With Halloween upon us, it seems that all of the scariest things are coming back: haunted houses, scary movies, and quite possibly the scariest one of all – grad school applications.
Of course, this is only scary to a few of us seniors who have begun this daunting process. Everyone else is sitting back, relaxing, and laughing at all of us running around like madmen trying to get everything in on time.
Before we start getting that crazed look in our eyes that comes with staying up until 3 a.m. perfecting our resumes and personal statements, I want to reassure everyone that it will be ok.
Grad school is frightening, but for all of the best reasons. This is a place where we get to spend our time focused on something we truly enjoy doing. We will not have those required science, English, or math courses to weigh us down. We finally get to focus on our goals, passions, and what we hope to do for the rest of our lives.
But, this means that we have to work hard to get there. These schools do not want to waste their time looking at poorly written resumes and personal statements done in five minutes. They want to see that their applicants put a lot of effort into the application in order to prove to them that they really belong there.
We do not want to be accepted to a school that will accept lazy and barely finished work.
No, we want to be accepted to a school that will take pride in our accomplishments just as much as we do. That means that we have to work hard to prove that we do deserve to attend whichever school(s) we are applying to.
First, though, we need to step back and take a deep breath. This all may seem stressful right now, but once we are through, it will all be worth it.
It will be worth staying up late perfecting your application and running around making sure your reference letters are finished.
It will be worth drinking six cups of coffee just to get through studying for the GRE.
It will all be worth it once we receive that acceptance letter.
Before any of that happens, we all need to make sure not to get overwhelmed. When you look at everything you have to do, it seems like a lot to get done. If you break everything down, though, you can see that it really is manageable.
Break it down into an excel sheet, make a bunch of sticky note reminders, put your own deadlines in your calendar, do whatever makes the most sense to you.
It does not matter what your strategy is for getting it all done, just as long as you accomplish what you set out to do.
Remember that once this is all over, you can reward yourself by eating your weight in chocolate or spending a lot of money on something that is probably unnecessary because calories and bank account do not matter when you get accepted to your dream school.