The graduate school application process is fascinating and potentially terrifying. After you send in all of your applications you play a waiting game that can be just as stressful (maybe more so) than the school year itself. There is the anticipation, the disappointment, or possibly the joy. For those in each category, I’d like to share my experience with all three possibilities…When I first applied to grad school, I didn’t get into most programs, and the only one that I did get into, I couldn’t afford to go to. I was majorly disappointed, I falsely thought that this meant my life path would take a turn for the worse, or that I wouldn’t be able to achieve any of my life goals. To be perfectly honest. Not going to grad school the first time that I applied, was probably the best thing that could have happened to me.
It gave me a chance to reassess what “life goals” meant, and what was truly important to me. It gave me time to work professionally in my field. In essence, not going to grad school right away gave me perspective. When I applied again I would be ready, and focused, driven by a mission and clear purpose, which can be particularly useful, though not necessary, for success at the graduate level
When I received my acceptance letter from Columbia College Chicago, I was thrilled, I told everyone, constantly. I probably told some people twice. The level of joy I felt was overwhelming, I was so excited that I wanted to start immediately. Since I’m already being a bit dramatic, I’ll go ahead and say it. It felt like the first day of the rest of my life. The thing is, it wasn’t the first day of the rest of my life. Every day is, that’s an important thing to remember and here’s why:
When I was waiting for my letter, I wasn’t anxious, I wasn’t upset, I wasn’t apprehensive. I had my moments of, “If I don’t get into Columbia College Chicago, I don’t know what I’ll do with my life.” But for the most part I realized that this was just another potential path for me to take, It was a path that I really wanted to materialize, but if I didn’t get in, I would still breathe, the sun would still rise, and if I really wanted to, I could certainly apply again.
The great thing about being alive, is that you can keep trying. And that anticipation I felt was ultimately subsumed by the knowledge that Acceptance, with a capital A, is not the end all be all of life. Sure I wanted to get in. Sure I would have to change my direction in life considerably if I didn’t get that letter. But life isn’t neat and constantly quantifiable. Usually we experience disappointments. Sometimes we experience success. I’d like to think that the way we treat the people around us after either one of those events is the ultimately more important than the events themselves.
So when you receive your letter, one way or another, know that everything is going to be okay. If you did not make it this round, know that you are still an amazing person, and you have a lot of anticipation, disappointment and joy ahead of you. If you are lucky enough to have been accepted, welcome to Columbia, you have a lot of anticipation, disappointment, and joy ahead of you! Either way, today is the first day of the rest of your life, so make it good.