The professor looked down at my personal statements, each changed just a little depending on the school. She asked: “How do you keep track of it all?”
“I forget people’s names.” I replied. Then she laughed because she did it to.
This semester is my last at Puget Sound so I have been trying to figure out what comes next. The question what comes next is a scary one for any senior. The fear it brings on is almost cliché by now. It feels a little like being the guy in the Matrix when he is getting ready to take the blue pill. Only in this case the blue pill is mandatory. You can’t stay in college forever. One day you’re going to have close your dorm room door behind you, give your keys to the RA, and then ask them back because you realize you forgot your shower caddy. But after that you’re still going to have to leave. You are going to have to answer the question of what’s next.
Me, I’m applying for a lot of things, both jobs and graduate schools, and hoping I get one of them. So far, this has been like crawling up a mountain of paper work. I have documents on my computer titled “List of Schools and Deadlines,” “Schools and Codes for the GRE,” “Transcript Policies,” and “Record of Submission.” After I finish writing this post I’m going to have to go to the registrar and ask them to email me a copy of my unofficial transcript because the one I tried getting off the UPS website wouldn’t upload to the graduate school website. Good times.
My strategy for dealing with this is three fold.
One) I forget people’s names. I called my suitemate Aidan instead of Adrian multiple times even after I’d been living with him for half a semester. Anything in my brain that is non-essential gets jettisoned.
Two) Writing myself little notes on scraps of paper and leaving them on my desk to find later. Some notes I have now are “GPA—3.82 + Transcripts” and “letters.” The first is a reminder for me to make sure that I entered my GPA as 3.82 on all of my applications. The second is a reminder to make sure that each of my professors who I asked to write me a letter of recommendation has the correct link.
Three) I take deep breaths. I had a stressful day yesterday and I woke up in the middle of last night with a huge knot in my chest. So I concentrated on breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth. To be honest, I could benefit from doing this more often. It gets lost in the scuffle sometimes. Over Thanksgiving break, that’s what I’m going to do next. I’m going to breathe.