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Hello guys and gals, lords and ladies, At this point I have a small number of you that actually enjoy my writing, and first off I would like to say thanks for all your support (fan mail and all)! However, as I sit here in the darkness of the night, having my mind be to anxious to go to sleep, I find myself wondering two things, both with the same key phrase: "go the distance" (yes, like the amazing Hercules song; no, there's no judgement). Here's what I don't want: I don't want you to read this in the questioning manner (so don't sit there and start questioning every single decision you've had to make or have been making during this grad school process...yes, I'm talking to you). I'm a firm believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason, so you are going through this ordeal for a reason, whether it's good or bad. After all, I'm living proof...but that's a story for another day. Here's what I want to happen (although, there is no guarantee it will): I want you, you, who is sitting there on your phone or computer, reading this looking to connect with other people and research what this whole process is like, I want you to read this little post and reflect. Not reflect on what you've done, but what you will do. Scratch that. What you are willing to do. So, let me state the two differences that arise in the same phrase. 1) "go the distance" - how far are you willing to go to succeed in life? I don't think I need to state that you have to remain within the legal boundaries, but I already did. I know, just like you, that grad school is a lot. And I'm not just talking about financially. It's a lot of hard work, dedication, time, and sacrifice. It's pushing yourself to see how far you can go, and it's pushing yourself even more to show you have what it takes. I could sit here and tell you that I, (hopefully) future marine archaeologist, went so far to have hip reconstruction surgery, have had/am having/will have six months of physical therapy, and more physical restraints and responsibilities in order to take a step toward my dream. However, that isn't necessarily the case. As much as I would like to say I went through all that just for grad school would be a load of BS, and I don't want to forget the fact that now I'll be able to swim with my nieces and nephews, or the fact that I'll be able to dance again, or even the fact that I can now have the opportunity to learn new things like yoga, surfing, or even scuba diving (although that last one I need for grad school as well, but that's not the point). I went so far as to basically put my life on hold while enduring this whole thing, and the idea of grad school just helped me get through it all. But that's not it. You see, I also went and started a blog on a website built just for grad students, both present and future, to help me connect with people who know what I'm going through. However, do you know what I'm not willing to do? Give up. I don't plan on giving up any close relationships I've built with my friends and family. I don't plan on having time pass me by while I wait for a letter in the mail deciding my future. And, most of all, I'm not willing to give up dreaming. Something that I've learned is that there is always this line that people invisibly draw around them (almost like that circle in the movie, The Little Princess (one of my favorite movies btw)). This line not only establishes what they're willing to not do, but it helps them push the boundaries of what they thought they could do. It helps people realize that they are stronger than other's give them credit for. You are a part of this group! This circle in the sand is your barrier, but it is not your cage. You get to decide how far you go, and you get to decide what you are not willing to sacrifice. Yes, you might get into grad school, but it would be all for not if you ended up throwing away all the friendships you've made along the way, all the memories that you would have forgotten, and all the warmth you've felt. No, you might not get into grad school, but if you let that one rejection be your cage then you will forever be trapped in a state of "what if" and "not good enough." Neither are a good way to live. 2) "go the distance" Same phrase, different meaning. The first questions your boundaries; this one, however, says, "what boundaries?" It means to push yourself to be the best version of yourself that you can be. It means to trust in your abilities and know that you are not alone. It means having faith even when it may seem hopeless. While some of you would prefer to go with the second one for encouragement and stamina, I'm afraid that you don't get to choose. They are the same phrase for a reason. Both are what make up a great story, but both are what make up an even greater life. It is because you have read until this far that the following phrase will make sense to you: go the distance so that you can go the distance. Know your boundaries so that you can push past them. You've got this! Isn't it about time you started trying? I know that this post is getting pretty long so I'll try to keep this next bit short. This is a copy. I know it may seem weird, but my curiosity got peaked sitting here in the darkness at...12:37am. The post with the "*" by the signature is part of my blog, while the one with the "!" is a forum. It's not that I want to see which does better...after all, it's the same exact post. More like, I want to see which one has the bigger audience/viewers to see which portion of this cafe is more...well, I guess you could say "popular" was the word I was going for... Anyways, let me know which you read, and if you read both, I just have one question: why? I just told you they were the same post... I hope everyone has a good night, a great weekend, and a great week ahead. Be sure to remember the difference and thank you all for reading! Hope to hear from you all soon, K*
Hello guys and gals! While I might be new here, I do know a thing or two about writing/blogging so here we go! Welcome to the abyss. Bet you didn't expect that welcome into darkness but there it is. The abyss is simple: here is where people, most likely people applying for grad school or any college, get to spend their time waiting, pondering over "what if"'s, and wallowing in self misery. This accounts for the entire time period where you, or someone you know, has finished applying to whatever program they are interested and are waiting to hear back on a decision. Me? I've been in the abyss for a month now and still have a while before I'm going to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. What can I say about it? Well, no matter what people try to sell you, it doesn't get any easier no matter what you do. I want you to know, however, that the abyss is different for everyone. In fact, think of it as your own personal educational h**l on earth. One you decided to jump into head first, might I add. The abyss can (and will) bring out the best and worst in you. During this time period, you will get to discover things you probably never even knew about yourself. For example, the fact that you now have anxiety and the fact that it'll probably just get worse as time goes on, as well as the fact that you mentally created scenarios in your head about being far away in the middle of nowhere, finally getting accepted into your dream program at your dream school, and then a fire breathing dragon appears, laughing at you, screeching how you're never going to amount to anything and then throws your pathetic self into the nearest fast food chain. Okay, so that last one may have been just me, but it represents everyone's worst grad school fear...sort of. Don't get me wrong, though. The abyss isn't all bad. I'm sure that you've read somewhere that doing research and getting ahead are great ways to pass the time. It's true! They are, plus anything you can do to get ahead in your field of study is obviously a bonus. However, if you're like me, then there will be that inkling in the back of your mind about what may happen if you aren't accepted and how everything you're doing now is a waste of time. Obviously, this would put a downer on your study habits, unless you have the mental capabilities of a steal trap, to which I say...aren't you lucky (with a slight bitterness in my online voice). Studying and research are obviously great ways to go, AND they might also help you decide what specialty you may want to travel on. Then, you have the option of going on a different route, one that I suggest you think about. The back-up plan. It's this point in the abyss that no one really likes to think about and we all wish would just disappear and never see the light of day again, but no matter what you do and no matter how hard you fight it, you have to think about it. What's worse than thinking about it? Being sure that you can actually follow through when/if the time comes. The BU plan can be almost anything you want it to be, just be sure to plan for a few contingencies that may occur along the way. If your BU plan is to do a different grad school, then try it out the first time and then while you're waiting in another abyss, create a different BU plan on a different path. Whether it is settling for a job you are slightly interested in to following a different dream, make sure it is something achievable. I know it's kind of harsh for me to say this, but it needs to be said. Better you read it for yourself than hear it in person from someone you love...or someone you hate if that's what is going to help you see the method to the madness. You may or may not have an idea on what you want you BU plan to be and that is perfectly fine! Just so long as you are in fact thinking about it. Like I said, the abyss is different for everyone. I just want you to know that you aren't alone in the darkness of despair and waiting. You have friends. You have family. You have me. So, let me hear from you. Your comments, questions, advice. Everything. Even if you just wanna say, "hi." This time frame isn't fun for anyone, but...it does have some slight perks. You just have to figure them out for yourself. Sincerely, K.