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5 Reasons Applying to Grad School Is Terrifying (and Why I'm Loving It Anyway)


It’s been a while since last I posted, I know. I have an (almost) ironclad excuse, though: grad school applications. One of the super-fun parts of senior year is that you get to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life; because I’m a glutton for punishment (and, you know, LOVE literature and everything to do with it), I’ve decided that I want to go on to grad school and become a professor. I am extremely excited about the prospect of going to graduate school, but the application process is perhaps the most stressful thing I’ve as yet attempted to accomplish. Why, you might ask?

  1. Grad school is competitive. Really competitive. Most of the places to which I’m applying take approximately 5-10% of all applicants. That’s really, really scary.
  2. Applications are expensive. Like between $60-100, for the most part. Multiply that by ten schools (which is about how many one is recommended to apply), and that adds up pretty quickly.
  3. There isn’t a common app for these, like there is for many undergraduate programs. This means that you have to type in the same basic information over and over—and with that comes the potential to zone out and make silly mistakes. I’m combatting this one by limiting the amount of time I spend on my applications to about an hour, maybe two, a day.
  4. Each school’s requirements are different, but extremely similar. Again, I have a fear of making silly mistakes and RUINING LIFE FOREVER. Or something.
  5. The applications are made of many different little parts; some require certain test scores, some different ones; some require transcripts to be sent from the school, some want you to upload your own (which saves you $5, as it were); some want a personal statement, some want a statement of purpose and some want both; all want multiple letters of recommendations—again, just making sure that you cross every t and dot every i can be a little overwhelming.

Which begs the question, why am I even going through this? And the answer is simple. For my entire life, I’ve wanted to be a literature professor. To spend my days engaged with literature, with students, with a life of ideas. I am unbelievably excited at the prospect of spending five or six years acquiring an extremely in-depth, intense education in the subject I love above all others, and spending the rest of my life sharing this passion with others. Even if this process is utterly, completely terrifying. 


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