How I dealt with my anxiety after submitting Graduate School applications

The minute after I submitted my graduate school applications -- I began to panic.

Here's some examples of what went through my mind within 24 hours post-submission:

  • What if my personal statement isn't good enough? I definitely forgot something in there!
  • What if my writing sample is too long? What if it's not my best work?
  • I didn't email my references, I should've e-mailed them again. What if they forgot?
  • What if my thesis supervisor changed his mind?
  • What if this was all for nothing and I am not going to get in?
  • Did I just waste 500 dollars?

If you cannot tell, I have pretty bad anxiety. So here are somethings I learned to help take care of my mental health during a stressful situation like this, and hopefully they can help you too.

1. Take a moment to journal

"S" Journal with a blue pen on top
My very well-loved Journal

One thing I've learned in my mental health journey is the important of acknowledging and validating the feelings you have within that moment. I may not feel comfortable to speak it out loud, but it helps to write it all out - my hopes and fears.

I got my journal from Chapters, however, you can get journals or even notebooks all over the place! Including dollar stores, supermarkets (that sell office supplies) and of course, Amazon.

2. Accept the reality of WHEN I will hear back

Calendar with hour glass next to it
Calendar and Hour Glass

Realistically, everything that I panicked about will not relevant until Late- February to Mid-March for most applications. Instead of spending every waking hour checking to see the status of your application - I know that I WILL hear back eventually.

I can definitely run through the check-list, keep an eye for emails but I accept that I will not know until I know. 

3. Show some appreciation for yourself

I just completed the next step in my journey, whether a professional or academic program, I should be proud for taking this step! You could be the first in your family to do this, you could be following your dreams!

Be proud of yourself.

4. Practice self-care

Beside side self-care set up , with a cup of tea, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (Book), a lavender scented candle and an essential oil diffuser filled with eucalyptus essential oil.
From Left to Right: cup of tea, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, lavender-scented candle, and a essential oil diffuser

In taking a minute to show some appreciation for me - it’s good to practice some self-care. Things that will help you become grounded and connected to the present. One thing I love is aromatherapy, so I’ll light a favourite candle, turn on my diffuser with some lavender or eucalyptus essential oils, and read an old favourite book! 

It is so very tempting to log-in everyday to see if my application status changed. However, would that be very good for my overall mental health? Probably not.

Best of luck to everyone applying to graduate programs this year - be proud and take care of yourselves. 

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