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scotty2

MANY CAMPUS VISITS!! TERRIFIED OF ILLNESS/VIRUS

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hi everyone. i’m going a little mad. last night i was up until 4am worrying abt coronavirus etc. the news cycle is jst frankly nightmarish and i’ve been feeling like this would reach a horrifying scale for like a month. which is partially my anxiety and partially just logical/statistical common sense. anyway i got in everywhere basically and am going to 6 unis/sets of visiting days over the next month. which is mad bt it’s cos i need to consider ALL of them srsly. but i can’t even sit back and enjoy cos i’m so anxious about the travel. i truly jst want to cancel all of it and bunker in my apartment with gallons of water and cans of beans and just chose somewhere randomly but also i can’t cos it’s rly, rly important to me to visit all of them and make an informed decision. how are other ppl feeling and have i actually fallen off my horse or what. it can’t jst be me??? or??????? thnk you so much

Edited by scotty2

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The news cycle is designed to induce, then monetize, feelings of anxiety. Your fears about the coronavirus are likely at least partially a result of your being emotionally manipulated for profit. If you're not traveling to China or Iran, the chances of your contracting the disease are extremely small. (The coronavirus has already reached my university, and nobody seems to care.)

Even if you were to contract the coronavirus, there is an 81% chance that you would experience mild symptoms and then recover. The virus almost certainly won't kill you unless you're 80 years old or older, which I assume is not the case. If you are young and relatively healthy, and you have access to sufficient hydration, medical care, etc., you would likely be fine even if you contracted the disease. The virus hasn't killed anyone in the U.S., and there is likely no reason to believe that you would be the first. If you're worried, you should take care to wash your hands with soap and hot water reasonably frequently. 

Right now, the coronavirus does not pose a serious threat to your health and long-term well-being. I imagine that the anxiety you're feeling about the coronavirus might have multiple causes. I hope you're able to address every possible cause of anxiety: are you well-rested? Are you eating enough? Is stress from school or work contributing to these feelings? If you have a prescription for anxiety-managing medication, are you taking it?

You're lucky to have the opportunity to go on these visits, and I hope that worries about this disease, which are probably not justified, don't ruin your ability to have a good time and to make an informed choice about graduate school. In three or four years, you'll almost certainly have forgotten about the coronavirus, but you'll still be in whichever program you choose.

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What digital_lime said. It has a very low chance of killing you, less so than the flu. It is a problem, don't get me wrong, but it's a problem for places that don't have the medical infrastructure to manage it, which the US (for all of our crazy issues) does. Do you have traveler's insurance, or the UK equivalent? Not sure how it works there- just (for the sake of being extra careful) make sure you'd have no problems navigating the healthcare system here if you needed to see someone. 

I'm planning on traveling all summer and honestly I'm going to get traveler's insurance, make sure I'm informed and aware, and not worry beyond that. 

Edited by merry night wanderer

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29 minutes ago, scotty2 said:

hi everyone. i’m going a little mad. last night i was up until 4am worrying abt coronavirus etc. the news cycle is jst frankly nightmarish and i’ve been feeling like this would reach a horrifying scale for like a month. which is partially my anxiety and partially just logical/statistical common sense. anyway i got in everywhere basically and am going to 6 unis/sets of visiting days over the next month. which is mad bt it’s cos i need to consider ALL of them srsly. but i can’t even sit back and enjoy cos i’m so anxious about the travel. i truly jst want to cancel all of it and bunker in my apartment with gallons of water and cans of beans and just chose somewhere randomly but also i can’t cos it’s rly, rly important to me to visit all of them and make an informed decision. how are other ppl feeling and have i actually fallen off my horse or what. it can’t jst be me??? or??????? thnk you so much

The news about COVID-19 is so scary, and many people are specifically trying to make it sound scarier because half of all news is just a drama machine, so I completely understand why you're feeling anxious! I'm writing this with the assumption that your visits are US and clustered mainly in the northeast US:

You'll be fine. You're in more danger of getting the flu or a common cold (most of which are caused by other coronaviruses! like yeah SARS is a coronavirus but so is "that headcold I had for a couple days") than COVID-19. If you've got regular access to a doc,* ask them for some general illness-prevention advice while traveling, which will probably be along the lines of "take some vitamin C, drink a lot of water, try to keep as good a sleep schedule as you can, carry hand sanitizer, and wash your hands often." 

Just to go through the very outlier cases, in case that helps with the anxiety, as it helps me to think about "what's the worst that could happen" sometimes: The most likely "worst case" scenario here is that you have to self-quarantine when you get home because a couple of people you never met who were 20 miles away from you at the closest tested positive. And it's not even terribly likely! A much less likely worst case scenario would be that you would be quarantined in the city of your visit. Even if you somehow got the virus, it's really only dangerous for middle-aged and elderly people with health risks like a history of smoking or a prior lung condition. Honestly, the biggest thing to worry about to me would be financial. Perhaps consider looking into travel insurance or whether your health insurance will cover you if you are placed under observation. But even this, I have to emphasize, really isn't very likely to happen.

It sounds to me like this is a general anxiety latching onto coronavirus because that's where people are steering it. Don't let that happen. Breathe, process the anxiety as best you can, and if you're going to worry, try to worry about something other than COVID-19. 

* In the US, think a televisit w/ doc or nurse hotline via private insurance. In the UK, from what I remember after spending nine months there as a student, the NHS operates a nurse hotline that works pretty well for this kind of thing. If you're a current student in either place, the campus health center/college nurse is a good one too. 

Source: I've been closely following coverage from the New York Times and NPR in the US, because illness narratives are of academic interest to me and idk I really liked Contagion

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I too retract this (and a small portion of my general dislike for Twitter news) lol

Hope you're holding up scotty2, and getting the info you need to make a good decision. 

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never been sadder to have correctly anticipated something...

everyone--STAY inside, order delivery frm ur favorite local restaurant (they r rly struggling atm but are likely still open for delivery and/or curbside takeout), tip 20%, and wash your hands

sending love!!

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Wow--my hot take on this was bombastically, unbelievably shitty! Oops! I'm going to thoroughly wash my feet with hot water and soap for at least 20 seconds before inserting them into my mouth. Stay safe, everyone, especially those who work in retail/other jobs that aren't able to be done remotely.

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3 hours ago, digital_lime said:

especially those who work in retail/other jobs that aren't able to be done remotely

I think we've entered the stage of this where those of us in retail are just being laid off. That's how it's going in the bookstore world, at least--just got my "this is a hard email to send" message today, as did lots of booksellers at other stores. Here comes the next recession (but that's optimistic: economic depression, I'd say)

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, kolyagogolova said:

I think we've entered the stage of this where those of us in retail are just being laid off. That's how it's going in the bookstore world, at least--just got my "this is a hard email to send" message today, as did lots of booksellers at other stores. Here comes the next recession (but that's optimistic: economic depression, I'd say)

Yesterday, I also got laid off from my job due to the 'Rona effing up profits. Guess now is as good a time as any to heavily dive into binge-reading science fiction novels, binge-watching shows, and sprinkle some academic reading in there.

Edited by Cryss

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I'm just going to be so disappointed if the fall semester is online. I love the atmosphere of a live literature classroom... perceptive people with their different perspectives, personality, and life experiences, all sharing thoughts over someone's life's work. I just get so much out of it - seriously, it feels like how religious folks describe church - and I've been looking forward to it so, so much. 

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1 hour ago, merry night wanderer said:

I'm just going to be so disappointed if the fall semester is online. I love the atmosphere of a live literature classroom... perceptive people with their different perspectives, personality, and life experiences, all sharing thoughts over someone's life's work. I just get so much out of it - seriously, it feels like how religious folks describe church - and I've been looking forward to it so, so much. 

Fully agree. There is a stereotypical academic environment that I've had my heart set on since I graduated high school 16 years ago, and the closer I get the more that ideal picture disintegrates. There are very little tenure jobs, many profs adjunct and don't have an office, many teach online, etc. While I understand how privileged I am to be at this point, I'm bummed at the thought of there being an asterisk attached to this next chapter. I hate to pout and throw a first-world tantrum, but I'm over the road being so difficult when it was such a pain in the ass to even get to this point. I am/was really looking forward to being in the classroom and enjoying this for a little while before the reality of the job market hit. 

I know it's fine and I'll enjoy the experience, it's just annoying. 

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All three of my campus visits were cancelled, with two moved online to Zoom. Already had the first one, and while it was helpful, it did feel a bit in the "public relations" vein, where no one was going to say anything perfectly candid. Several phone calls and Skypes with students and faculty at different schools -- again, helpful, but no replacement for the impressionistic "feel" of an in-person visit. How are you all going about vetting your schools? I'm thinking about how long 5 to 6 years in a place can be and getting nervous about making my decision from afar.

Also, grad students at one of my schools are currently striking! Another of the schools has a large endowment and is probably way more stable, but more conservative (not my advisor, but probably the department and definitely the school). Given the economic fallout that is coming, wondering whether I should choose the private university by default. Any thoughts are appreciated! 

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On 3/27/2020 at 9:51 PM, Surreal Estate said:

All three of my campus visits were cancelled, with two moved online to Zoom. Already had the first one, and while it was helpful, it did feel a bit in the "public relations" vein, where no one was going to say anything perfectly candid. Several phone calls and Skypes with students and faculty at different schools -- again, helpful, but no replacement for the impressionistic "feel" of an in-person visit. How are you all going about vetting your schools? I'm thinking about how long 5 to 6 years in a place can be and getting nervous about making my decision from afar.

Also, grad students at one of my schools are currently striking! Another of the schools has a large endowment and is probably way more stable, but more conservative (not my advisor, but probably the department and definitely the school). Given the economic fallout that is coming, wondering whether I should choose the private university by default. Any thoughts are appreciated! 

I'm in a similar situation. Both of my visits were moved to Zoom formats rather last-minute. Virtual visits pale in comparison to in-person visits, but I'm trying to work with what I can. Thankfully, one program is organizing a virtual social event where accepted students get the chance to mingle with potential cohort members and graduate students. Other than that, I've tried to glean the "vibe" of each place through my remote conversations. A lot of it relies on how honest graduate students have been with me; they haven't held back in terms of relating the benefits and detriments of their respective programs and that input has been really useful for me.

I'm also especially worried about being unable to see the city I'm going to live in for the next 5ish years. Again, I've asked graduate students about their experiences, especially those who come from my area. Other than that, I've watched many a virtual tour of cities and campuses on YouTube, but nothing can replace the in-person visit in this respect. The reality is a blind choice for many of us.

Re: the strike... I think it's crucial to pay attention to how the administration at this particular school is handling negotiations with current students. Their behavior now tells you how they'll treat you if you choose to go there. I personally withdrew my name from the waitlist at UC Davis because the current situation within the UC system confirms what I've heard about their treatment of students. (For context, I did my undergrad at a UC.) It may not be a dealbreaker for you, but I think you should include your program's behavior in your evaluation of them. Best of luck to you in your decision-making process!

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7 hours ago, tinymica said:

I'm in a similar situation. Both of my visits were moved to Zoom formats rather last-minute. Virtual visits pale in comparison to in-person visits, but I'm trying to work with what I can. Thankfully, one program is organizing a virtual social event where accepted students get the chance to mingle with potential cohort members and graduate students.

That's amazing! Great of them to do that. My schools have organized Zoom "meetings" but it's all been very polished and public relations-y. I have one on Wednesday that is hosted by current students, with no faculty present, so perhaps that will be a little looser. 

You bring up a lot of great suggestions, so thank you. I have been doing thorough rounds of YouTube in the past couple of days. Lots of aerial videos of campuses -- that's a funny hobby but I'm glad there are people nerding out on that! Also kinda surprised at how many YouTube personalities build their brands around visiting US colleges! 

The striking school is looking like a bad bet -- I appreciate your thoughts on that. I had a very telling convo with their grad admin today, in the vein of "oops did I say that out loud?" Thanks again for your response and I wish you the best in making your decision!

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