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Did anyone else actually like this process?


t_ruth
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I'm reading a lot of people say things like "I can't imagine doing this again," but I totally can. Sure, the waiting drove me crazy (and the decision-making is hard!), but it's also exhilarating.

and it's fun to get to know professors and other students and to write SOPs, etc.

I realized in my last interview though that as professors, we will be doing this for the rest of our careers: writing grants and waiting :) so if you are like me and enjoyed the process and the anticipation even the slightest bit, fear not, for the future holds much of the same! :mrgreen:

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Wooow jeje insightful..

I must say that you are right! :)

While doing all this really made me a little bit crazy... I think I actually enjoyed it... :oops:

It's funny... but you are right after all

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I hated it and it made me crazy.

I DID really love the grant writing part of it, though. I got a week's notice that I had a long shot at additional funds that never came through, but I got to spend that entire week drafting and redrafting and redrafting exactly what I wanted to write about and talking with professors and classmates about it. The intensity was oh so fun, and it was great to have a chance to really get into what I want to do with complete freedom.

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I think I liked the beginning and the end, when things were happening (either I was writing my SOP, which was definitely fun, or I was visiting schools and trying to make a decision).

The part in between--waiting--was not so fun. :P

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I liked choosing my schools and I loved the moment when I knew all application materials were turned in. The area in between? Having to deal with ETS, transcripts that never arrived, letters of recommendation sent out by professors... no thanks.

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It wasn't horrible.

Took up more time than I would like, but once my apps were in I wasn't stressed out at all. I've been out of school long enough to understand that there is a world beyond school, and I haven't been in the working world long enough to hate it. Sort of a good time to apply sans crises.

Too expensive to "enjoy."

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I guess what I'm saying is if you didn't get some enjoyment out of at least a few aspects of this process, then the life of an academic isn't going to be fun for you.

(note: this is said slightly tongue in cheek lest it be quoted further)

In about six year's time we will be waiting on our own grants to come through to let the next batch of students, some of whom we could have our hearts set on, know if they are going to be funded (or admitted at all). It will be a lot of the same stuff: writing, applying and waiting, but with stakes that go beyond our own lives.

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I'm reading a lot of people say things like "I can't imagine doing this again," but I totally can. Sure, the waiting drove me crazy (and the decision-making is hard!), but it's also exhilarating.

:roll: lulz! Easy to say with 5 acceptances in the bag!

It's easier to commisserate with people who had to suffer through a plethora of rejections before having finally having had the lone solace of their one acceptance. And only those who went through the whole process for naught truly deserve kudos for having the fortitude, will and desire to go through it all again. I for one wouldn't have.

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:roll: lulz! Easy to say with 5 acceptances in the bag!

It's easier to commisserate with people who had to suffer through a plethora of rejections before having finally having had the lone solace of their one acceptance. And only those who went through the whole process for naught truly deserve kudos for having the fortitude, will and desire to go through it all again. I for one wouldn't have.

true, I think I'd be happy w/at least one acceptance, but you are right...it wouldn't be so much fun w/none. I'm sure we will all apply for and get rejected from many grants in the future though - so we will get our bad days too.

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I think I liked the beginning and the end, when things were happening (either I was writing my SOP, which was definitely fun, or I was visiting schools and trying to make a decision).

The part in between--waiting--was not so fun. :P

Exactly what I think too.

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I actually really enjoyed it both times (MA and PhD). MA was fun because I didn't know what I was doing and made it up as I went with the help of google. I switched disciplines and had zero guidance. I actually enjoyed that. I also enjoyed the campus visits (both cycles) as it really helped me see where I wanted to go to school (even if I'm at the one PhD program I didn't visit). I loved meeting potential advisors and grad students as I now have a much larger network of people at the national conference. Plus, I can go to more of the department's parties at conferences and actually know people. This year (third year attending) I spent basically zero time with people from my current program, instead hanging out with people I met via these forums and livejournal, on campus visits, and at past conferences. Oh yea, and when else do you get to blather on about your interests to a captive audience for a couple of days at a time?

That said, I think my experiences are so positive because I always had an early acceptance (and I'm talking late January from a Jan 1 deadline). So that really reduced the anxiety since I knew I'd gotten in somewhere. Incidentally, it was the same program both times (early MA acceptance, went there for MA, so already knew I'd get in for PhD). The only frustrating thing was going on campus visits and realizing the department was nothing like what I thought it would be, and not always in a good way.

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That said, I think my experiences are so positive because I always had an early acceptance (and I'm talking late January from a Jan 1 deadline). So that really reduced the anxiety since I knew I'd gotten in somewhere. Incidentally, it was the same program both times (early MA acceptance, went there for MA, so already knew I'd get in for PhD). The only frustrating thing was going on campus visits and realizing the department was nothing like what I thought it would be, and not always in a good way.

I had a pretty early acceptance too, but I have to say although I was definitely relieved, I was also a little down when the waiting was over. Like the build up to Christmas morning and the little sadness that all the hype is over. Maybe I'm rare in feeling this way...

My apologies if this thread rubs those that don't have any acceptances the wrong way. It was not my intention :(

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I guess what I'm saying is if you didn't get some enjoyment out of at least a few aspects of this process, then the life of an academic isn't going to be fun for you.

Unless you didn't get an offer; then, the life of a supremely unsuccessful academic isn't going to be fun for you.

I think it's a lot easier for people who don't actually have to go through another round of applications, or who have chosen to do so to get a better offer rather than forced to do so because they weren't offered a spot at all, to say how much they enjoyed the process. No one likes working incredibly hard, staying up late at night, spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars, only to have door after door slammed in their face. No one likes to waste their time.

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I guess what I'm saying is if you didn't get some enjoyment out of at least a few aspects of this process, then the life of an academic isn't going to be fun for you.

I don't think there are many academics who go into their fields for the sole joy of writing grants and getting rejected by journals :wink:

Still, there were two major aspect of the process that were enjoyable and consistent with what I would do as an academic: research and planning. I loved looking at the particulars of different schools, making tables and looking up statistics of acceptance ratios and job placement per industry and cost of living per area, projecting financials, and getting results. I'm like that with experiments too; love the planning and research stages, reading up and finding holes and picking new directions to go in, and I love data analysis, but I really hate the boring stuff in between (show of hands: who likes watching something reflux for two hours?) I also hated formatting my personal statements to the specifics of every school, just like I'm sure I'll detest formatting my papers to the specifics of each journal or funding committee. Processes like these aren't so much something you should look forward to as something you're okay with enduring so you can get to the good parts; like eating your vegetables so Mom will let you have ice cream :D

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you don't think it is better to enjoy vegetables AND ice cream? :)

I actually had a discussion last night that started with how I don't think of tomatoes as fruit and ended with my personal definition of fruit: If you can't eat it with whipped cream, it's not a fruit.

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you don't think it is better to enjoy vegetables AND ice cream? :)

I think that, as vegetables, the aspects that tkm256 is talking about, are maybe not meant for everybody to like... I myself found it cool to adjust my SoP trying to maximize my chances at each school... (and some of it didn't work... and probably could be seeing as a waste of time).....

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I would've liked this process a lot better if it didn't cost so much money. (In addition to GRE scores and app fees, I took undergrad and postbac classes at 3 different places, so that was a LOT of money spent on transcripts...)

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I actually had a discussion last night that started with how I don't think of tomatoes as fruit and ended with my personal definition of fruit: If you can't eat it with whipped cream, it's not a fruit.

I find it difficult to imagine eating coconut with whipped cream.... coconut-flavoured ice cream with whipped, definitely. I'd be hard-pressed to try a papaya/whipped cream combo as well. :shock:

Looking back, this process wasn't as bad as I thought it felt at the time. Which is good, because chances are I'll be doing it again in a couple of years, albeit to only 2 schools instead of 6, and with a much stronger application. ;)

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The mechanics of the process aren't difficult, but I don't enjoy asking for things, so the LOR aspect was probably the most challenging for me, strangely. I would say though that the actual decision-making at the end of the process is quite anti-climactic. I haven't done it yet (and I wish the best for anyone who is still waiting on that acceptance), but by the end, I've hashed and re-hashed every alternative and possibility so much that signing on the dotted line is going to be pretty much a non-event. I'm mentally and emotionally fatigued, and I don't feel like I got quite as invested in the process as the average applicant.

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