applying to grad school vs applying to college

Which One is Scarier?: Applying to Grad School vs Applying to College

There are some differences between applying to grad school vs applying to college. I’m 90% sure that I am going to start applying to PhD programs this fall, which would mean that I would conceivably be starting a PhD program in August/September of 2017. Right now, I’m still researching grad schools and trying to decide which ones I should be applying to.

I’ve been comparing the process of choosing and applying to grad schools compared to choosing and applying to colleges, in terms of scariness and stress-induction. I can’t decide if this feels more or less scary than applying to college. I feel a lot of anxiety about it, but I’m not sure if this is more, less, or equal to the amount of anxiety I felt back when I was a senior in high school.

In the more scary column…

  1. I’m looking at schools much further away from family than I was for college. Like 1000+ miles further.
  2. I hated my college for the first semester, and I’m afraid that I will be repeating that experience.
  3. I’ll actually be living in the town/city/cornfield where my grad school is located, rather than on an insular campus that contains an entire ecosystem.
  4. My boyfriend is probably coming with me, which means that there are 2 people’s opinions to take into consideration, and 2 people who need to be happy with the move.
  5. It’s way harder to transfer in grad school than in undergrad.
  6. When I was applying to college, I could be all “It doesn’t matter where I go or what I major in because I can still go to grad school for anything!” But now that I’m in the going to grad school phase, it seems like the stakes are higher.

In the less scary column…

  1. I’ve gone away for college and spent a semester studying abroad in Europe, so I theoretically should be cooler with change by now.
  2. Hopefully there will be less strife and drama among first-year grad students than there was among freshmen at my undergraduate school.
  3. I won’t have to live in a dorm, with a random roommate.
  4. My boyfriend is probably coming with me, which means that I’ll have someone I already know with me.

So overall, is it more or less scary to apply to grad school compared to college?

Based on those lists, I guess it looks like I’m more freaked about applying to grad school than I was applying to college many moons ago. But then again, isn’t what’s happening in the present moment always the omg-scariest-most-stressful-thing-ever-and-how-will-I-ever-survive??? Is this just an example of the grass being greener on the other side? Looking at the past with rose-colored glasses?

Do you usually find that whatever is happening right now is scarier or more stressful than what you’ve already been through in the past?

Psst! The featured image up there at the top of this post is from Gratisography, an awesome source for free images, all of which are photographed by Ryan McGuire, and many of which have a bit more character than your average stock photo.

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