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Sh*t people say when you are applying to grad school


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"RELAX. You'll get in everywhere!" My least favorite line ever

Real convo I had when I first started my PhD (paraphrased): Them: So, what do you do for a living? Me: I'm a PhD student here at the University in Department XYZ. Them: Oh, cool. So, you're g

People keep telling me, "You'll get in somewhere." For some reason that just makes me more frustrated and doesn't comfort me at all. So since I have no time to make a video about this. Plu

My mother: "Colorado? You really want to move to Colorado?" (Gee, Mom, I've only been talking about it for over a decade.)

 

Friend: "Pick Boulder so I can visit you! Charlottesville is boring." (I guess this is a common one!)

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A friend just announced that everyone she knows got into my top choice. Knowing full well that I haven't heard back from them. Welp, now I feel like shit. 

 

You've been accepted!

She knows you.  

Everybody she knows has been accepted.

Thus, you are accepted.

 

QED

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You've been accepted!

She knows you.  

Everybody she knows has been accepted.

Thus, you are accepted.

 

QED

Can't argue with that logic... I guess all that's left to do now is show up for classes in the fall? :P

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Dad - "Don't worry, you'll get in somewhere"

 

Me - "Well, I didn't"

 

Dad - "You should contact where you went to undergrad. They should be helping you get in!"

 

Then I attempt to explain how that isn't their job... (Father doesn't have a B.S. so it's not entirely his fault he doesn't understand how the system works I suppose).

 

Also,

 

Professor writing letter of recommendation - "Why are you applying to that program? I thought you wanted to get a PhD. It would be a big disappointment if you had to pay for school. I'm sure you'll get into a good program." (good thing I didn't listen to him)

 

Parents - "You should apply to this program, they sent some information to the house." - not realizing that ETS sends out my info and tons of pointless crap gets sent to me

 

Scientist at work that hated his PhD program - "People with a B.S. end up making just as much money in the long run." (not really, since he makes triple what I do)

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I've kept my application secret from my parents and all those I know who won't be the most supportive, because getting in will involve me moving across the country. I've told six of my closest friends, here are their responses:

 

1. Boyfriend of six years who will not be making the move with me, " I don't understand why you can't just go back to XX school (the local state school he attended) and get a degree in engineering and stay with me... just kidding" (but he's really not kidding, and my degrees are in Political Science and French).

 

2. Best friend since kindergarten, "I think that will be so good for you, but what about boyfriend of six years?"

 

3. Best friend from college whose city I'll be moving to, "I can't wait for you to get in!!! I know it'll happen! Are you going to stay with boyfriend of six years?"

 

4. Sister in vet school, "You're so smart, I know you can do it. F*ck whoever tells you differently."

 

5. Very supportive Aunt, "Thank God. This is what you've always wanted to do. Just get out and do it. Even if you don't get in, you need to make yourself happy."

 

6. Friend who has applied multiple places and hasn't gotten in anywhere, "If you don't get in, we can just pretend that you didn't apply."

 

Taking it all in stride. 

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"Counselling Psychology?...What do you do with that?....Do you like talk to people who are crazy?"

 

"Oh..psychology...what am I thinking right now?"

 

Those are the two that get on my nerves the most. No seriously.....

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 "Oh, you want to go to grad school. What for?" "Archaeology, eh? So whats your favorite dinosaur?"

 

I. Do. Not. Study. Dinosaurs.

 

but in all honesty, the stock "don't worry, you'll get in somewhere" is the worst. It just makes it sound so trivial and the presumptive nature of the statement makes the prospect of not getting in feel even worse.

 

Sigh, april 15th is still so far away....

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Like gtownhopeful, I told very few people, and I am so glad now. I have one person who asks every single time I talk to her. She is currently working on her phd and always tells me I will get in. As a matter of fact, she asks, "Have you been accepted yet?" She just knows I will be accepted at her program and can't wait for me to be there too. I hope I don't have to explain that I got rejected. :(

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I have been a social worker for 4 years now and am now going to do a PhD in social welfare. every time i tell someone what I do they immediately first talk about all the volunteer work they do or the money they donate (like i care) and then are like "is this something you study? is it a discipline? you actually can do a phd in something like this?" and then the inevitable-people will list a range of social issues that I should take up instead of my phd- blatantly middle class- i often just say i do research- so much easier.

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I read about the first 4 pages but I have to be productive today so I am going to cut to the chase and post my own. 

 

Second application season. 

 

"Why do you want to go to graduate school?"

 

"Just enjoy it while you can before you begin graduate school"

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Every single person I know: 

 

"So, have you made a decision yet? Did you choose? Have you made a decision? Tell me tell me TELL ME NOW"

 

Including my parents, every single phone call. I've told them I will let them know when I have. They seem to think I have forgotten that I made this promise every single time we speak, though. I am bored stiff of people asking, and it gets annoying after a while! Particularly when they kept asking before I'd even visited the places...

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* Why would you want to go to learn about Latin America to the US?

 

Totally condescending. 

 

* Aren't you afraid of being away from home so much time?

 

er... No. Otherwise I wouldn't have applied.

 

* Oh, you are going to marry an American?

 

Emm... Ok. Whatever. 

 

* And they pay you to go? 

 

Yes, that's the point.

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Since it was my first round I made quite a few mistakes. For those who don't know, an MFA for any visual artist is not a light decision, most spend anywhere from 2 to 10 years between their BFA and MFA, if at all, to develop their ideas, work, mature as a person, etc. I am probably the .1% of art students who was serious about going on to graduate study, not just as a deflection of finishing undergrad pressure. I had taken a leave of absence during my BFA and came back with direction and the notion on the horizon.

 

Pretty much the entire faculty in the art building knew my plans, and in a near unanimous voice they asked "why don't you wait at least a year?" That was pretty much all I got for the entire first senior semester when I was scoping out who could write me letters, as well as from professors who's advice/word I've grown to trust. When I finally got news from UCLA, I contacted my recommendation professors and hastily posted on facebook, and the new unanimous voice was "congratulations" even though my official acceptance hadn't processed yet. It felt like going to a shooting range with a slingshot and everyone just had skeptical eyes until a little luck and determination proved them otherwise.

 

I think long story short, try to stay discreet as much as possible. The hysterical part of this long ordeal was my parents simply saying "give it a shot and see how it goes" the whole way through till I finally got good news. Now they just nag logistics at me like it was a matter of fact that programs with <10% acceptance rates were going to choose a 23 yr old without a completed degree when my competition was 28 yr olds with established practices and CV's that make mine look like a one liner.

Edited by kwonberry
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