The Terror of Applying

I have a job ahead of me that I’ve been putting off for months because it scares me to death. To wit, I need to apply to grad school. I want to get my MA in TESOL (Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages) because it’ll open up a lot of doors for me. But the process of application itself is absolutely terrifying to me.

It’s partially why I had such a hard time finding a job, too. Applying is all kinds of awful. It opens you up to rejection. What if the people I list as references don’t actually like me that much? What if I look stupid on paper? What if I’m not good enough? Worse, what if I get the job, and it turns out I can’t do the job? That’s happened. It’s an order of magnitude worse than mere awfulness. Given that and the fact that I’d almost never hear from prospective employers, or that they’d drag me along a bit before giving the job to someone else, the effort-reward ratio for each application was badly unbalanced.

Same thing goes for this application. I know I need to do it, and that every day I delay makes things worse. I need to get moving if I don’t want to be living in Mom and Dad’s guest room for the next . . . ever. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a fearful thing. If I don’t apply, I can’t be rejected. And what if grad school’s not the right thing for me, anyway? I can’t say I’m really looking forward to taking classes again. See, it’s all moot if I don’t apply.

I’ve got pieces of my application ready. I need to gather everything, though, and do stuff like write an essay and crap like that. It’s just that I don’t want to. It scares me.

And I think that’s exactly the reason I most need to. If it’s not the right thing, it’ll all come out in the wash eventually. I need to face my fear, the way I did with my job applications (which I still hate). If anyone’s in academia or is otherwise really good at this sort of stuff, I’d sorely appreciate some help and encouragement.

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4 thoughts on “The Terror of Applying

  1. Big Sis says:

    Your niece is doing the same thing right now with scholarship applications… dragging her feet because she either thinks she won’t get chosen (so why go through the trouble) or because it is all to scary (the fact that college is suddenly such a close reality)! You two should encourage each other! 🙂

  2. Lois Swope says:

    As someone who has written and reviewed applications, let me say you are much brighter and verbally gifted than most applicants. Go for the gusto, get gutsy, ballsy even! Somebody will notice, maybe chuckle, maybe say, “Here’s an interesting one. Give her a call.” You’re unique. Sell it! Aps that pique somebody’s interest go a lot farther than the perfect ones (of which I think there are none!). Plus, getting gutsy beats fear all by itself. You’ve got the stuff. Use it!

  3. Christen says:

    Oh my goodness, you’ve GOT THIS!!! Can I just say as a former assistant director of admission in a graduate program that you fit that program to a T! Your experience alone makes you a shoe in. APPLY! You won’t regret it.

  4. kittyniciaian says:

    Consider this: not getting in would be disappointing, but wondering whether you could have would be a lifelong regret. Taking the risk is worth it when its for something you’re passionate about.

    Do it!

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