Jump to content
Moods

Post here to get your worries off your chest

Recommended Posts

Thanks for this thread! It is indeed an anxious time.

Worries: I'm worried that I might not get into any of the eight schools I applied to.  (Should have applied to more mid-ranked schools!) I'm worried that I spent a lot of my savings on this damn thang. Also if I do get in, being an international applicant, I'm afraid I won't fit in with my peers and worsen my mental health.

Excitement: I'm applying for other research jobs as a back-up, and excited to carry out some more research on ground.. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh boy. Here we go.

Worries: I am a Biochem major with a 3.999repeated sign gpa. I had 1 A- in analytical chemistry and I blame my lab partner, but who cares at this point.  My GRE scores however, were subpar. Quant: 155 Verbal: 157 Writing: 4.0.  That scares me.  I feel like my Letter of Intents were a little rushed but I did submit corrected ones to a few schools that were a little better. I forgot to put clear, concise future goals besides the generic “I want to be a professor and do research” type stuff.  I also applied for only Medical Physics and Applied Physics PhD programs because I came to love biophysics and particle physics rather than strictly biology based biochemistry.  I had 6 months of research experience where I assisted on mitochondria based research with a paper we were writing as a lab (possible publish, but not certain), and noted that all this semester would be spent working on a single author peer review with my PI guiding me that could get published, but not certain on that. I am worried that “planned to be completed before admission” research experience isnt as solid as other undergrads who already had their research  done prior to submission of their applications.  I hope my biochemistry background and gpa will both appeal to medical physics committees, that have mostly physics applicants with little biology backgrounds.

Excitement: I am very pleased with my GPA and am happy that my biology research deals with physics bases concepts, such as the organic cation mitochondria research that consists of altering the mitochondrial membrane potential to force it to work harder to meet energy demands, resulting in less energy stored as fat. While a paper did not become of this research, I hope it helps my case.  Very excited to hear back nonetheless!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Worries: 

I will turn 28 this year, and I do not have any major research experience on my behalf, nor any particular work experience. Since I'm applying for East Asian/History Department (despite not having a major in History, I undertook several History courses with straight As), of course research experience and publications are somewhat less expected than if I were applying for a scientific program. Yet, I feel I'm somehow old and I wish I had more research experience and publications, but in the end my research experience is summed up by my three honors theses. One of my fears amongst others is that admission committee will judge me "lazy" because I have a BA and two MAs, but an overall work experience of 2 years tops. 

And, worst of all, I am an international student. I know I'm a very good student amongst Italian students, but I do not know if compared to countries all over the world.

I've been told from a very gentle professor that the fact I'm a European woman would actually be seen as a "diversity" factor in the eyes of the committee, but of course my Italian citizenship curtails my chances dramatically. Additionally, my LORs are Italian, and albeit the letters are quite solid (at least for European standards, we tend to be more lukewarm than Americans in recommending people), they do not have any connection to US. 

Excitement and pros:

My three theses could be seen as research papers and the time spent writing them research experience  (at least, one POI told me so). All I've always wanted is to enter PhD, and I would be more than excited were I successful. I would also love to explore America and live in a foreign country (I've spent some months in Japan during my undergrad and after my first MA thesis, but this would be completely different). I have found a topic I'm really really passionate about, and I hope my SOP reflects this excitement. My GPA is pretty solid (3.95 undergrad, 3.92 overall grad); my GRE decent (162 V, 157 Q, 4.5 AWA). I have got my writing sample checked by professors (mainly because it's an excerpt from my first MA thesis); I chiseled my SOP so many times that if I see it again I'll probably faint.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just killing time (and a bit anxiety) by posting this but it should be fun when I look back in April.

Worries: No pubs, no summer internship, no scholarships/fellowships that count, didn't put too much effort into SOPs. Applied to 7 programs that rank (much) higher than the one I'm in as an undergrad and asked for funding. In short, I might have overrated my profile.

Excitements: Emailed POIs and they all replied; had informal interviews with 4/7 of them last year. I try not to think about the situation when I get all rejected but if I end up like that, I'll have way more options in life than deciding which offer to accept. I can look for research positions; maybe become a outdoor trip leader in travel agencies; or get photography training and work for National Geographic or Lonely Planet. I'm a fatalist (the reason has something to do with my undergrad admission actually), so whatever that's meant to happen, let it happen. Still, I don't like to be rejected, but getting a PhD then becoming a scientist is just one of ways to enjoy my life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another one that I can't seem to get it off my mind

 

Worries : I didn't submit my transcripts for one of my top choice (yup, definitely my fault to the t..) I just emailed the department, and I am very worried if that will "kick me out of consideration pile", put me back into consideration pile but on the bottom of the list? or business as usual? Few interviews have been extended from these schoool since last Friday, and now I am just anxious and waiting, what if I didn't get in because I have incomplete? Or maybe I'm just not as good a I thought I am? Alot of self doubts creeping in, refreshing emails, youtube on how to deal with rejections and how admission committee works.. I am also worried about my GRE score as well.. :/ 

 

Excitement : My PI told me that one of my papers will be published this semester, and hopefully by my graduation I will have two papers published with me as first author! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Worries: It would be easier to make a list of things I'm not worried about. But here we go. I am worried no one will accept me. I applied to 14 damn schools because I am so scared that I will not get into anywhere. I have no backup plan. I need this opportunity like my life depends on it- literally. I am worried my GRE score will kick me out of the first round of review without even looking into my SoP or anything. I am worried that if I do get into anywhere, that it won't be a good fit for me and my family (COL-wise and school-system wise for my kids). I am worried even if I do get in somewhere, that my request to move with family law per child custody will be denied and I won't be able to attend the school. Also worried because UCLA said I didn't have to mail in my transcripts and forgot to mention anywhere in my app that they granted me this exception- worried they won't know this and will just kick me out of the running. Worried how the f*** I even plan on kicking ass in grad school while I am caring and providing for two children. I honestly just want to breakdown and cry.

Excitement: My son is turning 5 tomorrow and my daughter turns 1 on the 31st. Going to family court tomorrow and should know more then about if I might be granted the ability to move. And I am making Chinese food for dinner. So that's fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Worries: Poor GPA. Portfolio that is definitely hit or miss. For some reason I only applied to 5 schools all in the  ivy league??? What was I thinking? I didn't even have a backup school! Completely rewrote an essay last second after being given advice from a Columbia professor. I've been a 2 cups of coffee a day person for over 5 years but since submitting my anxiety keeps me so jittery that I can't even drink tea. So there's that too.

Excitement and pros: "Unique" portfolio that is definitely hit or miss? I played a special snowflake card. Decent GRE that I was hoping would offset the poor grades. I also clawed my way up into a management position in my field in 2 years to hopefully prove my work ethic since graduating. At least if I don't get in this year I already have a job so it's not like I'll be completely out of options...

Edited by Celesse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

New worries: I am scared if I am knowledgeable and mentally strong enough for grad school. I suffer from anxiety and I am worried it will get worse when I enter into my PhD program. 

New excitement: I’ve had two phone interviews already and I have another one next week. I might have two professor fighting for me at the same school (might create some awkwardness if I go there). I am now in the confirmation process of a fellowship I applied to. I possibly also have a summer internship at a national lab before entering grad school. 

Comparing my worries now to what they were a month ago, it’s crazy how much can happen in such a short amount of time. Keep your heads up! These are the worst months that we will endure during this process, and I hope all of you end up happy with the results in the end! Best of luck! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Worries: I applied to UWaterloo and UToronto without a GRE score. I don't know if my GPA/LORs and SOP will be enough to pull me through. The universities specifically say they don't need it. UToronto says they recommend it 😓. I apologize if this comes across as bragging, but I wanted to ask if anyone else has actually gotten into UToronto without a GRE. To provide a sort of background, my GPA is 3.98/4. Any insight will be greatly appreciated!

Excitement: I legitimately want to learn under the best and UToronto will finally give me that opportunity (if I get it, fingers crossed!). One of my POI's works in Space Robotics and I really really want to work with him! Might end up learning/making something really cool along the process!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Worries: I did my undergrad in a department with a really unhealthy social culture. I was pretty unhappy and felt like those years were a waste. The grad students I met were more often than not pretty miserable too. I think part of the reason for this was because the school was in a more secluded location, without much of a social scene. Most of the grad students who stay on campus after their first year either have families, or are social misfits. I guess I'm concerned more broadly about making sure that I either go into grad school with or meet in grad school a group of strong friends and peers who aren't academics and won't feed into an unhealthy feedback cycle of constant work, stress, depression, and anxiety related to my work. 

I'm also worried whether academia is the right move for me right now. I've been very fortunate to spend a few years after my undergrad degree working outside of academia. I think that my work is really rewarding, and I'm also well-positioned to plot a fulfilling career trajectory in the industry. The graduate programs I applied to have close to nothing to do with my professional work, so I feel like the choice I make will dictate what the rest of my young life will look like.

Excitement: I spent a lot of time in undergrad studying things that don't really "matter." The work I do now has real risks and consequences for real people. Of course not all academic work is or ought to be irrelevant to people's lives, but as bad as this attitude might sound, I also would like to be back in a place where the world won't end if I take a sick day, or don't finish a reading.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Worries: My main worry is my REALLY poor GRE Q score, I studied with a tutor for about a month and a half before the exam, but still managed to screw it up. Im in political science so I was hoping that the Q score wouldn’t matter as much as the other ones, but now I am starting to think that it does and am freaking out over it. It’s obviously too late to retake the test as all of the application dates have passed, and honestly I am not sure I would do any better. During undergrad I did take two different methods courses and performed pretty well in them, I also really enjoyed it. Im really hoping that those courses will help to offset the poor Q score. With that in mind, I am worried that I have let myself become too attached to one of the schools that I applied to, granted I thought it was more of a match score, but now I am afraid that if I get rejected ill be crushed. I am also afraid that I applied to schools way out of my league. I tried to be realistic with where I applied, by looking at the various schools and their average scores. I though that I applied to a good mix of schools, with some reach, some match, and two safety schools. But after looking at the results page on this website and the forums in general I am starting to freak out and am afraid that I won’t get in anywhere! When looking at the stats it seems that everyone has higher GRE scores than I do, higher GPA’s, and publications. Another thing that I am worried about is the viability of one of my schools. I applied to two safety schools, and one of them is ranked in the upper 80’s and I am afraid that if I get in it won’t be worth it to go to that School. They don’t publish a full list of their placements so I am afraid that if I go then after 5+ years I’ll have very little to show for it. The last thing that I am worried about is the stipends given out. Only one program actually says how much money they give to grad students as a stipend, but the other ones are all very vague about it. I am afraid that even if I do get into a school than I won’t be given enough money to live on and be forced to turn it down.

Excitement: I am excited to leave my undergrad program and start somewhere fresh. I’ve never really lived alone and I hope to come next year. I am also really excited because besides that one aforementioned program that I am worried about, all fo the other programs look awesome and I would be absolutely thrilled to go to any of those schools! I have some ideas about papers to write that I am really excited about and I hope to research them while in grad school. I am also excited about living somewhere else, I’ve spent my entire life living in the same state and the idea of leaving it and going somewhere else all by myself is so exciting!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Worries: I don't think I want to get a PhD anymore because of the financial and lifestyle sacrifices I know I'll have to make going from a cushy job to a very low stipend. I've sort of decided even if I manage to get in somewhere I most likely won't attend (with the exception of my very top choice, which also has a reasonable cost of living).

Excitement: My Plan B if I don't go to school is getting me increasingly excited.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Worries: I'm an unconventional applicant. I have a sub 3.0 undergrad GPA but a 4.0 master's (non-thesis) GPA. I also have two years of solid industry experience in my field (I don't have pubs yet but I do have trade secrets🤷‍♀️). I did not apply to any Ivy league schools and only 1 "highly selective" school, but I'm still afraid my atrocious undergrad GPA will prevent me from getting admitted anywhere. There are legitimate circumstances that caused it, which I do briefly mention in my SOPs, but I still don't know if that will cut it. 

Excitement: I'm coauthoring my first paper at my job right now and excited to graduate with my master's in may!

Edited by crackademik

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Today was the deadline to apply to my PhD program for Fall 2019. My application file is complete since Dec. 04, 2018. I'm tired of waiting for my admission decision.

I'd love to get Trudeau scholarship. I spoke to former scholars who all believe that I would be competitive. Yet, I'm afraid I won't get it because I'll be entering my first year as a PhD student next Fall 

I'm afraid my master's thesis is not good enough

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Worries: I'm applying to school after 20 years working in the field that I want to study. I'm worried that I won't fit in since I have a lot of time working on the practical side. I'm worried that I'll either act like a know-it-all, or on the flipside nobody will take me seriously since I basically spent half a career as a political hack (that's what we political consultants lovingly call each other). I can't relocate at the moment, so I only applied to 4 schools. I'm worried that I won't get into any of them. 

Excitement: I love my research subject, and I'm really excited to work with some of the professors in my area who are doing interesting work in areas aligned with my research interests. I've missed being in school and am excited to go back (even though it's been a while).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/23/2018 at 5:27 PM, jeter59 said:

Not sure if this is the place for this, but I've been running into some grad-school related relationship issues? My partner is VERY hesitant to enter into the SDR/LDR (45min - 2 hr away by train) stage of our relationship after a year and a half together. He still has two years left at our undergrad, and just doesn't think that he could be happy without me there all the time. I would still visit as often as possible, but he doesn't think that the "electronic" relationship between visits could work. We've worked out that it's not an issue of love or long-term compatibility - we both agree on this - but nonetheless all I've been able to manage is a reply of "why don't we talk about it again closer to graduation?" I'm still going to try like hell to convince him, and I think there's still a decent chance, but anyone else having these issues?

Same but... you've gotta do you. Don't delay the development of your human capital over it. If it's not a strong enough relationship to survive being 45mins to 2 hours away then it's not a strong relationship in the first place. I'll be 3-10 hours away from my SO... by plane. I would love to be only 45 mins to 2 hours away. He can literally come to see you anytime, even if just for an afternoon. I think he's being selfish/clingy tbh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Worries:  I had a tough time with aspects of my undergrad, but for reasons that are resolved now.  I've been out of school for about 5 years, and am switching fields entirely - from electrical engineering to atmospheric science.  I feel really good about it, but it's still a big scary thing.  And I'm worried about getting in to school at all because even though I have the math and general science skills for my new field, there are still some prerequisite courses I haven't taken yet.  Also I'm going to be moving across the country - but not just me, also my spouse and cats.  And we have to sell a house, I have to stay at my current job as long as I can, etc etc.  It's slowly starting to fall in to place, but the logistics between now and the start of the fall semester are monumental.  

Excitement:  I can't freaking wait for school to start.  I'm reading papers, talking to professors at my top choice school, planning a visit in the spring... and it all feels so positive.  Like I finally found the thing that I want to make a career in.  I have a ton of support from my friends and family, and I feel more certain about school and research and all of that every day.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is such an amazing thread. It is relaxing to see there are others who share similar concerns.

Worries: I am applying quite some time after completing my UG. I have had industry, startup and (present) research experiences. Although I have patents but publications are under review and I have no idea how the PIs are going to look at it. I haven't had any contact with potential professors and am starting to worry if that could be a drawback. I also messed up my stanford application with typos. For the last three days I haven't had the courage to attend my labwork due to anxiety over my interview calls. Not knowing anyone in my radar with a similar background hurt my application which is starting to worry my parents as well.

Excited: I am excited about studying and more importantly research. I always dreamt of doing a phd and if all fits well, this fall could become awesome. I am also looking forward to brushing up some of my UG courses and learning new things before heading off for phd studies. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Worries: Applying for a PhD in which I don't have an undergraduate degree; my (thesis-based) master's (graduating in May 2019) is related but not exactly. No research experience beyond what I've done in my master's work. I've been accepted to present at two conferences this year, but no presentations yet. Basically, when I applied, my CV was a total joke. Undergraduate GPA not great. GRE scores fine, but not outstanding. I just feel extremely under-qualified and applied to super specific programs based on my niche interest of anthropology, and all of them happen to be top schools. I got a rejection and an implied rejection yesterday, a tough blow within the space of a couple hours. When I say UIUC was sending decisions last night, I truly felt I might have a panic attack. That implied rejection, UIUC, was my top program. I had a good feeling about it, good communication with my POI, and one of my LORs is from a friend of this POI. Despite lots of eyes on my personal statements, I worry they were not good enough and that's why I'm getting rejections. Finally, if by miracle I get in somewhere, I'm worried about selling my house, moving, and potentially having my partner of 6+ years not move with me.

Excitement: Honestly, I don't know right now. I'm excited to know with certainty my future, I guess, but I'm in a bad mental state right now with double rejections in one day. I don't feel good about any other programs, after this. I guess I'm excited to complete my thesis and earn my master's, but sad to not begin a program this fall. I'm so enriched by academia and want to stay in.

I know, I sound extremely pessimistic and whiny. I'm just in a bad state and feeling very disappointed in myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Worries: I had an interview last week and thought it went weird. I felt I connected with 3/4 of the interviewers very well, but 1/4 I believed it did not went well. I didn't say anything bad, I just felt that we did not had as good chemistry as the other 3 interviewers. Also, this is my 3rd cycle of applications. 

 

Excitement: 3/4 of my interviews went well. I am excited for that part. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Worries: I might not get a scholarship offer from UGA.  This is my biggest worry because I have already been accepted (and offered 1/2 funding) by my POI.  He is truly a leader in my field of interest and would certainly ensure a productive and fruitful 5 years in Athens for me. I might not get offered full funding from any school because of my lack of publications and pedigree.  I am a non-traditional student and I might appear as an ambitious job-hopper looking to do the least amount of work possible.  I often worry that I come off as too confident though in some of my application materials and it might be considered bluster by some professors.  I'm worried that I might get dinged because of my test scores which are only in the 80th percentile; I definitely could have restudied, retaken, and waited another year to apply with much better scores to much better programs.   My girlfriend (of 5+ years) might not want to come with me.

Excitement: Well, I got accepted and sponsored by the professor whose research is most relevant to my interests (awaiting scholarship approval to secure the second half of funding).  He said that he was not a traditional student and he had to work his way to where he is now, which really resonated with me personally and reaffirmed my inner monologue.  Obviously this was super exciting but now it has resulted in my severe impatience.  I want all of my decisions, good or bad, right flippin' now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/15/2019 at 11:06 AM, crackademik said:

Worries: I'm an unconventional applicant. I have a sub 3.0 undergrad GPA but a 4.0 master's (non-thesis) GPA. I also have two years of solid industry experience in my field (I don't have pubs yet but I do have trade secrets🤷‍♀️). I did not apply to any Ivy league schools and only 1 "highly selective" school, but I'm still afraid my atrocious undergrad GPA will prevent me from getting admitted anywhere. There are legitimate circumstances that caused it, which I do briefly mention in my SOPs, but I still don't know if that will cut it. 

Excitement: I'm coauthoring my first paper at my job right now and excited to graduate with my master's in may!

 

You should be fine. They mostly care about GPA of your last institute. Did you hear from anywhere yet? Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Worries: I am applying for graduate study in a different field from my undergraduation but I have completed the required course work for psychology via distance learning. I have no publications in my field of interest, my GRE was fine i think (153 V, 168 Q, 4.0 AWA), TOEFL (117/120), and I am an international applicant. I haven't heard back from any university, other than Yale, which being Yale is no surprise I received a rejection. Now its almost two months since the results and I am anxiously waiting for the decisions, checking my email 20 times a day. Sometimes I even  wake up in middle of the night hoping I received an admit from my top choices. 

Anxiously checking my emails...

Is it a cause for worry that I have heard nothing from universities?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/19/2019 at 4:36 AM, LOST!!! said:

 

You should be fine. They mostly care about GPA of your last institute. Did you hear from anywhere yet? Good luck!

I haven’t heard back from anywhere yet but I’m not really expecting to get in anywhere to be honest. Everyone on this site seems to be far more qualified than me and even they are getting rejected to places. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, crackademik said:

I haven’t heard back from anywhere yet but I’m not really expecting to get in anywhere to be honest. Everyone on this site seems to be far more qualified than me and even they are getting rejected to places. 

Hi @crackademik - I feel you, but keep your chin up! I say this for two reasons:

(1) the data on other applicants you get on this site is, imho, *far* from being representative of the applicant pool. Posters tend to be on the more qualified/anxious end of the spectrum, and I think that this, while completely understandable, does tend to drive the general vibe.

(2) If you are to trust the stories you read here, and I do think you should, you'll surely see that many "under qualified" applicants get interviews at places they hadn't anticipated. I feel that the selection process is far from predictable, and what works for some might not work for others. On a personal note, after receiving 4-5 rejections in a row a couple of weeks ago, I thought I was done for. I did end up with cool and unexpected interview invites, despite my lackluster qualifications, if I were to compare my record to others I saw rejected. 

Tl;dr - it's not over til it's over 🙂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.