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Choosing Between Two Grad Schools

The last 4-5 months has probably been the most stressful time in my life so far. That was when I began the tedious process of taking the GRE, and getting through the application process for grad school. From figuring out what I actually want to do with my life and finding a program that fits that and won’t cost me my hypothetical first-born child, to taking almost two months to write my personal statement — seriously the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write (shout out to my rad friends who edited it a million times), I can now proudly say I was accepted to both schools that I applied to and have chosen where I’ll be spending the next 3 years of my life. (cue the celebratory dancing)

The only downside to this is now I have found it extremely difficult to maintain my usual level of self-discipline when it comes to school… if you think senior-itis is bad now, just throw in a grad school acceptance and you won’t even care about going to class anymore.

Me being me, I did an insane amount of research (before I was even accepted anywhere) on how to choose between two different schools, because having the option of both and having to choose one seemed very overwhelming. Personally, having multiple options to choose from for anything in life automatically makes decision-making more difficult for me, because I’m literally the most indecisive person you’ll ever meet. I realize this is a great problem to have, but when it’s basically your entire future wrapped up in one decision it can end up being very stressful.

When I was deciding on where to go for undergrad, my main priority was getting as far away from home as I could (sorry mom). Once I got into App, I knew without a doubt this is where I wanted to be. I was so sure, that I didn’t even visit campus once until my orientation weekend. Only by the grace of God did I not end up some where completely horrible and wrong for me, but when it came time to choose a grad school I wanted to make sure I was making a more educated decision. Doing a quick Google search of how to choose a grad school will provide you with all of the information like cost, location, class size, etc. However, it’s a little harder to find the things that helped me decide, like how the people there treat you and make you feel when you’re around them, and if you feel at home and comfortable there. All of which are things you can’t truly know until you visit the campus. So, I spent my spring break visiting both schools that I got into, and I am so glad I did. Before visiting, I was almost 100% sure I wanted to go to the second school I visited, that I ended up not choosing. It was smaller, in a location that I thought I would love, and the people that I had been in contact with seemed so welcoming and nice. But when I actually got there and saw the campus, I realized I had never felt so out of place before, and I absolutely hated it. I just had a gut feeling that that school was definitely not where I was supposed to be, and I would never have known that if I hadn’t gone to visit. Looking back, I think I knew as soon as I visited the first school that that was where I was meant to go, I just hadn’t realized it yet (and I wanted to be fair and give the other school a chance too). Instead of feeling overly excited and happy about it, I felt very at peace and comfortable when I was there. Call it fate, a gut feeling, or whatever you want, but when you’re in the right place where you’re really supposed to be, you’ll know. 

 

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