My Top Five Fears About Grad School

These super angsty luxury problems have been chasing themselves around my head for a few days now so I thought I’d get them on paper …or on pixel… just to give my subconscious something else to fight off for a while.

5. Fear: I don’t know how to do anything with loans and money and will probably die alone and broke and soon, sans degree

Solution: Well, if you’re dead, there’s no debt! Not for me, anyway. Sorry, surviving suckas!

4. Fear: I don’t have anything to Saaaayyy and everyone will knowwww

Solution: If your MFA workshops are anything like these MFA workshops, nobody will notice. Worst case scenario, dress it up with cool fonts and colors like you did in 4th grade when your epic Footsteps ghost story was 2 pages too short.

3. Fear: I’ve never been a sober student (The three month limp to the undergrad finish line excepted) so how will I fit in with my fellow students if we’re not getting hammered together every day morning weekend? Have you forgotten how I hate everyone? And as important, how everyone probably hates meeee?

Solution: You can either a) find other sober students or b) accompany drinking students to their drinking establishment and leave when they get drunk or you get bored. And then there’s always c) don’t abandon your life and all your current friends just because you’re in grad school. People might hate you. They might hate you because you’re awesome or because you are annoying. This interferes with your plan to isolate yourself in a Morningside Starbucks and write the next creative nonfiction masterpiece how?

2. Fear: I’m not meant to have nice things. Me picking out Columbia was like deciding I’d really love to live in a hit on the side of Macchu Picchu. Sounds lovely, but we all know that I belong somewhere with bodegas since I am incapable of foraging. And here somebody’s handed me a key and a schedule of hut-side recycling days for my own little dream come true.

Solution: Let’s study up on Columbia’s flaws so you realize it’s just as deserving of your crap as you are of its crap! Should we maybe work on self-esteem at some point? Why? Did someone invent a crazybrain extractor? Then you’re just rolling a Sisiphusean boulder up Macchu Picchu. Also? Sometimes? You earn nice things. DEAL WITH IT.

In the words of Helen Morgandorfer, “We tell you you’re perfect all the time – so what’s WRONG with you?”

1. Fear: That I will actually be good at it. And then have to work to stay good at it. That I will do well in grad school, that people will like my writing and that I will inadvertently make something of myself and have to keep meeting my own newly developed standards of excellence.

Solution: Let’s try to remember that you’re not even at the market to buy a horse, let alone ready to stick a cart in front of it. Take it from Southpark:

Step 1: Collect underpants,

Step 2:                   ,

Step 3: Profit.

One impossible dream at a time. Last month’s dream was to get accepted. This month’s dream can be to hold off on going totally bonkers. Next month we’ll figure out how to pay for it, and pencil in paralyzing fear for May. Maybe we can push it till August if the Mets get off on a good tear.

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