Why Worry Now?

worryWhy Worry Now? I stole the title from one of my favorite Dire Straits songs. I absolutely love Dire Straits, their music reminds me of childhood days spent with my dad, riding in his car to pick up parts from the auto store, just me and him. As a middle child of four (I have an older sister and younger twin brothers) I rarely got to spend much time with my dad but when I did I always treasured it and I remember it fondly each time I hear the soothing vocals of Mark Knopfler. That said, the lyrics from “Why Worry” reverberated around my head today after an hour long panic session as I struggled to put together a well worded and unassuming e-mail to one of the professors at a grad school I am applying to.

This past week was dedicated to tailoring the statement of purpose I have composed to each of my six school choices. With four down I then came to the University of Reno. One of the professors I had hoped to learn very much from is now retired and so I spent a good hour or so composing a polite and unassuming e-mail to him to ask for his recommendations on a potential advisor for the upcoming school year, he recommended one of his peers. After sending a brief thank you e-mail I set to work composing my e-mail to said recommended faculty member. I can’t tell you how many times I edited said e-mail, trying to get my point across without seeming rude or assuming that said professor would share my interests. I worried as I wrote that he may not have any interest in me at all and would simply reply with an “I’m sorry but I can’t help you.” I finished my e-mail and sent it off, briefly pausing on the ‘send’ button in panic as I scanned the e-mail one last time for errors. I sent it with fingers crossed.

As I sit here now, about to begin again on my final two statement of purpose edits I wonder why I worry so much about these things. Last week as I panicked to Queen Bee that I had to write to faculty at my potential graduate program, she told me that I shouldn’t panic. She told me that these were people too, and she was right. At some point each and every person I will encounter on this path to my PhD will have been where I am and the truth is that they are all people too. It’s easy at times to get swept up in to the ‘they’re there to judge me’ state of mind but in reality it’s far more constructive to believe that they are ‘there to help me’ instead, because they are.

Being a non-traditional student is helpful when it comes to setting yourself in a new frame of mind. Looking at conversing with professors when you are going on 29 versus going on 19 is a lot less daunting. Whether it’s the fact that these highly educated people are not so much older than you or whether it’s the fact that you have had time to build your own life and your own support system at home – your ‘secure base’ if you will – there is definitely something a lot more manageable about being an older student pursuing a graduate career…at least when it comes to relating to others.

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4 Responses to “Why Worry Now?”

  1. 1
    DG says:

    it is always a tough call emailing professors but they are people too who deserve to know what you’re experiencing and your critiques of a certain program. what kind of programs are you applying to?

    • Amy says:

      I’m applying to mostly Social Psychology programs being that very few universities actually have forensic psychology programs but each of the six programs I picked have faculty that are conducive to the forensic application of social psych.

  2. 2
    Kelly says:

    Good for you! I hope to one day pursue a master’s degree and it is inspiring that you are applying to schools that are a distance away and I think it would be fascinating for the professors to read from their future (hopefully!) students.

    I love the phrase “why worry now” also – plan to try to use it more in my life!

  3. 3
    yefi says:

    you worry because you care and this is your dream and i say good for you! shows diligence!

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