(Closed) Applying to graduate school is probably the most stressful thing ever. Rant.

posted 8 years ago in College
Post # 3
Member
948 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

Congrats about taking this step!  It’s taken me a little while to finally decide to go back, and I’m also dreading the application period.

Try not to focus on what others think/say, and once you apply to schools you too will be accepted somewhere!  Good luck!

Post # 4
Member
228 posts
Helper bee

What do you mean by grad students acting almight and all-knowing?  I just finished my seven years in prison…I mean grad school.  Many grad students are very unhappy and will discourage other people from applying as a result.  This might be the root of the negativity you were sensing…

Post # 5
Member
14183 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

Good luck! Some grad schools aren’t such a pain as others….but all that paperwork is certainly a pain in the ass. But yes, it seems most academics can be kinda hoity toity about it for some reason.

I’m starting (again) in the spring, so I feel your pain. What a hassle!

Post # 6
Member
2103 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

Don’t worry about them! You have to your research and figure out what’s best for you! I applied to 16 graduate schools and it was a pain in the ass. Yes, I’m often moody and exhausted, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for advancing my education for anything.

Plus, those graduate students don’t know YOU! They don’t know your skills, your qualifications, your education, your stress level. Let the graduate school/program decide your fate, not a bunch of students!

Post # 7
Member
177 posts
Blushing bee

When I wrote my essays for grad school I had my besties help me. Sometimes it’s hard to sell yourself and your good friends should always be able to help with that. Grad school is tough, and those current students are probably coming from a bad place. You’re trying to improve yourself and that’s commendable. They can suck it! ๐Ÿ˜€

Post # 8
Member
154 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

@mogget:FH is in the process of doing this also and he said same thing you did. That its an expensive, time-consuming project. Ive been helping him write his entrance essays and feel bad for him b/c he’s juggling that, finishing undergrad, being a D1 athlete, and helping plan our wedding. Ahhh! He’s also noticed some people aren’t always that helpful to him as he goes the through the app process. I hope things get better for you as you go along! proBM2008’s got it right when she says having her friends help her “sell herself” is a good idea. Sometimes its hard to write those essays by yourself so maybe you could have a friend, parent, spouse, sit down with you and help you with the writing process : )

Post # 9
Member
106 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

Believe me applying is not the most stressful part…wait til you start. I would ENCOURAGE you to talk to related professors, advisors, current grad students, etc. Although, you may not have the experience they had, you will still gain the understanding of whats ahead and what Grad School is all about. Needless to say, I didn’t do this. I thought Grad School was just a little bit harder than Undergrad and that I would breeze through it (I was Val of HS and 4.0 in College). Yep, going to Grad School was the worst decision FOR ME and on top of all the absolute craziness, I’m planning a wedding. Make sure you know what you want to do and why. Good luck in your endeavour! (I’m truly sorry if this seems harsh but as you can imagine finals are coming up and I’m beginning the dreaded thesis process, neither of which I am having fun with. But I think Blogs are all about being honest so here you go.)

Post # 10
Hostess
16196 posts
Honey Beekeeper

For me, applying to grad school was much more stressful than grad school itself. Grad school is hard, of course; but I’m loving it because I am learning so much that will get me ahead once I graduate.

I’m sorry you aren’t getting support from those around you. That makes it even tougher. If you ever want to vent, feel free to PM me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 11
Member
1871 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

Can I be honest? I’m a graduate student in the humanities and I’m sure that I come off as a negative nellie to everyone who asks me about applying. “All knowing” I’m not sure about. But it’s not about discouraging someone from going per se, it’s literally because, speaking as someone in graduate school (NOT medical school, law school, or business, but humanities grad only): graduate. school. sucks. Seriously, it does. It’s thankless and a grind. You will make no money and being a TA is slave labor. You’re lucky if you like the people in your department because most people (not all) have a love-hate relationship with their colleagues. And as a PhD student, I can tell you that if I didn’t have my Darling Husband, I’d be contemplating suicide for the sheer lack of human contact that happens when you are writing your dissertation (which is also about a topic that probably no one but you cares about). In other words, your life becomes very small and very unvalidated pretty quickly. What I CAN tell you is that for these reasons, you have to have very specific goals in mind if you want to go to graduate school and what you want to do with the degree.

No one is trying to discourage you specifically from applying–part of it is that they’re airing general grievances, another part is that complaining is the graduate school sport, and the final part is they’re giving it to you straight. NO ONE I know in their right mind would ever tell an aspiring grad student, “Sure, it’s AWESOME. Definitely do it,” because chances are, they’re just not that enthused. There probably are some happy grad students out there who love it and will be enthusiastic, but in my experience, those are the exception and not the rule. Most graduate students do appreciate and believe in what they’re doing at the end of the day, but cheer and be happy about grad school? No one I know can muster that and we’d be doing you a disservice if we tried.

Here–here’s a funny video. Gets the point across if it weren’t so depressing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obTNwPJvOI8&feature=related

BUT good luck in applying and I even though I’m down on grad school, I really do wish you the best. The process of applying is a drag, but chances are you’ll get into a program that’s right for you. And hey, within a year, you’ll be doing the whiskey-in-the-coffee at 10am and wasting time on wedding message boards because you just can’t handle any more Heidegger…bona fide grad student ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 12
Member
28 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: December 2010

I’m sorry you are so stressed out. ๐Ÿ™  I agree it can be stressful, though for me I think the most stressful part of grad school was applying for graduation…so many forms to get different people to sign and making sure the grad office had everything they needed to guarantee my graduation!  But, I’m glad I did it.  Personally I found it easier than undergrad academically because everything I was taking was something I was already familiar with and I knew how to study well.  That and I became a good test-taker finally!  One thing that really bugged me at my school was that I found the grad school atmosphere was much more…political?  I found you really had to fight for yourself in order to get the good assistantships or just to be on a prof’s good side.  Something to keep in mind!

 

That said, I’m seriously considering going back for a different masters.  I love the field I have my current masters in but I am very limited to cities I can work in.  The other master degree is very similar but would let my Fiance and I move back to Austin and have good jobs.  We’ll see!

 

Congrats on taking this step!!  Let us know how it goes. Smile

Post # 13
Member
494 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

@JennyW1: amen

If people are acting all knowing it’s most certainly because they hate their advisor, hate their job prospects, hate their program and pretty much hate their life, and they are probably wondering why they didn’t go to med school or something.  It’s not personal, just a warning.

But if you think you’re ready and know exactly what you want to use your degree for when you finish, I say go for it.  It’s a nice break from reality I suppose!

Post # 14
Member
2394 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

 I really enjoyed my grad program, BUT my experience was pretty atypical.  My very understanding employer allowed me to work around my classes, so I wasn’t in the tight financial situation most people suffer through.

Still, I had to take out loans to cover my tuition, and while I don’t regret them I would probably feel very differently if I were paying for a degree I didn’t want or need.

Post # 15
Member
941 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I’m sorry it’s such an overwhelming process! I know when I was applying, it definitely took on a level of intimiation, mostly because the enormity of the task was so big.  I actually used to stay at work, after everyone left, and work on my essays there, because I knew if I went home I’d find a billion other things to do that were so much more exciting than writing essays.

And I’m sorry that those you have spoken with aren’t being supportive.  ๐Ÿ™  I think when people who you may not know to well put out that attitude, it’s nothing about you as much as them projecting their own experiences and frustrations out.  And, yeah it doesn’t have to reflect your skills or abilities. 

That being said, I can imagine the type of program and course of study you’re applying for can influence people’s responses.  For what it’s worth, I completed a two year program in May and really enjoyed it, and am really glad I did it.  Though it was hard during the process, there wasn’t ever a feeling of “why am I doing this, what is wrong with me.” Definitely a lot of finding new TV series to watch that were much more entertaining than papers…;-)  But I made it through, and I’m really glad I did it.

Like others have suggested, I agree that finding supportive people to encourage you is a really good route to take.  If you have any undergrad professors you feel especially supported by, reach out to them.  Or, good friends whose opinions you trust, ask them for feedback.  Or, sometimes reaching out to people who don’t know you well, but you know are supportive, are also good to speak with (wow that was a poorly written sentence).  But, yeah sometimes a neutral eye can give you a better perspective than someone you know well.

I hope that the process has a way of easing up and getting slightly less painful.  And I just want to acknowledge that it’s so awesome that you’re doing this!  Applying to grad school is a huge step, and it’s totally awesome that you’re doing it! 

Post # 16
Hostess
16196 posts
Honey Beekeeper

I think it’s worth mentioning that not ALL grad students are TAs. Instead of being a TA, I’m a GA—graduate assistant. Instead of teaching, I work 20 hours a week in marketing for one of the colleges, a real job that is relevant to my program and career aspirations. And my degree program is technically within the humanties. Just remember that not all schools are the same, not all programs are the same, and just because some people hate grad school, that doesn’t necessarily mean you will, too.

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