WishfulThinker

Anyone else nervous about the "consequences" of not getting accepted anywhere?

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Right now, recently done with my bachelor's, I could have gotten a job but I decided to spend this time preparing for my applications. Of course I'm thinking on getting a job while waiting it out (until Fall 2013), but I'm afraid that it won't be a great one thanks to the fact that, in case of being admitted to graduate school, I will be able to work at most 5 or 6 months, and employers may not like that.

If I'm not admitted anywhere, a few months of my life may have had gone down the drain... and just thinking about it really sucks. So yeah, I'm starting to get nervous about not being accepted anywhere, anyone else with similar thoughts?

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Yes.

I keep on thinking about the time (I haven't graduated yet, and I am doing research, but I am currently living abroad and could have used my evening for more interesting things) and money (applied to 10 schools and I also had the TOEFL to take and send out) spent on this whole thing and I really start panicking. And lately I think about it ALL THE TIME.

It's chronic, low-level stress and never ending worry about the future.

And now I have heard back from one school, and I do nothing but obsess about what they might ask me during the interview.

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I know what will happen. I will either go mad, get depressed or (eventually) take my own life. Today I heard at a teacher's meeting, said by one of my colleagues 'students must be convincted in their beliefs'. :) wonderful thing for an english major. Then they wanted me to get the kids to play games. As it is I am drinking a lot more than I was already. It's just a slope downhill for every day I don't get in. As Kafka said, 'infinite hope, but not for us'

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Yes. I have been living overseas for a long time, and I have to make my decision about whether or not to renew my contract in January -- a month or so before decisions come out. Of course, I have to say no. And then if I get rejected from all grad schools, I'm out of work and will have to move out of the country with no plans at all. Scary as hell. And everything I've been doing overseas for years has been leading up to these applications... I just can't imagine what will happen if I get rejected. And my GRE scores are not good. And I didn't apply to back up schools. Very dumb.

I also think about it all the time. I even dream about my SOP!

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definitely >_< Anyone else feels like they backed themselves in a corner? When I was looking up programs this summer, people (parents, prof, advisors other grad students etc) keep on telling me "only apply to schools you really want to go to" which of course results in me apply to pretty much only the most competitive programs, which I realized is a choice I made of my own, so if I do get rejected I feel like I can't even blame anyone but myself.

I don't know, it's just really depressing to realize that we all spent so much time agonizing over each sentence in our SOP, studying hours for the tests, kissing ass for the reccos and at the end of the day the admin council spends what, like 15 min per app? I know the system is so generic because an admission council simply can't go in depth with the number of applicants but I keep on thinking to myself, what if I don't get in anywhere? The school may promise their rejection isn't a "reflection of your talent" but at the same time isn't it? I feel like every rejection letter is a snarky "you were good, just not good enough" statement.

I suppose though I'm being melodramatic. I am extremely lucky in that I didn't have to pay for any part of this expensive project (yay Asian parents obsessed with big name schools!) and am still in school so if I really don't get accepted I still have a few month to look for a job. And in the greater scheme of things I will still leave with a bachelor from an amazing undergrad and no debt so I'm in a very lucky position. But at the same time I have been pretty much obsessing over the process for the last 2 years. I can't imagine what I'll feel like in the end if all the effort was for nothing...

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Very nervous...as some above have said, it's been a monumental time grab. I'm not even taking a full course load (I'm taking a 5th year to gather myself) and I have found myself more overwhelmed than ever, including when conducting my thesis research last year. All of my deadlines have passed and still I lie awake until 3:30AM reading over my SOPs, reassuring myself that I'm a good fit, etc.

Like the poster above, I only applied to schools that I really want to go to. I'm prepared to do this again next year if I need to, because I'm determined to get in where I've applied. It would really be nice to not need to, though, and just get in to one of the three schools.

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Been there. Just last year in fact.

You'll get a little depressed. Then you'll pick yourself back up, and if you're really set on grad school, you'll begin working again on next year's application and trying to do everything better. I highly recommend having a simple year-long plan in the event this happens, so you'll have something to do. For me, I just continued working, did some research with a prof. of mine, and worked on better applications and picked better fit schools.

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teagirl, did you make a new SOP?

i'm really worried that if i get rejected i'll have to change my SOP (come up with a different research proposal). seems like the most obvious thing to do I guess.... but I really want to study what I proposed. I was only able to find one school with a perfect fit in terms of my ideas, the other 3 are only indirectly related.

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Been there. Just last year in fact.

You'll get a little depressed. Then you'll pick yourself back up, and if you're really set on grad school, you'll begin working again on next year's application and trying to do everything better. I highly recommend having a simple year-long plan in the event this happens, so you'll have something to do. For me, I just continued working, did some research with a prof. of mine, and worked on better applications and picked better fit schools.

Same with me, this is round 2. You'll deal and move on and be better for the next try.

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This is round two for me as well. I thought it'd be so miserable, but I got over it. It helped that I moved home and being with my family makes me feel so much better. I can't imagine what I'd do if I don't get in this time. I want so desperately to move on with my life and make my family proud. I can't wait until Jan/Feb gets here. It also sucks because my student loans are starting to go into repayment and I'm only able to work part time right now. Ugh! I need that in-school deferment! LOL!

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teagirl, did you make a new SOP?

i'm really worried that if i get rejected i'll have to change my SOP (come up with a different research proposal). seems like the most obvious thing to do I guess.... but I really want to study what I proposed. I was only able to find one school with a perfect fit in terms of my ideas, the other 3 are only indirectly related.

Not completely. I stuck with the same field I wanted to study, but I refined my SOP to be a bit more specific and tailored to the respective program. I found some news schools (there are always schools that you missed the first time looking for a program) and new profs I was interested in working with.

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There are no real immediate consequences, it's not like you're going to die for not being accepted anywhere (you may feel that way but it's temporary). On my second year, doubting I'll get anywhere though I've lowered my sights to MS progs only. Imo my 2yr job hunt failure hurts a trillion times worse than the grad school rejections last round. I'm a workaholic I love to work and now I languish and do nothing.

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This is it for me. I have no idea what I will do if I don't get accepted into any of my graduate schools. There are a couple of people at my job who are applying to medical school for the 2nd and even 3rd time. I don't know if I have it in me to go through the process of studying for GRE's and obsessing over my SOP again next year. I want my first try to be my only try, and I went pretty hard on the whole application process. I'm not sure what I can improve. I always said it would be one and done for me, but I want to earn a PhD pretty badly, so I would probably try again.

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Definitely scared I won't get in anywhere. But I the stress of finishing apps trumps most of that. I guess that is one of the benefits of my due dates extending from November all the way to January. I dont really have time to focus on the nervousness. Attentional distraction is nice.

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This is my second round of applying too! I got accepted to two PhD programs last spring (and trust me, I'm not a stellar applicant), but I decided not to attend either of those schools. It was SO hard to turn those offers down, but I knew it wasn't the right time, and those weren't the right schools for me. [Second-time applicant tip #1: only apply to schools you would want to attend]

The second time around, by contrast, is SO. MUCH. BETTER. I feel like I have much more control-- I know what I want, I know what I have to do (apply early, revise SOP, retake the GRE, replace one recommendation writer, apply to different schools, etc), and I have that extra motivation to get there, which I think will really show in my applications-- all because I've had the better part of a year to think, plan, and execute.

Long story short: not getting in, or deciding to take an extra year to re-apply is a blessing in disguise. If you aren't accepted this round, your life will most certainly NOT be over, ESPECIALLY if you're an undergrad. I will have taken two years off between undergrad and grad school (*knock on some serious wood*), and I tell all of my undergrad friends to do the same: take time off! Grad school is long enough, and you don't have to be in a rush to get there-- it's better to make such a serious decision with slow and careful deliberation. Plus, now that I want it that much badly, I will be so happy to get back to school. Some of my friends who went straight to grad school couldn't say the same.

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Plan on not being accepted anywhere, then quit your job (or file the requisite paperwork to leave your job) on the assumption your going to school somewhere next year. For fun, agonize over your pending applications until you drive yourself to alcoholism (read this post). Then continue with day-to-day life, because once you send in an ap, its out of your hands and stressing them serves no functional purpose in life. For better or worse, you will eventually wind up where you're supposed to be, even if you don't think thats the case.

BTW, I know its hard to see, but if all you're concerned about is a few months of your entire life having gone down the drain, wait until you begin vewing consecutive years that way! And then wait a little longer until you begin to notice the benefits of whatever experience you gained during those few wasted months further down the road.

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Agree on not wanting to tell your recommenders you didn’t get in anywhere. Also not thrilled with the idea of potentially having to ask them to write another recommendation…

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I'm fortunate enough to know my job is really flexible and will be here for me as long as I need (academic lab) but I will be so embarrassed if I don't get in anywhere; everyone in my lab got in to grad school the first try, without even taking any years off. Another thing that worries me is if I only get into one school, and I end up thinking it's a bad fit after interviewing or I realize I'd be miserable there (never been to the east coast). I don't think 1 shitty option is much better than none.

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I don't want to tell my letter writers that I didn't get in anywhere. That is the scariest thought for me.

You hit the nail on the head. I work with senior scientists, who are more confident in my acceptance into schools than me. I'm so nervous of disappointing them.

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You hit the nail on the head. I work with senior scientists, who are more confident in my acceptance into schools than me. I'm so nervous of disappointing them.

Agreed...my letter writers are amazing people and my mentor is amazingly supportive. She let me pick out my schools with absolutely no knowledge of the strength of the programs, and with a low GPA, may not have been the most brilliant idea. I really had no idea what I was doing (and to be honest, I still don't). I picked based on fit. I have a decent amount of research and will have a publication in the spring....

But I'm so scared of getting rejected from all the programs and having to "break" it to my recommenders. That'll suck.

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Agreed...my letter writers are amazing people and my mentor is amazingly supportive. She let me pick out my schools with absolutely no knowledge of the strength of the programs, and with a low GPA, may not have been the most brilliant idea. I really had no idea what I was doing (and to be honest, I still don't). I picked based on fit. I have a decent amount of research and will have a publication in the spring....

But I'm so scared of getting rejected from all the programs and having to "break" it to my recommenders. That'll suck.

I agree. One of my mentors suggested a lot of schools and I pretty much applied to all of his suggestions. I wish I had applied to more lower tiered schools, but you miss 100% of the shots that you don't take. In my case, my GRE score is probably going to hold me back. I'm hoping that 3+ years of research and a good undergraduate GPA will compensate for it. My recommenders have not asked about my apps yet because the latest one is due Janurary 1, so I still have some time to get an interview hopefully to at least feel better.

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I have been applying to grad schools and fellowships since last year, but didn't get anything (except an interview) and it wasn't easy asking my recommenders to send 6 more letters for this application round. They have been supportive and are super friendly, but I still felt a bit ashamed. I hope to be successful this time... because it'll probably be the last time I try. If this goes wrong, I'll focus on finding another job. The one I have now seems perfect from the outside, but really? it's all crap! It's time for me to move on. Only thing is: what a time for looking for other research jobs! About 70% of my Biology peers are either not working or working in something totally unrelated! :/

I rewrote my SOP (my reaction when I read the one I send last year is perfectly described as **facepalm** :P), my CV, retook GRE, changed 2 of my recommenders... I learned a lot from last time, so hopefully I'll get admitted somewhere!

Good luck to everyone!!

Edited by Winteriscoming

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Only thing is: what a time for looking for other research jobs! About 70% of my Biology peers are either not working or working in something totally unrelated! :/

I rewrote my SOP (my reaction when I read the one I send last year is perfectly described as **facepalm** :P), my CV, retook GRE, changed 2 of my recommenders... I learned a lot from last time, so hopefully I'll get admitted somewhere!

Good luck to everyone!!

Agreed about your biology peers. Two of mine happen to work in my lab, but the majority are not working in biological or medical fields. I'm completely happy with my lab, but it is time to move on. Also about the SOP, I think about mine and I cringe, but when I take a second look it isn't as bad as I thought. I just need one acceptance, just one. I hope everything works out for you this time around!

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