I asked a friend to give me some feedback on my personal statement because this thing is STRESSING ME OUT and thankfully he obliged, seeing as he is a good friend. One of the points he brought up was that I mentioned volunteering for 20SB. That’s a thing I spend my time doing, so I thought I’d mention it! Nothing wrong there.
But then he went beyond that and pointed out, “This implies you blog. Are you okay with them seeing your essays?”
At this point I panicked because I didn’t particularly think about that. I mean yes, I know anyone can figure out how to use Google and find this blog, and read all the wonderful and not-so-wonderful things I’ve written over the last nine-ish years. That’s one of the consequences of having a blog and I am well aware.
I think the panic stemmed from writing this application in general, as if “getting into grad school” is something my employability or success as a game maker is hinging on. It’s not, and I know that. But often I get caught up in others feelings. Does that make sense? I can talk to friends and family who might not understand what I’m trying to do, internalize their fears, and then become a deer in headlights until I shake it off.
Let’s look at another example to try and understand this. It’s kind of like how I “forgot how to cook” after my dad passed away. In college I learned how to cook because, hey, you have to do that when you move out of the dorms because otherwise you will die of hunger. Then when I moved back home, I suddenly didn’t know how to prepare a meal anymore. Just looking at that example, I notice some psychological factors:
- overanalyzing basic tasks
- not wanting to impose on others who use the same kitchen
- not having easy access to ingredients because I sold my car
- Mom cooks/I made more money than I need so I don’t need to cook
You can also couple this with the running joke of “Dan doesn’t know how to take care of himself!” So I’ve never forced myself out of this dumb psychological loop that’s trapped me for so long. I’m aware of it, but it’s hard to shake the habit unless I plan out how to counter each of those bullet points. Similarly for my application, my best weapon is planning.
Planning falls through when you, uh, can’t execute your plan. ;) So with the grad school app, I wanted it done weeks ago. And the psychological factors for that are thus:
- failed a class in undergraduate
- wasn’t accepted into graduate school the first time
- quit my job because I felt like it was driving me crazy
- My dad passing away is supposed to affect my grad school narrative?
I have to constantly remind myself that I failed a class by overextending myself, that I applied to grad school four years ago because I simply felt like it. The job I had? It was crazy, but that doesn’t mesh with the “don’t burn bridges” narrative I try to keep in my back pocket. And yes, my dad’s passing has changed my life forever, but it’s hard to succinctly explain such a lasting impact without giving the backstory for our relationship and my previous outlook on life.
I’m going to end this post and return to finishing my application. In the end, I do not care if admissions sees what’s written in this blog, even though I know there is no way they will read all ~1500 posts to get even a glimpse of the big picture. That’s not their job. Their job is to figure out if I would be a good fit for their program, and long-term a good ambassador for their school.
And I know I’m being silly about some of these basic tasks. No worries, I’m getting better at catching them. :)