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Does anyone not feel 100% about their final decision?

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I'm asking this because when I started applying for programs, I was excited and jubilant. I didn't know what my future held but knew that when I got my opportunity, that I would feel 100% about it, despite the downfall of the PhD job market. So I received an amazing offer from a school that really wants me. People keep telling me that I cannot turn this one down. It isn't a top tier school but it really isn't that far behind - plus when faculty want you, and are practically throwing money at you, really, what is there to lose?

For some reason, I still don't feel 100% about going here. It feels like cold feet before a wedding. You love that person so much but then feel that your life is going to completely go in a direction that you don't want it to...or you just dont know what the future holds.

That is me right now. Anyone feeling this? Cold feet? Even though you have a good admit?

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Someone over in the lit/rhet/comp forum pointed out that there is a bit of a let down phase after you accept (or decide which offer to accept) because one school, no matter how amazing it is, can never be as exciting as all of the possible schools at once. Hopefully it will pass and you will enter into a contented and mutually beneficial relationship soon :P

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Cold feet over here too. Being rejected by my top choice last week is still stinging, and it was a surprise rejection (as in, they led me to believe I was a shoo-in even after the interview). I understand the feeling. I still went ahead and accepted the offer I got, and I believe I will be very successful and happy there. But it doesn't feel 100% right.

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I know what you mean, i'm in a dead end/terrible job and the fact that i got 3 acceptances, 2 waitlists, only 1 rejection and waiting on more made me feel good until i realized the once you're in a program that's all you are, it's hard work and commitment and i was offered no funding so the idea of being in debt is very scary!

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I totally agree...I keep thinking I should be more excited but I feel really overwhelmed and drained. I just want to be so sure I am making the right decision but no one's crystal ball is working this week :(

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Yeah, I have a feeling this is totally normal.

I'm pretty stressed about whether I'm making the right choice--so much so that I won't allow myself to think of one option more than another, as if unfairly giving one option more time will bias me. Between that and the compulsive checking of e-mails, survey results, and application websites, I may have developed OCD.

That being said, I think I'm in the process of breaking through grad-school-induced madness, and hopefully, sanity will be on the other side.

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I've been dealing with similar feelings. The program I picked is a vastly better fit than the others I received offers from, but now that I've decided I'm going through a bit of a oh no, this is going to be some seriously difficult stuff phase. I think that through reading the program requirements in detail I've started to see all the possible ways I could fail- classes, comps, not finding a dissertation adviser, not finishing the dissertation, not publishing enough, not standing out in the field, becoming one of a hoard of unemployed Ph.Ds, and oh shit, I'll be nearly thirty when I graduate (which isn't old.. it's really not... but as a young twenty something the thought of being thirty is a little overwhelming.)

I think it holds true that people who are the best at something (which, if you're going to graduate school, it's you!) are often the most insecure/lacking in confidence.

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I haven't made a final decision, but I am pretty sure where I am going. The weird thing is, my dream program of several years has slowly not become my dream program these past several months. I got accepted there, and I was thrilled. However, the more I was doing research on my top two (I was lucky to be accepted to both), I realized my second choice was a much better fit for me in pretty much every way. I am trying to get over the fact that my dream school is not actually the best school for me. Has anyone ever dealt with this? I am both happy and sad about it.

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No. Perhaps in the non-STEM based programs this is prevelant, but I am pretty confident about my choice.

LOL Way to be supportive there... my master's program leads to licensure and has a very high job placement rate but I am still uneasy. Wish I had your confidence!

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I know what you mean, i'm in a dead end/terrible job and the fact that i got 3 acceptances, 2 waitlists, only 1 rejection and waiting on more made me feel good until i realized the once you're in a program that's all you are, it's hard work and commitment and i was offered no funding so the idea of being in debt is very scary!

same boat. unhappy at work, but obviously going to stick it out. got in to 4/5 schools (haven't heard from #5) but haven't heard anything positive about funding, and generally VERY confused right now about what the next step should be.

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I am just nervous that I like the school/advisor on first visit but that I'm wearing rose-colored glasses and things may be different once I'm actually attending the school next Fall. Only met two grad students in the department and I really liked both of them... but they're both leaving come August :(

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I am trying to get over the fact that my dream school is not actually the best school for me. Has anyone ever dealt with this?

Yes. You're not alone! I'm considering a program that wasn't even on my radar until one month before the application deadline.

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Yes. You're not alone! I'm considering a program that wasn't even on my radar until one month before the application deadline.

I'm considering one that I applied to at the last minute. I was emailing POIs and found out that they just received a grant to do a 5 year study in my field of interest. If it weren't for that knowledge, I probably wouldn't not seriously consider this program (not that it's a bad program, but I wanted to be in a big city, and while it's in a beautiful area, it's not the big city I was hoping for -- but it ticks every other box, so I am flexible).

Anyway, in relation to this topic...

The deadline for one of my schools is March 31st (it's a Canadian university), so I will probably hold off on all final decisions until then. Just to be safe.

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I can understand your feelings and have been having some cold feet as well. I was very excited about leaving my hometown to learn at a university on the Mainland (I'm a Hawaii native!) and was energized about starting my PhD. Maybe the semester off between my Masters and PhD has gotten my mind a little lazy....I keep thinking do I really want to start all this over again, new project, school, advisor, etc. Now that I've got a really good verbal offer (Purdue) I can feel myself getting cold feet. I'll still likely end up going to Purdue, but I notice that I find my mind focusing on the negatives about moving to the midwest (freezing winter, no family, 10+ hour plane ride) in an effort to try and change my mind. To make matters worse I received an offer from UH Manoa, which is a quick plane ride from home, and they're offering me a tuition waiver and salary which is unheard of for first year students in that program. I think it's human nature to second guess big decisions that will change your life.......would probably be more alarming if you weren't!

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It is really nice to read these comments...not because I'm happy some of us have cold feet, but to know that I'm not alone in this process.

I honestly don't think I'm going to start a PhD program next Fall because I keep finding excuses to NOT go. Shouldn't it be the other way around? All my academic friends/professors are telling me that this is a great opportunity and I have been talking to the department and still getting amazing information. It is so tempting and I know I will enjoy academic life but I keep finding ways of not going.

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I can totally see that happening... it's such a major life change.

Honestly, I am at the point now that I feel very comfortable and confident about the program and career choice but am constantly worrying about the financial aspect of it all. I dread loan debt, accumulating interest, financial insecurity... I mean, financial circumstances really can affect all aspects of your life. It's all very daunting...

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It is really nice to read these comments...not because I'm happy some of us have cold feet, but to know that I'm not alone in this process.

I honestly don't think I'm going to start a PhD program next Fall because I keep finding excuses to NOT go. Shouldn't it be the other way around? All my academic friends/professors are telling me that this is a great opportunity and I have been talking to the department and still getting amazing information. It is so tempting and I know I will enjoy academic life but I keep finding ways of not going.

So you don't want to go to grad school then?

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I haven't made a final decision, but I am pretty sure where I am going. The weird thing is, my dream program of several years has slowly not become my dream program these past several months. I got accepted there, and I was thrilled. However, the more I was doing research on my top two (I was lucky to be accepted to both), I realized my second choice was a much better fit for me in pretty much every way. I am trying to get over the fact that my dream school is not actually the best school for me. Has anyone ever dealt with this? I am both happy and sad about it.

I am dealing with the exact same thing. For two years, one of my schools was my top choice. When I applied I found a great school that was a good second choice. I would've been happy getting in to either one of these. Then, I got into both, and now I'm just not sure what to do. Both are great fits, but the funding is different, and that's where the issue is. To make it worse, it's my second choice (not my top one) that is offering more funding. So... do I go to my top choice with less funding (significantly less after factoring cost of living), or do I go to my second choice with great funding?

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svh - If the funding is greatly different, then I would follow the money. Money is so important (unfortunately) and you don't want to accumulate debt.

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R Deckard - I've already been to grad school if you count being in a Master's program (and graduated). I loved it. I loved teaching, I loved seminars, reading articles, books, and writing. So why not a PhD? Well, I have an opportunity to work this year and I think I'm going to take it and see how that goes before going on to the PhD.A PhD is so limiting for career options...and it will limit not only my career but also my ability to have a family. I know people have had families with PhDs but for me...it just isn't in the cards. I'm not sure I can topple this hurdle. I am well supported where I am right now. If I wasn't, and I didn't have a career opportunity, then I would probably pursue the PhD because it really does suit me.

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I am absolutely terrified as well. I have officially accepted an offer from Harvard, and everyone around me is SO excited for me. And I am as well, because, well, it IS Harvard! But I am still upset I was rejected by my top choice, and I am very nervous about moving to a different state and being away from my boyfriend and my friends...

But grad school will be an exciting new adventure!!

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Yes. Yes, this precisely, only with post bacc fellowships and lab managerships rather than grad school. I know I made the right decision, but I can't get over wondering if maybe I should have made a different one, what would have happened if I had, and would I have been better off.

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