To the Columbia College Chicago graduate student applicants awaiting acceptance letters: I do not envy you.
I remember the jitters from waiting to know something, anything, about the direction my life could potentially go in. In the downtime, I was afraid to plan for anything. I didn’t want to actively gear up to move somewhere in case I didn’t get accepted anywhere. I didn’t want to make long-term plans/commitments either, though, in case I did get accepted.
So what should you do in this meantime, in between the time you applied and the time you find out and decide what’s next? (Did anyone notice the poetry, there? I think my lit class is rubbing off.)
Well I think you should be proactive.
1) Keep writing creatively.
(This is honestly something I didn’t do. After I sent in my writing samples, I didn’t finish another creative writing project until I had homework for my Fiction Workshop class.) The more you write, though, the more you have to build from.
If you can, set begin setting aside something each paycheck to cover potential postdecision decisions. If you get accepted somewhere and have to relocate, your savings can cover rent, deposits, moving fees, or, at the very least (but definitely important!), groceries. (If you are relocating to Chicago and supporting yourself, you will understand the struggle for groceries).
3) Research Chicago and the other cities where you’ve applied.
I’m sure you did plenty of preliminary research already. But don’t stop. Stay-up-to-date on city statistics, news, neighborhoods, etc. so that when you receive your letter you can make the most informed decision possible.
4) Occasionally peruse apartment search sites.
If planning to live off campus, occasionally binge on websites like Zillow or Rent.com. Get a feel for typical rent in different neighborhoods in cities you’re interested in. Cross-reference those neighborhood rent prices with other neighborhood intel, like closest grocery stores and other resources. This well make life after receiving a decision letter a lot less stressful.
5). Enjoy life as much as possible.
Ultimately, life’s only going to go the way it was meant to go anyway. You’ve already done the best you could with your application and writing sample. You can’t control this leg of the process, so don’t stress. Have fun with the life unfolding around you. Once you’re accepted, who knows when you’ll be able to breathe guilt-free again?