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MIT student blogger Mollie B. '06

Finally, a free minute by Mollie B. '06

Well, the last week and a half has been busy, to say the least. I always try to put too much on my plate at once: I was working full-time at the lab, participating in cheerleading recruitment and tryouts, and helping with Macgregor rush and in-house rush for my entry. Somehow I got everything done, and we got a great group of freshmen in the entry, as well as a big group of new cheer recruits, but I am just thankful that today is a day completely free from obligations.

So today I (like many of you, I assume) am spending the day working on applications. Most of the grad schools to which I’m applying are setting up their online applications this weekend, so I am struggling to write a charming, yet substantial statement of purpose that will make the admissions committees fall madly in love with me. Or something like that. At the moment, I’m pretty sure my statement of purpose will have mainly a soporific effect. (SAT/GRE word!)

I guess, strictly speaking, I don’t have as much of a right to worry as you guys do. Getting into graduate school in biology is not, in fact, all that hard; it’s a lot harder to get into law school or medical school than it is to get into PhD programs in biology. And because not as many people apply, it’s a lot easier to get into top-flight science graduate programs than it is to get into top-flight undergraduate programs.

This does not really make me feel all that much better.

I get the impression that a lot of smart people (and, by extension, a lot of people at MIT) are secretly convinced that they are not actually as smart and competent as people think they are. (MIT’s Careers Office held a workshop on this topic in March, actually.) Like many other victims of this Impostor Syndrome, I have this idea in my head that I got into MIT because I’m lucky, got an excellent UROP because I’m lucky, got a good GRE score because I’m lucky… and that maybe in grad school applications that luck will run out. Stupid illogical brain.

I guess for me, like for you, there’s nothing left to do but get back to that application…

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