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A Blog Post.

Starting Up PhD Applications Again...

An owl or a visual representation of stress... you choose!

It's that time of year again and the mad crunch of getting applications ready and finalized is upon us. I don't know how many of you have had this experience, but it is indeed rough. You spend sleepless nights ruminating about how much work you have to do, how little you have done, and how much time you've spent on Facebook. You stress over contacting unfamiliar professors, you read articles about horror stories in academia, and eventually you question your life decisions. Why does it always lead to questioning life decisions?

This bleak picture may lead an outsider to ask why... why do we put this much pressure on ourselves? Well that I cannot answer for everyone, but I know for me it is the pursuit of knowledge. It is a hunger, something indescribable, something that burns deep within, a passion, a calling, an efficient use of your talents put into motion, flow - it's all of this! The saying goes "when you do what you love, it doesn't feel like work" and that is exactly it! All of the stress, nerves, second-guessing, etc. doesn't feel as bad as it sounds because at the end of the day we're doing what we love. For me, I love the pursuit of knowledge, gaining new insights, and becoming more well-rounded with each new discovery. I love researching, learning, and teaching.

The point of this blog is to provide advice, so I should probably do that. My advice is, when applying to PhD programs, remember why you're applying, remember that you're not being personally judged (even though at times it may feel like that), and as always try to put your best foot forward, but don't get mad at yourself if you stumble.

That's my advice, but I'd also love to hear yours. If you're reading this and have tips of your own, please share in the comments.


- J

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