1 supporter
How I Got into Graduate School with Anxi ...

How I Got into Graduate School with Anxiety: The application period indecisiveness

Jul 15, 2022

Are you having anxiety attacks over your low confidence and your indecision to apply for a Master's degree? If you are, then I am here to show you how I applied for a Master's degree in the best university in my country, with crippling anxiety eating me inside and out. Hopefully, by the end of this blog post, I get to convince you to just GO AND GET THAT MASTER'S DEGREE, or, better yet I hope I get to take out that anxiety; throw it out of the window, and again GO AND GET THAT MASTERS DEGREE!

If you are not planning to take Master's but you are reading this to look for ways to kill your nerves, then please continue reading on! This blog post is here to help everyone.

Panel Interview Day: Picture taken at a stop while waiting for a cab

Look at how nervous I am in that picture! HAHAHA Anyway, without further ado, let me tell you something about my anxiety to provide context to this post and I will tell you what I think about it.


While others graduate from college already quite sure of what to do next in their lives, I am one of those who actually have no idea what to do next. In other words, I am in the lost-in-the-valley-of-darkness-and-despair squad. Yes, I successfully survived college and yes, I had a very cool course. But it’s Humanities and it’s a very broad field of study that by the end of college I didn’t know exactly where I stand! I thought I could go for literature, but that doesn’t have much practical impact; I could go for art but that’s even less practical. I could go for history but that demands much reading and memorization. The long and short of it, I JUST couldn’t decide! I saw every possible downturn each decision could lead me to and it crippled me for 2 years! I just worked and worked and worked while at the same time procrastinating on deciding whether to go and specialize on something in graduate school or actually start and live life on meager income hoping to get recognized one day for my Shakespearean acts or Van Gogh-ish art. In the end of it all, I thought “What the shocks am I doing?? I’m not being cautious and analytical here. I’m just being plain scared, gutless and lazy!” Gosh I swear it brought much self-deprecation and anxiety.

And then there was this constant pressure from my dad to take up law, which is cool but it seemed too demanding and stressful in my imaginative assessment. Mind you, I seriously considered that as an option for months that one day I consciously caught myself subconsciously thinking that maybe I should just get into Law and if things don’t roll out the way it’s supposed to, I can always just blame dad for pushing me towards the wrong path. But NO, I didn’t want to do that because that wasn’t me. That WAS my freaking anxiety turning me into such a lunatic trying to shift blame towards my dad. So I didn’t. I didn’t go to law. If I ever go to Law, I thought it ought to be out of my own accord.

Now, let’s stop. That’s all I have to say about my anxiety because if I continue, it’s not going to end and I just don’t want to get there again. But then you see the picture here, of a crazy woman talking herself in and out of a decision. Even now that I look back at it, I get headaches at how much BS I put myself into. I don’t want that to happen to you. So if you are undergoing that same thing, please, just snap out of it. Anxiety is not there to help you. It’s there to stop you from thinking straight. You are not saving yourself from possible pains of wrong decisions, because the truth is, you are hurting yourself now!


As cheesy and simple as it gets, and you might think “What’s the point of this long article then?” because of my simplistic advice, but the script people in your life recite every time you rant to them about how stressed you are, and that little inner voice from within you that tells you to just relax, ARE RIGHT.


Have faith.

That’s how I did it. It did not get rid of my anxiety and I’m not saying it will get rid of yours. But it made me move out of faith that the chance things might go in favor of me is just as big as the chance things might go against me. It pulled me out of that little dark corner I chose for myself and moved me closer to the center stage where all the real action happens. One quote by Jens Voigt that encapsulates this point is this:

If you try, you might loseIf you don’t tryyou lose for sure.”

I think that sentence alone can bring sense to anyone who reads it. But I know that it’s easier said than done. One thing I realized from my two years of immobility and indecision though and it totally jives with that quote is that, it never gets easy unless you realize that having doubts isn’t any easier. So I highly suggest that you stop overthinking. By now I think you’ve already thought everything that can possibly be thought of, and trust me you wont get any further than that. All you have to do at this point is ask yourself a few questions, and try to answer them as simple as you can. Don’t worry too much and just answer.

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. What do I ultimately want in life?

  2. What should I do in order to get that want?

  3. If I get that, will that lead me towards happiness?

If the answer to number 3 is yes, then go and do it. It doesn’t matter what your answer in number 2 is, just do it! Of course there are proper ways to get what you want, and you ultimately should follow that. But what I’m saying is, if things don’t go well in your first attempt, or if you’re not that good at number 2, then don’t stress yourself over it. Just go and go and go for the goal! That is so much better than thinking “Oh but this might happen, and what if that happens, and what if I fail, what if they laugh at me etc…” Of course I’m not telling you to be reckless and stupid, but don’t be too cautious either. Extreme cautiousness, I’ve realized, is just another word for fear. And the last thing you want to happen is to be paralyzed by fear.

I am not a psychologist, but I do try to read psychology and neurology stuff -partly to make sense of my own anxiety, partly out of pure curiosity – and from the stuff I read, indecisiveness and fear of the unknown is nothing but a negative use of a wonderful psychological gift. The ability to see future possibilities and opportunities. Instead of looking at the vastness of space as an exciting playground full of wonderful rides, fearful people see it as million structures that ‘might’ kill them. Both can be true in reality. Carousels might suddenly break, Ferris Wheels might suddenly roll out of it’s course. It’s east to be scared by those scenarios. But the thing that should be asked is, “What are the chances of that happening?” To fearful people, the chances of negative things happening are magnified and exaggerated. To them the chances of the Ferris Wheel to roll out of its course might actually be 6:4 or 9:1 depending on the severity. The key thing here is that at the same time, it might actually not happen at all. This is just an analogy, but you get what I mean by it.

Another thing I also learned is that, seeing possibilities of what could go wrong and what could go right is a mental activity. There are regions in the brain that work in order to assess those possibilities and causalities. But the process of deciding what to do, or when to act, isn’t a purely mental process. It actually involves gut feel or instinct. The decision making process therefore, involves not just what the most logical thing is to be followed but also what is wanted and desired. So when you feel anxiety and it cripples you, and you think you’ve already reasoned your way in and out of your situation, the next kindest thing you can do for yourself is to follow your gut. Most of the time, if something is truly what you want, you will instinctively go for it and your mind will gravitate towards it no matter how long it takes.

If you do decide though to not follow what you want despite what your mind, heart, and soul tell you so, then don’t stress over not getting it. There is this other saying and I forgot who said it, but I’m quoting it anyway:

“If you don’t fight for what you want, don’t cry for what you lost.”

I think that’s very powerful and eye-opening. Whatever your decision is, accept the consequences. Live with it. Whether you decide to wallow in fear and anxiety or choose to have faith in yourself and do the locomotion, is up to you to decide. But one thing is true. Fear is only in the mind, and you are bigger than your fears.


As for me, I still suffer from anxiety and constant worrying. But I already know that fear is nothing but a devil in my brain making me believe untrue things. What I did to get out of the rut? I just made a leap of faith. I applied for an MA program in Asian Studies. At first I felt restricted applying to just one course. I thought it might actually limit the stuff I want to do in life. I want to paint. I want to sing. I want to be a psychologist. I want to be a lot of things. But at the same time I also love learning about Asian culture and studying everything about Japan. It used to scare me to apply for Asian Studies because I felt it’s the same as closing doors for other exciting things, and I might actually not be successful in that chosen field either. But now I know that Asian Studies was not taking me away from doing all those things I want to do. It’s a step towards one of the things I love. I learned that I can’t do everything all at the same time and that I have to prioritize. I can sing and paint on the side. Nobody is stopping that. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t specialize in Asian Studies. It’s just a matter of choosing what I want and doing it. Sticking to my guns. Who knows? After it, I might study art next! Or psychology! Or literature!

See? The difference now is that I see things as possibilities and not detriments. And I’ve never been any happier. I still am a worrier, but I’m the best me now. I’m happy and very proud of that. And guess what?

I used to think I wont get accepted in my school of choice especially for a MASTERS degree, because I thought I suck and I’m not that smart to get in the BEST school anyway. I’m introverted. I’m awkward. I’m all sorts of negative things. But I got in! Despite my lack of confidence in my essay exam (which I never got to see the result), and despite the frantic beating of my heart in front of panel interviewers, I got in. They thought I qualify and they think I am awesome. Would you look at that! If I chose to wallow in anxiety, I wouldn’t even have submitted my application form and I wouldn’t be where I am now. And do you know where I am now?

Here on my seat. A full-fledged GRADUATE!!! I did not just successfully get in Graduate school. I finished it with flying colors!

My little experiment on that day, awkwardly and hesitantly getting a cab to go to the university to submit a freaking ‘trash’ of a Curriculum Vitae, proved that anxiety is just anxiety. Fear is just fear. And they are unreal.

So if you’re still thinking you’re not fit for a graduate program, trust me. Just do it! You wont lose a thing. There’s only something to gain.

Enjoy this post?

Buy mindsetguru a coffee


More from mindsetguru