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I don't want to belong to any University that will accept people like me as a member


bakalamba
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So there's the Groucho Marx joke, which I'm sure you've heard of:

 

As a letter of resignation for the Friar's Club, he wrote: "Please accept my resignation. I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member."

 

Does anyone else feel like this when reading an acceptance letter? That the University is suddenly devalued in your mind because it let in someone like you? And that the best institutions are always the ones you can't get into?

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So there's the Groucho Marx joke, which I'm sure you've heard of:

 

As a letter of resignation for the Friar's Club, he wrote: "Please accept my resignation. I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member."

 

Does anyone else feel like this when reading an acceptance letter? That the University is suddenly devalued in your mind because it let in someone like you? And that the best institutions are always the ones you can't get into?

 

Questions of self-worth in academia -- particularly these early stages of the process -- are entirely normal. The trick that I find helpful is to remember that confidence can be entirely misplaced. On my first MA cycle, I was certain that I was going to get in at all of my choices and that I would be in a position to weigh the various options and even play departments against each other in order to win my favour. Very Pride & Prejudice. Of course, you can guess what happened and I ended up incredibly thankful to have one offer to cling to.

 

You're allowed to feel unsure of yourself and even unsure of the process itself, but don't let it eat at you and certainly don't let it make decisions for you. Take some time away from the offer to let the idea of going to that institution excite you again (as it presumably did, at least somewhat, when you first applied). Then come back to it and try to consider the actual merits of the institution rather than those that your anxious brain has invented to make this whole undertaking even harder. Stupid brain.

 

All of this is to say, "I know how you feel". 

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I think tons of us feel just like that. It's the nasty old impostor syndrome where you don't think you are good enough and so if they are accepting you there must be something wrong with that school. I felt like that all the time during acceptance and still feel like that in graduate school some days. 

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I've been feeling quite a bit like this ever since I wasn't laughed out of my advisor's office when I suggested I might apply for PhD programs.  I keep pinching myself that it's actually--actually--going to happen.  I mean, me?  Only 5% of test takers scored lower than me on math when I took the GRE and I got a B in an important course for my MA program (and field--phonetics and phonology is basically the foundation of language teaching and learning).  I'm just not that special...At least, I don't think I am...Apparently 3 schools think I am.  Weirdness.

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I'm still in shock (after 2+ weeks) that i'm going to UMich and that I'm good enough to go there. 

 

Same here with Penn State's I/O program.  I'm still baffled by the fact that this happened/is happening.  I haven't found myself mentally derogating the school since receiving my acceptance, but I do find myself wondering how/why on earth they decided to admit me of all people.

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Just to clarify, what you're saying is basically that you don't think you're good enough to get in, but now that you've gotten in you are too good to go there?

Ummm what kind of logic is this?

I agree. It's almost self hate and arrogance at the same time. I mean, I was surprised when one of my ideal schools admitted me but I didn't think less of them for doing so!

Whenever I start doubting I just ask. On my visit day or after I start attending I'll just ask my profs why they found my app compelling. Why not just find out instead of falling prey to irrational thoughts?

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...Groucho Marx is a comedian. This thread is about a joke. Not about some psychological issues.

 

EDIT: Or at least, that's how I felt reading it. Am I wrong, OP?

Edited by PhDerp
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Just to clarify, what you're saying is basically that you don't think you're good enough to get in, but now that you've gotten in you are too good to go there?

Ummm what kind of logic is this?

 

It's joke logic. If I have to explain a joke, it loses its humor.

 

But here goes ... the key element of it is that Marx doesn't want to be in a club that would allow him entry - he objects to the organization's most disreputable member: himself. It's ironic and self deprecating - if you're reading it as arrogance, I politely disagree, as Groucho is ultimately the target of his own joke (and how is that not funny?). And it seems like it reflects how a few of us think about graduate school: we're awed, grateful, and overwhelmed that we're allowed entry into such exclusive clubs.

 

This graduate school application process is indeed stressful and strange, but I don't think every issue has some psychological or neurotic connection - there's a lot of humor in it as well. There has to be.

 

Lifesaver, I appreciate your joke, but I still prefer Groucho's. Here's another one of his:

 

"Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others."

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I agree. It's almost self hate and arrogance at the same time. I mean, I was surprised when one of my ideal schools admitted me but I didn't think less of them for doing so!

Whenever I start doubting I just ask. On my visit day or after I start attending I'll just ask my profs why they found my app compelling. Why not just find out instead of falling prey to irrational thoughts?

Don't be so negative! Like rbamattre said, it's self-deprecating and most of all a joke, and a funny one IMO. For me it's not so much "I'm now too good for your program" but "I sincerely question your judgment in admitting me." The school is not devalued but I have a nagging suspicion that a few months into my first year they will discover that they mistook someone else's file for mine and that's that.

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Clearly the logic of someone who needs more Xanax.

 

Xanax is very fast acting, so it's used more for acute treatment of panic attacks and whatnot. Things like Zoloft and Prozac are much better for anxiety treatment in the longterm. And my Zoloft dose is perfect, thank you very much.

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I hear you! I still can't believe I got into this super awesome program and its been two weeks now! I cant believe people psychoanalysizing each other based on a comment! :P

 

This all seems surreal because till now we were just thinking about getting into this awesome program and months of waiting can help us prepare for worst (we are telling ourself - its okay, GRE was not that great, GPA is awesome but I am sure many others have same GPA with kickass GRE, SOP is very well written but LOR was not really in my hands) and we keep telling ourselves to be mentally ready for rejection. While applying we are optimistic but waiting for months can turn us into mildly pessimistic for our own good. We are being defensive. And one fine day, that call/email comes and we are caught totally offgaurd :)

 

This is the best feeling though :) Wanting somethin this bad and then getting it!!

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I'm having these fears now. The only acceptance I received (Philosophy) was from New School. How many students do they take (results search indicates 100% acceptance though this is, of course, not statistically significant)? 

 

Hopefully visiting and speaking with the professors will ease my imposter syndrome.

Edited by revolutions
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  • 2 weeks later...

To the OP,

 

Well, kinda. I was absolutely shocked to get in at all, and then to get full-funding plus a fellowship, I thought for sure they must have confused me with another prospective student who happened to have my last name (which is uncommon).

 

But I've also visited the program, trying to rely on my intuition and skills of observation to see if there was any proverbial "man behind the curtain" to look for and. . . I didn't find one.

 

So now, it's just nightmares about my offer getting rescinded on ludicrous grounds, akin to the nightmares I had (both before and after my thesis defense) about flunking because I didn't know how to care correctly for dragons.

 

(What? I'm a creative person. . . )

 

Also, I agree with PsychChick - I know I was preparing myself for the worst, too, especially since I only decided to apply one place and knew all too well how easily this could have blown up in my face, so I was convinced I wouldn't be accepted. Made it an awfully nice surprise when I got the official notification!

 

Probably Imposter syndrome. . . I hear that's rather common in our particular demographic. . .

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So now, it's just nightmares about my offer getting rescinded on ludicrous grounds, akin to the nightmares I had (both before and after my thesis defense) about flunking because I didn't know how to care correctly for dragons.

 

Hmmm... You may want to get in touch with a Rubeus Hagrid or a Charlie Weasley. I think one of them is in Romania. They should know how to care for dragons, if that issue comes up. Though since it's likely that neither of them can use a phone, I wouldn't know how you'd go about contacting them. An owl, maybe?

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Hmmm... You may want to get in touch with a Rubeus Hagrid or a Charlie Weasley. I think one of them is in Romania. They should know how to care for dragons, if that issue comes up. Though since it's likely that neither of them can use a phone, I wouldn't know how you'd go about contacting them. An owl, maybe?

 

You're greatly underestimating Arthur Weasley, Sheath. Do you not think that someone so interested in Muggle artifacts would not at least explain how to use a phone? Even Ron gave the thing a whirl before third year and it wasn't too terrible. 

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