something by now? (If this seem rediculous, trust me I find it rediculous as well and I have to endure being in my own head). 2) With a 1/15 deadline, when should I expect to hear anything? 3) In bio programs what impact does the faculty and having someone agree to take you, usually have on admissions?
  7. Hi all, I'm new to the site, but I've been looking on here for a while. I am in hopes of being accepted to a graduate specialist level program in school psychology for Fall 2019. I am applying to MSU (current school), Central Michigan, Ball State, Wayne State, Grand Valley, and the University of Toledo. I plan on staying mostly in-state or in the midwest for school and picked NASP accredited programs. I just took the GRE again on Tuesday in hopes of doing better on my Quant and AW scores. I haven't gotten my AW score back, but I did not do any better on quant than before. I was devastated when I found out, and am worried that I may not be a competitive applicant. Here are my scores from both times. First time: Quant: 144 Verbal: 153 AW: 3.5 Second time: Quant: 142 Verbal: 155 AW: not scored yet I understand that for some master's level programs in psychology that the quant is not heavily looked at. However, everyone I have spoken to (other students, professors) have said something different. I also understand that GRE is not everything in an application. I have a 3.52 GPA with strong letters of recommendation. I also have worked with troubled youth in an advocate position through my undergraduate program and am now currently working in a psychology clinic as an internship. If there is anyone out there in a similar boat, has been in the past, or is a current student in my prospective programs I would love to hear from you!
  8. Hi all! I was wondering if any current graduate students who have persistent anxiety, especially those with anxiety disorders, can give any tips on balancing your anxiety with the stressful life of grad school. One thing I am afraid of is while applying to grad school is that I will get in to a great program, but then my anxiety will become even worse and I will ruin a wonderful opportunity. Thanks for the help!
  9. Hi guys, I'm currently in my 4th year looking at molecular biology grad school programs (PhD) to apply for. I'll be graduating with a double major in Psychology (B.A.) and Biology with emphasis in Molecular cell Biology (B.S.). My GPA is at a 3.5, but hoping to graduate with 3.6+. I've been in 2 research labs, and both of my PIs have already agreed to write me a letter of recommendation. I should have one publication this year, and I have a good amount of lab experience (qPCR, producing cDNA, biotinylation/purification of RNA, dissection of Drosophila) I haven't taken my GRE yet, but I know for a fact I suck at taking standardized tests, so it probably won't be anything special. I plan on applying to: UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, Scripps, Stanford, and Caltech. These will not be the only schools I'll be applying to, just schools that have 3-4 PIs that I'm interested in working with. How well would I match up to these schools? Do I have any kind of competition here?
  10. Hi everybody! This is my first time posting to this forum so I hope I'm doing this correctly. I am about to begin studying for my PhD Qualifying Exams in Art History, and I am trying to get a sense of the average number of books Art History students read for exams in other graduate programs. The professors in my department have ZERO consistency amongst each other when assigning book lists. Lists range anywhere from 50 to 300 books, with 4 month reading period. When the graduate students tried to address this discrepancy in a meeting with our Director of Graduate Studies, we were told "This is how it's always been done," and "Exams are supposed to drive you crazy." The general lack of respect for mental health in my department is an issue for another day. Unfortunately, my advisor is on the higher end of the spectrum, and my current major list is about 250 books long. I am majoring in Italian baroque art, and she has asked me to read literature spanning between 1400-1800, in addition to literature on France and Spain. She doesn't expect me to read every book in detail, and instead wants me to understand how each book has contributed to the field. This is what she was asked to do as a student at Columbia in the 90s, and insists that this is the best way to proceed. Naturally, I am a bit overwhelmed about all of this, and I could really use some perspective on how other art history departments structure exams. Any advice on how to study this much material in 4 months would also be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
  11. How's everybody treating themselves to good stuff during the waiting game? Food, drink, pampering, whatever. Let's hear it! I have been indulging in video games, good desserts (gelato!), and good beer to unwind from each (yet another) day of waiting on admissions decisions. And if I'm gonna go get a cappuccino anyway, I'm gonna spend the extra $1.50 to go get THE GOOD ONE.
  12. Hey y'all--anyone else apply to Duke Literature this cycle? Anyone else beside themselves waiting for the implied rejection/interview request? I'd also be curious to hear about y'all's areas of interest. I went all in on Lacanian theory, sound studies, ecocriticism, and theory of value. It would be unreal to work with scholars like Fredric Jameson, Antonio Viego, and Michael Hardt.
  13. I've heard a lot of talk of people applying to "reach" and "safe schools." Maybe it's my GRE scores, but I feel like there are no "Safe Schools" in Clinical Psychology Ph.D. programs. How are you all determining this? (This is my first time applying, and I'm trying to be more prepared in the event that I'm repeating the application cycle next year)
  14. Hi, So I'm in my 2nd/3rd year as a PhD student. I've successfully completed my qualifying exams. I have presented to posters at conferences, I have 1 coauthorship and another on the way (Manuscript written, making edits and some additional control experiments), and a 3rd which I've completed my work for the project for, but could be a while before everything is written up and finished, there is still a lot of work to do there. I'm working on a project that will be part of one of my aims in my dissertation. I'm writing up my proposal now, and have to defend it soon. I feel like I'm going nowhere, and that I haven't actually contributed much to the lab. I know, I have these coauthorships - but I feel like my part was minimal at best on them. My new project is slowly making progress, I think, but I'm struggling to get the protocol to work. I know, troubleshooting takes time, and once I get it working it should be smoother sailing. I'm having panic attacks on a daily basis worrying about my work. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about analyses that are not done, or that maybe I did wrong. I see a psychiatrist and I'm on benzos and betablockers for panic attacks. I see a therapist and we work on challenging these feelings with evidence. But even with this, I feel so overwhelmed that I don't know if I could make it. I feel like I would be better off quitting with a terminal master's. But, I don't want to. I just don't know if I can stand this anxiety anymore. But, another job wouldn't make it any better. I'd still be having panic attacks, so why not carry on now and do what I want? But then I question that, do I want this? How do I know? I'm having panic attacks, crying, getting upset stomachs and vomitting thinking about lab work or meetings with my advisor. I know I'm not alone in these feelings, but I feel so isolated. Everyone around me doens't seem to have these problems. They just keep on keeping on while I'm hiding in my office crying mid-day because of an attack.
  15. Hi, I just received my masters in May and started a fully funded PhD program (in a mostly unrelated field) this fall. I thought it was what I want to do. I think the research will be interesting. However, just two weeks in and I hate it. I dislike the courses and their content. I can't see myself wanting to discuss this literature. The thought of being in academia, writing papers/grants, teaching these types of courses- it scares me and I don't really want that to be my life. I don't want to have to endure a 5 year PhD program and then additional years of obtaining tenure.The one thing holding me here is that I think I will like the research. But the field I'm in has very limited career options and most PhD grads go into academia. I'm a bit of a mess at the moment- extreme anxiety, depression, stress, and causing my IBS to flare up quite uncomfortably (sorry for the TMI). I am also 5 hours away from my long time boyfriend (he's just finishing up his PhD) and it's extremely hard being away from him and knowing that it will be difficult to continue our relationship as he looks for jobs post-PhD. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am hesitant to quit this early as I put a lot of work to get to where I am now. But, I just find more and more that I don't like my current situation. Thank you!
  16. I graduated from a top IR program in 2015, and before that was an anxiety-ridden gradcafe poster under another handle (trying to retain a little anonymity here). Scrolling through these anxious posts on a lazy Saturday morning, I want to assure that it's not as hard to get into these programs as many gradcafe posters seem to think. I had a solid GRE, mediocre GPA, decent but not exceptional work experience. I worked hard on my essays and two of my professional recommendation letter writers definitely liked me a lot (although I never saw their letters), but I was a number of years out of undergrad and the academic reference I got was from a professor in a totally unrelated field who probably barely remembered who I was. I had never had a proper IR job, had never lived in DC. It was a mixed application. But it got me into Johns Hopkins SAIS with a hefty scholarship, and a number of other top programs most of which gave me money. This is not Yale Law. You don't need a 3.96 GPA from an elite undergrad and a 98th percentile GRE/LSAT. One of my good friends at SAIS once casually referenced being happy about having cracked the 50th percentile on the math portion of the GRE. I have a number of friends that came from no-name undergrads (and of course some from Princeton, Vanderbilt, Middlebury, Boston College, Brown, etc.). If you're looking for $$$, then you probably want to pump up your GRE scores and write the best letters you possibly can. ETA: Most gradcafe-ers are probably some of the top applicants to these schools. That's why when results season comes around, you'll see lots of posts like "I can't believe I got into X school with Y dollars!"
  17. Like most PhD students, I am having a difficult time with my qualifying exams and would like some recommendations on how to proceed from others who may have experienced something similar. I should start out by explaining that I started my program as a Master’s student at the suggestion of my advisor. I didn’t come from a great undergraduate program that actually had research options and my only prior experience with research was during my year off working with a previous graduate of my advisor. During my third semester, I petitioned for a switch that my advisor was enthusiastic about and transferred to the PhD program. I was also informed recently that I received the NSF graduate research fellowship award, meaning that I won’t have to be supported with teaching/research assistantships any longer. All students are expected to complete a prospectus which entails writing a research proposal about planned research and then presenting that proposal in front of the graduate committee. I did this during my second semester as a Master’s student and again in my fourth semester after my switch in programs took effect. Also during the fourth or fifth semester, PhD students take the qualifying exams. This requires five written exams over the course of one week, each from a committee member which assigns you a topic - usually related to their field of research, not yours. If you pass this, you are able to move on to the oral exam where they ask you additional questions with all members present and this may be related to previous topics or from any topic in biology. The topics I was assigned: general ecology, comparative physiology, flight biomechanics, mammalian auditory systems and auditory processing, and mammalian and insect visual systems. I was given eight weeks to work through a mountain of textbooks and papers that were recommended, in addition to resources I found myself. Needless to say, I haven’t slept properly due to all the stress and have been remarkably unproductive in every other aspect (which is extremely unlike me). I passed the written exams with little problem. They weren’t spectacular, but no exam I’ve ever taken (SAT, GRE, midterms, finals, etc…) has ever been great just due to the anxiety from all the pressure. For my oral exam, however, I was asked the first question and I just broke. Ultimately, I ran out of the room in tears right before an extreme panic attack, unable to even tell my committee members what was happening to me. The stress, the anxiety, were things that I tried to keep unnoticed because I don’t want to be perceived as weak, or that student who can’t handle the pressure. Since that incident, I’ve talked with my members and admitted to struggling with these things. To say that I’ve always struggled with tests and public speaking is an understatement. But it’s something I’ve been actively working (including counseling and medications) on since beginning undergrad and have focused especially on this past semester knowing I would have to do this. Despite all the work and preparation, I couldn’t do it and I don’t know if I actually ever will. My committee members tell me that it shouldn’t be any different than any other time I have to speak. I disagree. When preparing for a conference or a lecture or even a job interview, you are generally narrowly focused on one topic that you’ve had the opportunity to rehearse and practice (not to mention no one at a conference tells you that you can’t come back if your talk isn’t good). This is very different from walking into a room with five people who could ask you literally anything. The goal of these exams is to confirm that PhD students are broadly trained in biology, despite specializing in a particular field and to ensure that they are truly qualified to do research. I get it, but I also think I’ve managed to demonstrate these things in other ways. I’ve done a lot of coursework because Master’s students are required to have a certain number in addition to research, which is not a requirement for PhD students. I’ve taught science courses at my university and another university prior to entering the program, I’ve passed the written portion, and I’ve managed to get an NSF grant. All my members say to me that they know I’m prepared, that I know the answers, but they still insist on me going through this ordeal to continue. I am exhausted, humiliated, and frustrated to say the least. So, has anyone else had these experiences? Were you offered any sort of alternative way to prove you’re competent? Or am I really going to have to just accept that this shortcoming is going to alter my life plans despite being very capable in every other requirement? Am I really just not good enough? Is this really the best way for the Deptartment of Academics to separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff or is my career as a biologist being held hostage behind faculty traditions passed on as normal?
  18. I have been admitted to a graduate program of choice and could not be more elated about my acceptance. Lately though, I've been feeling rather anxious about starting this chapter of my life. I have been feeling very doubtful of this decision and feel scared that I will spend all this time and energy in this subject, only to receive my Master's and wish to switch to another career. I am a hard worker, love to be intellectually stimulated, and love a good challenge- the difficult part for me is socializing day in and day out with colleagues, especially on days when personal life is hitting the fan or i'm just plain exhausted. It's really hard to fake it, and it makes me feel guilty when mentally I am just not there that day. I think a lot of the anxiety would melt away if I knew I could just genuinely be myself (good, bad, and ugly), but I know that the culture of academia does not really work this way. We must be "on" at all times. I am also nervous that grad school will be so time consuming that it will derail my personal life and leave me feeling isolated from my friends and family. More than anything, I wish to have a balanced work/home life, but I keep receiving messages that it is just not possible in graduate school. Does anyone else feel similar to this or have advice? Thank you!
  19. Got my first decision for grad school bacl today, and it's a big fat rejection. I applied for was Ph.D in Near East Languages and Civilizations (Egypt) at UChicago, which is the school I heard back from, Penn, Johns Hopkins, and Brown. Now, I thought February through March is when they send acceptance letters and letters saying you're on the wait list and then don't send rejections until late march through April. So does the fact that I recieved my rejection that quickly mean they thought I was extremely unqualified for the program? If that's the case, then I need to work on my back up plan for next year when the other rejections come in.
  20. Seems to me that the traffic on GradCafe has slowed down some over the past few weeks, which suggests that people are hopefully making decisions about their programs! Who here wants to commiserate over the fact that no graduate programs have released decisions for them yet? That's where I'm at and it's a tad nerve-wracking.
  21. So I had an anxiety attack and bugged UCLA grad office with an email on my app status 2x this week. I' pretty sure I won't email them again until I officially hear a decision, but did I affect my decision by bugging them?
  22. With most of the deadlines for biology and biomedical Ph.D. programs for the Fall 2017 either being over or approaching, there's only one thing left to do: WAIT. If you're anything like me, you are refreshing your email hourly (even though it's only December 5th). So my question is to past applicants: When did you hear back from schools that you applied to about interviews and what not. Also, where did you apply? I would love to hear about some of the experiences you had with different schools and when you had correspondence with them so I can ease my own anxiety! Thanks!
  23. Hello all, I have suffered from anxiety for a while and even sought counseling at my undergraduate institution. I didn't want to be medicated or have an official diagnosis because I wanted to keep options open for military service. So I pushed through. Managed a 3.49 in undergrad with over a 3.8 in my major (anthropology) and am sitting at a 3.69 in my graduate program (public health). My biggest problem has been attendance due to anxiety. I am no longer considering the military and I want to do better so that I not only do well in my masters program, but can also perform well in a PhD program. Do you all think a diagnosis and/or accommodations this late in the game will be beneficial or hurt me? What I'm thinking I would need is just advanced notice of assignments or big projects (or whatever people with anxiety normally get), definitely counseling, and possibly medication but that would be up to a doctor. The big thing for me is that I want to be able to explain my lackluster GPA on PhD applications and prove that I am working on it and will be able to manage PhD work. I have no doubts that I can, but as my condition ebbs and flows, so does my work. So the question is really whether I will always be doing my best. I am only going to be applying to schools that have a really good focus on teaching and advising because I perform much better when I have a solid relationship with my teachers, so I will talk about that in my personal statement. This is sorta a ramble, but advice, stories, and general information about experiences with disability services, mental health in grad school and the application process, and coping mechanisms would be helpful.
  24. Hi everyone, I'm currently a rising senior Chemistry major. Up until a month ago, I was pre-med and was planning on taking the MCAT and applying to medical school. But I recently decided that I would be happier doing a Masters in Chemical Engineering instead and that the medical field was just not for me. With this decision came a lot of disappointment from not only my immediate family but my extended family as well and the large amount of pressure and disappointment has been giving me extreme anxiety . Does anyone have any advice or words of wisdom for me to deal with the situation?
  25. Hello all, This is my first post on Grad Cafe, so if there's some protocol that exists that I'm not following...my apologies! I'm a second year history Ph.D. student, am almost through comps (so. very. close.), and have started thinking about my research year, which will take place during my 4th year (though, as we all know, grant applications will need to be done this coming Fall). Frankly, I'm a nervous wreck over the idea of being abroad doing research for such long stretches of time. I have a generalized anxiety disorder that makes it very difficult to remain in a good, healthy place when away from my routine and support systems for extended periods of time. I would really appreciate any insight anyone has for how to handle long research trips, alternative ways of breaking up research trips throughout the year, ways to approach this conversation with my adviser, etc. Thank you in advance!
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