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murpstud

Acceptance Depression?

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Okay, so here I am, accepted into every school that I applied to. Great? Yes. Keep in mind that I had huge doubts that I'd get in anywhere with my 3.11 and my 1060 GRE. For this reason, I never truly had a #1. Got into every program, but no funding (as of yet). Got into one in-state school. All things being equal, I will choose the in-state for the tuition and convenience. But for some reason, I'm feeling a little anxious/depressed. Why? Perhaps its because I have to turn down offers, offers that I spent vast amounts of money on to get in. I know some of you will be like, "boo hoo", I didn't get in anywhere. I understand, and I'm sorry for that. I just feel weird. When I got my first acceptance, I was like "woo hoo...I'm going to grad school". Got my second, I'm like "yay, an alternative". Then I figured the last two I'd get in, and I did. Will I feel happier when I decline the others and choose my one? Is this abnormal? I mean, my prefered choice is out of state that would cost me $40,000 for the whole thing. And no, their residency requires 12 months of NON EDUCATION PURPOSES. So I wouldn't get residency after one year. Is is bad to choose based on cost. I mean my in-state isn't a bad program by any means. Also, is it bad to ask what your ranking is for funding? Any advice? Comments?

Edited by murpstud

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Only you know your feelings, but for me anyway, it seems that with all the work and time that went into applying, we're waiting a long time and put a ton of expectation behind the decision when it arrives. But excitement about getting accepted will naturally diminish a bit over time, as the realities of making a life changing decision and financial puzzle set in. However, I think once that decision is made, and a course plotted for money and your first courses, there will be some relief, and then you can go back to getting excited - about the first day of class! :)

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When I saw the title of this thread, I was like "Acceptance Depression? Someone is describing my life!"

Seriously, it's been a really bizarre experience. For the two or three hours after each acceptance, I was thrilled. Ecstatic. Just over the moon to have been accepted somewhere (and I had GPA concerns similar to yours). But I can't deny that over this week, I've entered a really deep funk. I don't want to do anything and it's been a real struggle to get out of bed in the morning.

What I think has happened is this: I was very anxious during the application process but once I'd sent off my applications - while there was worrying - it was idle worrying. It was worrying for the sake of doing something. But ultimately while waiting, there was nothing I could do wrong really. The ball was entirely out of my court.

Now, I have three offers out there and the ball is entirely in my court. I have to make a choice in the next week. And the anxiety of potentially making the wrong choice plus all the stressful realities of relocating are hitting me all at once. And I think I'm sort of yearning for the lack of agency I had previously because, as many existentialists would observe, it's far more comfortable to be powerless than it is to be empowered.

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I agree with the above poster. I think we've all put a lot of heart, money, time and energy into our apps and in some ways anticipation is better than reaching the goal. I think after devoting so much of your life just on applying and getting in it makes sense that this time is over and you are transitioning. You'll be leaving a part of you behind (the hopeful, anxious waiting part) and although it's stressful to wait you are still leaving it behind and that's always sad. I think in a way it's kind like post-partum depression.

I do think it makes sense you are thinking about money. debt isn't fun. If the in-state schools is good and it's cheap then why bother going into debt at an equivalent school elsewhere for now.

I also don't think it hurts to ask what your ranking in funding is. I'm not sure if there is a ranking or they will tell you but it is an investment so I'd try to get as much info as possible.

You'll be happy soon enough. Have a fun ride and congrats.

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Absolutely. In many ways it is so much better to dream of the possibilities ave the very tangible moment of external validation for your career goals/dreams rather than make choices with real consequences.

I keep asking questions about various programs hoping one or the other will have some horrible deal-breaking feature that will allow me to unequivocally rule them out. Like maybe an ancient spider that dwells under the department building and feasts upon the blood of those foolish enough to tarry too long in the halls. That's probably not going to happen though.

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I keep asking questions about various programs hoping one or the other will have some horrible deal-breaking feature that will allow me to unequivocally rule them out. Like maybe an ancient spider that dwells under the department building and feasts upon the blood of those foolish enough to tarry too long in the halls. That's probably not going to happen though.

Haha, love it!

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Yeah, it happened to me too.

After about a year of craziness - studying and taking the GRE and TOEFL, chasing LOR writers, continually revising my SOP and writing sample ... then the awful waiting period during which I used to refresh my email every other minute (never mind that it was the middle of the night in the US and there was no reason to expect any contact), followed by interviews, email exchanges with professors and campus visits --- came the very anticlimactic moment of accepting an offer and declining the rest. It's like.. OK, so now what? It turns out that there's nothing to do after acceptance, except to wait for the time to pass. I had virtually no contact with my department between April and August, practically until orientation started.. It's a big change from constantly waiting for news, and no less frustrating than waiting for a new email to reach my inbox ::sighs::.

I think it's very reasonable to choose based on factors that are not purely academic. Funding is a big issue, as is location (for some people, at least -- including me). If you can get a good education without going into debt, I think that's a good choice, even at the cost of going to a less prestigious school. And yes, I think it's entirely OK to ask the department what are your chances of getting funding and when you will know. Good luck!

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Yes! A week ago I would never have believed that his existed. And yes, admittedly I would rather be facing this depression than the despair that I personally would have felt had I not been accepted anywhere, despite the fact that I did not expect to be accepted anywhere. When I did get an acceptance, I was thrilled. However, when I realized I would most likely have to make a very difficult decision, all that excitement drained away into a stress that I haven't felt since the night before submitting each of my applications. I think in my case I am terrified of making the "wrong" decisions and having regrets. I have lived my life with very, very few regrets, but somehow this decision feels like it could be full of them and it scares me. A friend pointed out last night that there "is no wrong decision" because I have great options. I know he's most likely right, but I can't shake the fear that I'm going to mess up. And then along come the doubts, and I think, "people in grad school are really smart - can I really be successful in this endeavor?"

Edited by Lantern

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I'm half hoping I get rejected at my remaining few MA programs so that the decision will be made for me, and I can just go to the one I've been accepted at without hesitation or second thoughts. But, if you feel like acceptances are wasted just because you don't take them, just keep in mind how much of a compliment it is to be given one. If you were accepted by your top choice but rejected everywhere else, that would be much more depressing, as rejections are a big blow to the ego. So, those unused acceptances still have SOME purpose - stoking the ego.

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Yes! A week ago I would never have believed that his existed. And yes, admittedly I would rather be facing this depression than the despair that I personally would have felt had I not been accepted anywhere, despite the fact that I did not expect to be accepted anywhere. When I did get an acceptance, I was thrilled. However, when I realized I would most likely have to make a very difficult decision, all that excitement drained away into a stress that I haven't felt since the night before submitting each of my applications. I think in my case I am terrified of making the "wrong" decisions and having regrets. I have lived my life with very, very few regrets, but somehow this decision feels like it could be full of them and it scares me. A friend pointed out last night that there "is no wrong decision" because I have great options. I know he's most likely right, but I can't shake the fear that I'm going to mess up.

If it makes you feel any better, looking back on my decision on where to do my undergrad, and with the benefit of hindsight and talking to alumni, if I knew then what I knew now, I'd probably pick a different school, if I were just looking at a list of pro vs. con for those schools. That doesn't mean my life now is crap, quite the opposite. But I guess the point is, yes it's an important decision and needs full consideration, but each program you picked out to apply to has at least some elements of what you want, you picked them after all. And while choosing one program over another will most certainly be a different experience, I think it's how we make something of that experience, regardless of where it is, that will matter a lot more than A vs. B when you look back degree in hand. IMO anyway.

And then along come the doubts, and I think, "people in grad school are really smart - can I really be successful in this endeavor?"

Well apparently some ad comms think so! :)

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Yea, I know what you mean. I had to transfer schools my undergrad. I have 3 options so far, and I'm terrified of making the wrong choice again even though I'm more aware of what I need/want in a school than I was when I was 18.

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Actually, there has been a ton of research done on choice, decision-making, anxiety and regret, and what you are experiencing has been well-documented. For those of you not in the field, pick up The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz (a prof at Swarthmore, I think). It's a trade book (New York Times best seller), supported by a lot of research, that talks about how to be happy when faced with what feels like too much choice. Good luck!

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I've been feeling this as well. It's such a major decision, especially when there's 2 people involved... (international students at that)

I thought I was crazy. Now I realize I'm not! Thanks for posting this! :)

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I understand acceptance depression completely. I still haven't heard back about funding from the school I've been accepted to, and it's eating me up inside as I think ahead to how I'd survive if they gave me no money at all, and what that would say about me as a student, considering how well the faculty know me. Then, of course, there's the anxiety of wondering if I can take living in the Land of Winter any longer, of worrying if I could be a competent grad student while surrounded by my undergraduate friends, who don't understand how much work it takes, and of trying to figure out, would my teachers be disappointed in me if I ended up turning them down?

I think I'm just tired of drama. And reality.

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Ah yes... I feel this way too!

I think I built myself up to imagine these feelings I would have as soon as I got that acceptance letter (even since I got rejected across the board last year), and now even though I'm incredibly happy, it doesn't begin to compare to what I imagined I'd feel like.

Maybe its because now I have to work out the logistics of moving, diagnostic calc and stat tests, actually incorporate my new husband into my decision (especially hard since he wasn't there the entire time I busted my butt through undergrad to get these accepts), and the lack of funding for my dream school.

Also, maybe I'm just scared. I always thought that getting accepted was reaching this amazing milestone, where I'd feel so much better about myself as a person because I accomplished my goal. Although I do feel amazing about accomplishing it, I didn't anticipate that I'd be worried about actually getting THROUGH grad school, that it would actually be HARD! Stupid, I know.

Anyway, there's my two cents! I'm glad you posted this, definitely is true!tongue.gif

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I think my acceptance depression is forming quickly into impostor syndrome. Why are these schools giving me so much money?! It's difficult to complain about, but it's mixed in with really weird feelings of: I'm finally on my way to becoming a scientist, I'm being told I'm a fantastic student not by my advisors or family, and I'll be making money instead of going further into debt. These are all awesome and extremely overbearing.

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Oh man, this is me basically. I was so accepted with my first acceptance. Then i turned into "Should I wait as long as possible to respond?" Then it came to the point where I didn't have anymore time and decided to accept the offer. That turned into "Am I making the right choice?" and moved to "Am I alright closing the book on these other schools since they haven't gotten back to me yet?" Now I'm at "Can I survive grad school and be an adult?"

I feel like the questions won't end for awhile. But I try my best to remind myself of the realities - I got into a good program in a city that I love, the prospects honestly weren't looking so great at the other schools, and I'm more prepared for this than I think I am.

Just try to stay positive, and congrats! :lol:

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Yes! A week ago I would never have believed that his existed. And yes, admittedly I would rather be facing this depression than the despair that I personally would have felt had I not been accepted anywhere, despite the fact that I did not expect to be accepted anywhere. When I did get an acceptance, I was thrilled. However, when I realized I would most likely have to make a very difficult decision, all that excitement drained away into a stress that I haven't felt since the night before submitting each of my applications. I think in my case I am terrified of making the "wrong" decisions and having regrets. I have lived my life with very, very few regrets, but somehow this decision feels like it could be full of them and it scares me. A friend pointed out last night that there "is no wrong decision" because I have great options. I know he's most likely right, but I can't shake the fear that I'm going to mess up. And then along come the doubts, and I think, "people in grad school are really smart - can I really be successful in this endeavor?"

I feel like you've described me utterly. I know I've got some great options (and feel appropriately blessed), but I really, really don't want to be 2 years into my PhD, wishing I'd made a different choice. :(

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I keep asking questions about various programs hoping one or the other will have some horrible deal-breaking feature that will allow me to unequivocally rule them out. Like maybe an ancient spider that dwells under the department building and feasts upon the blood of those foolish enough to tarry too long in the halls. That's probably not going to happen though.

That would definitely be a dealbreaker for me.

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What's in store for me in the direction I don't take?

~Jack Kerouac

To add to my earlier post, I always think of this quote in circumstances like this where I'm fearful of regret and missed opportunity. Sometimes it's very difficult for me to deal with the fact that I'll never know what would have happened, had I made a different choice.

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Don't have much else to add to this except to say that I've been feeling almost the same way. But it's not so much straight depression because everything I've heard back so far has been an acceptance. More of a bipolar thing!

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I totally have "acceptance depression". Still exhilarated and completely grateful, but torn between my two top schools. I only applied to these two, after being frequently advised to apply to more. Never expected I'd be in a position where I have to choose.

I can imagine great experiences at either school. But they also have big differences I must consider.

Will have to wait to see what Columbia's financial aid offer is. Berkeley's is hard to resist.

I wish I could go to both.

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I am so glad I am not alone in feeling this way! I am about 99.5% positive I know which of the three schools I want to go to, but I fell in love with each school for different reasons when I visited and just the idea of having to choose one and close the potential doors at the others is terrifying. But I gave myself a deadline that after I return from a conference next week (where all 3 of those schools have already started asking me to join them for various activities while there) that I will just suck it up and accept the offer that I have been leaning towards since I left their interview weekend. It kind of helps right now that my POI at the school I am most likely going to has been sending me very nice and encouraging emails about my first solo paper presentation, so it helps to know that environment is already nurturing :).

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I feel the same way, but not so much about the choices but what happens after I commit to one. I feel worse knowing I'm going to grad school than just waiting, and I've been really depressed and anxious lately. What if the program is not right for me after all? Will I be able to get a job afterwards? What if I dislike the city I'm moving to? What if my advisor hates me? What if I really am an Impostor and flunk out??? I feel terrible, even though I know this is a good opportunity and there are others who would kill be in my position... :(

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