Grad School, Not Death
“C’s get degrees!” -everyone.
It’s official, guys. We’re seniors. It’s our last year, and it feels like we’re slowly watching our lives crumble into the end of the world. Seriously. I tell people that I’m a senior like I’d tell people that my kidneys are failing.
But there are some serious perks to senior year, too. You can walk into the bar on any night of the week and run into a sea of familiar faces. You can bake cookies every Monday night, because you have your own apartment with a kitchen now. You can really focus on the relax and enjoy it part of college, because you have a legitimate reason to. There’s only a year left, after all.
(We’ve made time to have fun, too).
A lot of my friends are starting to realize that after this, grades don’t really matter. So there’s less focus on nailing that presentation you’ve got on Friday morning or making it to every session of your econ professor’s office hours. Because C’s get degrees, and degrees get jobs. So who really cares anymore?
I care. Compulsively, actually.
I’m applying to grad school, which has been made out to be the worst/scariest/most bleak process that’s ever plagued a human soul.
It’s not that bad of a process, truthfully. But it is a process that generates a lot of hype. When I started my undergraduate speech therapy program as a first-semester freshman, I was given more doomsday predictions than you’d find in the trailer for The Day After Tomorrow. I’d made it into college, but apparently graduate programs were infinitely more selective. Impossibly selective. I was told, “Like, no one gets in. No one. You need like a 4.0… You have to like invent a language or discover a new planet or something…”
So that brings us to this year, when we finally start to apply. And we’re terrified.
I’ve known the girls in my major for more than three years now. (Seriously. I met four of them the summer before our freshman year at orientation, and we signed up for all the same classes for our first semester. Iconic friendships in the making.) They’re all badass neurology-mastering, child-wrangling, and sometimes world-traveling ladies.
In addition to 98% of this major being female, the majority of us are also pretty organized, type-A students. So being told that we needed to keep a 4.0 or we were doomed did not sit well with us.
It seems like all we talk about is grad school, exchanging whispers at the beginning of classes.
Have you taken the GRE yet?
Who’re you asking for letters of recommendation?
Does this entire process make you want to throw up too??
It all feels very secretive, and very negative. No one’s talking about how they’re going to knock their applications out of the park. No one’s excited about applying to a school they’d love to go to. No one’s optimistic about taking the GRE.
But why not? If we don’t deserve to go to these programs, then who does? We’re the ones who’ve been studying the anatomy, volunteering with screaming children, and generally kicking ass in all things speech-and-hearing-sciences. We’re hardworking. We’re smart. We’re organized. And we’ve learned so much during these few short years, both in classes and in life-lessons. I think we should have a little more faith in ourselves.
Because grad school isn’t the apocalypse; it’s the beginning of something really exciting. The beginning of our professional careers, and the last step to becoming real-life Speech-Language Pathologists. (How fucking exciting/scary is that?) It’s clinical experience that goes beyond memorizing lines of a textbook. It’s new friends, and maybe a brand-new place. And so much more to learn.
Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed about the whole grad school process, ask yourself this. So if not us, the ladies who’ve been killing it these past three years, then who? Who else are they going to accept? Is there a secret community of super-human future SLP’s with 4.0 GPA’s and 6 different internships out there somewhere hiding? Hopefully not.
We don’t have control over the people who will read our applications, but we’ve been working hard for the past four years, and I think it’ll pay off. (This goes for anyone applying to any type of grad school, not just my speech people).
Last week I took the GRE, and people treated me like I was going off to war. I got nice texts, hugs, m&m’s, and encouraging notes left on my pillow. When I’m overwhelmed or spent, I tend to talk at a mile a minute until I run out of breath, and Hannah usually just laughs at me. That night after I word vomited on her in our apartment, she sighed and brought me downstairs to the bar to buy me a beer. We laughed into our glasses about grad school and jobs and real life and how everything is going to be okay.