A picture of the Centre for Graduate Studies in the snow.

Application Results and Me: A Dramatic Re-telling

The girl sat at her desk. Behind her, the ceiling light flickered. Outside, the wind screamed. With a sudden loud buzz, the light died, leaving the room in total darkness, save for the glow of the white screen that kept her gaze locked. She reached for the track-pad, hand shaking. Any warmth she felt during the day had long since dissipated, seeking a home not destined for certain doom. The search engine popped up, and slowly she typed in the one word she hadn’t been able to get off of her mind since November. Outlook. As her email loaded, she thought she felt her heart beating quickly. But no, her heart had been ripped out and used to pay for her graduate school applications, and her lungs for summer research applications. After all of the build up; the terror that was sparked in her at the very thought of checking her inbox; when it finally came up on screen, it was like a whisper in the night. Of course, it was empty.
One thing that binds us all together is our shared history of applications. Applying to university, applying for jobs, applying for scholarships. You get the idea. And, unfortunately, it’s that time of year again. The above is a dramatic rendition of me checking my email every hour, hoping to have heard from one of the many places holding my application hostage. It’s even harder when I remember that some people have already heard from graduate schools. Some people already know what they’ll be doing to make money over the summer, and some people even have jobs lined up for September. I’m almost there, maybe. I’ve applied, but now I have to wait. And wait. And wait. And, let’s be honest, probably wait some more. I’ve always struggled with waiting to hear back on applications. Partially because I cower at the idea of somebody judging what is hopefully an accurate representation of me, and partially because I, like many, like to have some semblance of a plan for A drawing of a person staring at their computer (labelled not-macbook), a bead of sweat on their forehead.the next year or so. February/March may be the worst for applications, because most of the time they’ve all been submitted, and now you’re just waiting to hear back. It also certainly doesn’t help that we’re swamped with midterms. This year, since my brain has convinced me that grad school applications are the most important thing that will ever happen to me ever, I’ve been particularly bad at keeping my cool and managing stress. But I’ve done a little research, and there are a few things I’ve been telling myself that seem to be helping me deal with the waiting:
  • Reminding myself that it’s out of my hands now. I can’t change anything, so why waste energy worrying about it?
  • Even if I don’t get it, somebody else who is just as deserving and worked just as hard will. There’s always next year, and the year after, and the year after.
  • The people reading my applications have been in my exact position before, so the chances that they’ll harshly judge me and make fun of me is very slim- and also not fair to them.
  • If I hadn’t applied, the best that could happen is the same as the worst that could happen if I did apply. Now I’m confused.
This was a bit short, thanks to those pesky midterms I mentioned above, so I’d like to leave off at this: how do you handle the wait after submitting applications? Have you tried the tips I’ve been trying? How have they worked for you? Also… Can you see yourself writing a blog like this next year? Applications to join the Life At U of T blogger team have been posted on the CLN. You can click here and search 137545 to find out details, or 138150 to see the specific role I've had this year with the HealthyU Crew! I’m a bit of a hypocrite, aren’t I? I guess there’s also something exciting about applications…

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