PhD panic help

(not related to the rest of the post, but there’s a snowfall on my WordPress homepage! awesome!)

Are you too calm about your PhD applications? Have you filled every form, ordered every transcript, written every letter and edited every writing sample? Are you comfortable with your referees and trust them implicitly? Are you confident about your ability to be admitted everywhere you are applying?

Here are some new and innovative ways to make yourself panic about your PhD applications:

  • Obsessively look at your application status at least once every hour. The due date hasn’t even passed by yet, you KNOW there isn’t going to be an answer until at the very least March, but still, you find some kind of comfort at looking at the “decision pending” notice.
  • While you’re in your application status page, worry about your transcripts (ordered 3 weeks ago) not having been received yet. They might have, but since departments get so many applications, the change of document status isn’t necessarily being done the day they receive the mail.
  • Remember in a flash of obsessive anxiety that on one of your transcript order AND your envelope containing your writing sample, you haven’t written “Graduate Admissions”, even though the rest of the address is correct. Then go back to number 2 and worry that they’ll never actually process your stuff because it’s been addressed to the right department, but not specifically “graduate admissions”. Send them an email to ask them if it’s gonna cause any delays, at noon Pacific Time on a Friday afternoon (it’s 3PM over there).
  • Annoy your referees by sending them emails every second week about which letter is due when. Profs are so busy, they might forget, even if as early as September you sent them a very detailed reference schedule with all the dates and the places to send them. Then think about the effect that annoying them might have on their actual letters, and worry even more.

These are my best suggestions for now; I’ll be able to add more as time goes by. Feel free to make your own suggestions as to how to stress yourself out over something you’re more or less powerless about!


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