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Regrets about decision


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Hi all,

I'm not really sure how to frame this, because it's perhaps not the most logical situation I've ever been in. I had the decision between an Ivy - that happens to be one of the top-ranked programs in my field of interest - and one of the UC schools - which, although respectable, is more of a second-tier school in my subject. I ultimately decided to go to the UC school, based on the fact taht PI there is really famous within my field (and does a pretty good job of student placement), while the PI at the Ivy was brand-new. I clicked well with both of them, so that wasn't too much of a concern. 

That being said, I'm really starting to regret my decision - and have, progressively, over the course of two months. I gave up quite a bit of money to attend the UC school (on the order of $6k/yr), which isn't a major deal a priori. That being said, I'm really concerned about the loss of prestige - and moreso than that, that going to the UC school is really going to limit my future career options in terms of post-doc/faculty positions. I suppose I'm envisioning a situation where the name "Yale" would open up a lot more doors than the name "UC-Irvine", and if I had picked the former I would have been in a much better spot looking forward  - for fellowships, for postdocs, for faculty positions. I'm not sure how irrational any of this is.

I don't think this is simple buyer's remorse: I've been feeling this way for months, and usually remorse for me goes away in the span of a week or so. This issue is sending me into a spiralling depression. I know that there's a way out, at some level: I'm deferring at the UC school for a year to take a Fulbright, so there would be the option of simply withdrawing from the school and starting the application process again - but that has the possibility of burning some bridges that I simply don't want to burn.

I guess in short, this all comes down to this - I picked a middling school instead of a top-tier school because of the relative fame of the PI. That being said, I'm now starting to have serious regrets about this whole state of affairs, and really wished that I had just picked the top-tier school to begin with. I don't know what, if anything, can be done - and I'm super frustrated that I put myself in this position.

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