Saturday, August 17, 2019

Seniors suffer the stress of graduate school and job applications




Now is probably a good time for seniors to start freaking out about what to do after graduation. Seniors are getting emails about senior rings, senior portraits, degree applications, and more. Seniors can’t just focus on classes anymore. There are job searches or graduate school applications.

Either way, it’s a lot of pressure. I’m going to focus on the graduate school application process because that is more stressful for me. At least for seniors, if we don’t get a job offer right away, we can blame it on the economy. It’s nothing personal. Graduate school applications are entirely different.

They are looking at your grades, your jobs, your letters of recommendation, your personal statement, and your writing samples. All this needs to be looked at before programs decide if they like you or not. It’s similar to undergraduate applications. Try and show your stuff quickly and in the best way possible. No pressure.

So far, the process is still like the undergraduate application process. You need letters, scores, and GPA. The differences are still there. For instance, some programs require the GRE. It’s like the SAT, but—while the SAT is about 50 dollars—the GRE is a nice 185 dollars. Haven’t they heard of students eating cup noodles for weeks on end? It’s pretty pricey. The good news is that not all programs require it. Some may require it for the university’s requirements, but in reality don’t care about them.

My fingers are crossed that the programs I’m applying to are like that. Then there’s the letter of recommendation. No offense to high school, but professors seem a tad bit more busy nowadays and getting them to get those in on time is no easy feat from what I hear. Back in high school, it seemed like I could apply to a handful of schools and surely at least one school would accept me. It’s not quite that easy anymore. It’s even more competitive. It’s fighting for the last piece of turkey on Thanksgiving. You’ve already had your share, but you need just a little bit more. My apologies to the vegans and vegetarians out there. Substitute your own analogy. The point is that we’re getting thrown back into the application process, whether it’s for graduate school or for a career.

I have just gained more respect for freshmen. Everyone thinks it’s the easiest year because classes are definitely lighter. However, they’ve just come out of the whole application process. They’ve earned the freedom to enjoy freshman year without a ton of stress. Except for science majors. Sorry guys. I forgot what the process was like, and now all the stress is coming back with a vengeance. I can’t cruise through my whole senior year anymore and (even better) the applications are twice the cost. Apparently no one got the whole broke college student thing. They tell me this is what life is like. It’s pressure, not enough hours in the day, and a lot of caffeine. It’s a hell of a lot of fun, though.

For you job seekers, or people who just really cannot handle any more schooling, kudos to you for being brave enough to get into the world of employment. Or unemployment. Whatever floats your boat.

Granted I’m not applying to graduate school to avoid seeking employment, it sure would be a nice perk to get to delay it a little bit more. Get your resumes in order, stretch the truth a whole lot to make yourself seem more qualified, and work on your handshakes. We can’t get away with wimpy handshakes anymore. People judge your handshake just as much as your shirt. No fist bumps until you get the job.

Whatever path seniors are taking, it’s going to be stressful. I know graduate school and careers aren’t the only paths (and God bless whoever can take time off to do nothing), but applying to anything will always be stressful.

I wish I were applying to undergraduate school again. This is nostalgic writing. It’s a plea to my fellow seniors to get all their things together and get ready to crush this next month. Most applications are due in early December and, since Homecoming and Thanksgiving are coming up, there’s only so much time to get everything done on top of class work. Get some red bull, get some coffee, and try to sleep over Thanksgiving because finals start once these applications end. There’s never really a moment of downtime. All I can say about the hectic schedule is that seniors are going to really enjoy their last winter break. Let’s get together and commiserate. Or celebrate getting it all done. And then figure out jobs. And then figure out real life.

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