Graduate school is daunting for a lot of reasons: possibly crippling student loans, huge life change, interviews, the question of what you are doing with your life, etc. The application process has it's own challenges
The future looks full of possibility and potential, and you daydream of attending top schools. This is the stage where you Google pictures of Ivy League campuses, and maybe you look up the cost of real estate around your (reach) school. When thinking about where to apply, the sky is the limit! Harvard? Why not! Oxford? British and smart, so it sounds perfect! You tell yourself you are going to apply to 15 schools and all before the deadline. Aw, so cute…
After an entire college career of experiencing the fall out procrastination - whether through all-nighters or poor test grades or the following inevitable rush and panic - you think you would have learned your lesson. After all, you’re a kind-of-adult applying for the serious investment of graduate school. But sadly you have not. You may have learned about gender in the Canterbury Tales or how to build a robot, but that caveman part of your brain refused to learn how not to procrastinate. For this reason, you find yourself watching yet another cat video on the Internet. Speaking of which...
You make to-do lists, map deadlines, and realize just how much you have to get done and how little time you have to do it. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!?! Grab the brown paper bag and take some deep breaths.
Get to work
Panic does have one benefit, forced productivity. You are a whirlwind of statements of purpose, writing samples, begged letters of rec, and résumé edits.
Maybe that 2.9 GPA isn’t going to cut it for that Harvard application, but who cares! That’s one less application you have to do. At this point, that’s a victory in and of itself.
Panic again because deadlines
It turns out that procrastination has some serious, possibly life-altering consequences. Deadlines are in a month, then two weeks, and oh my goodness THERE IS NOT ENOUGH TIME!!!
Panic again because midterms and applications
So now that things are getting serious, life decides to hand give you the gift of midterms, and even if your professors insist it’s a celebration of learning, all you can see is the growing mountain of impossible tasks waiting to swallow you alive. But keep positive kids!
Power through because there is no other option
You plant yourself in the library or couch and you get it done. You write, you study, you send in countless seemingly insignificant pieces of academic and personal information, all while chugging espresso and devolving into an ever more hobo-like/crazy-mad-scientist-like state.
Cross the finish line
It’s the day before the deadline and you only applied to seven schools…OK, 6, but it’s over. You walk out of the library or emerge from your apartment and squint into the light. What is that and why so bright? Oh yeah, the sun. Good to see you again old friend.