Post-Decision Depression

kroner
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Post-Decision Depression

Postby kroner » Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:04 pm

So I just decided to attend Georgia Tech over USC and Boulder and sent all the emails conveying this. It seems like most people are really excited when they decide where to go, but I just feel bad. Really really bad.

There were things I liked about all three school, and I'd been putting off taking the plunge. Now that I have, I can't help but mourn the options that were open to me just hours ago that have now been extinguished. I really think there's something wrong with me.

Ft437w
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Re: Post-Decision Depression

Postby Ft437w » Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:30 pm

You're definitely not alone in feeling this way. In the last month, I visited a couple of schools (having rejected two more outright) and really loved a lot of things about both. What gave me comfort when it came time to pick one over the other was hearing from a current grad student who, when he made the decision to go to the school that I ended up choosing, he felt for months that he had made the wrong decision. Ultimately, by the time the next application season rolled around, though, he had settled in, found his stride in classes, and just felt like he ended up where he belonged.

I've sometimes felt a bit sad when, after a period of excitement and energy, things naturally settle down and maybe this is what's going on with you, too. Just be happy that, not only are you a member of the small accepted-into-physics-graduate-school club, but you even had options on where you ended up.

quark314
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Re: Post-Decision Depression

Postby quark314 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:41 pm

I'm feeling the same way. I narrowed it down to two schools with relatively little difficulty. The two are roughly equal in overall physics reputation but school A is somewhat stronger in my likely field. But I like the city that school B is in better, liked the overall vibe of the department there and clicked more with the other students. I know school A is the right decision for my career and I've decided that's my priority. But I'm just really not excited at all now about starting this next piece of my life, and that's really disappointing. This was supposed to be an exciting new chapter, not a cold calculated career move. I should be grateful; they're both excellent schools and I'm lucky to have such an opportunity. But yeah, it's been really hard. I still haven't officially pulled the trigger. But I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one feeling conflicted.

YellowFlower
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Re: Post-Decision Depression

Postby YellowFlower » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:34 pm

I am glad to hear that from other people. I felt like this during three days after I sent my decision. Couldn't sleep, couldn't work... I got better two days ago, and now I am feeling very excited about everything again, like I was when I got accepted.

mobytish
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Re: Post-Decision Depression

Postby mobytish » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:49 pm

Since before I got my decisions from schools, I had pretty much decided where I was going (provided I got in), but sending off rejections to the other schools was still rough for me. Every once in a while I wonder if I've made the wrong decision or wish that I'd waited longer to decide. I don't think it'll even feel real until I've moved.

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grae313
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Re: Post-Decision Depression

Postby grae313 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:17 pm

quark314 wrote:I'm feeling the same way. I narrowed it down to two schools with relatively little difficulty. The two are roughly equal in overall physics reputation but school A is somewhat stronger in my likely field. But I like the city that school B is in better, liked the overall vibe of the department there and clicked more with the other students. I know school A is the right decision for my career and I've decided that's my priority. But I'm just really not excited at all now about starting this next piece of my life, and that's really disappointing. This was supposed to be an exciting new chapter, not a cold calculated career move. I should be grateful; they're both excellent schools and I'm lucky to have such an opportunity. But yeah, it's been really hard. I still haven't officially pulled the trigger. But I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one feeling conflicted.


Dude, quark... if they are both good schools with somewhat similar reputations, go to the one where you'll be happier!

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grae313
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Re: Post-Decision Depression

Postby grae313 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:20 pm

I'll pass on the advice my dad gave to me when I was having this dilemma two years ago.

Me: "But what if I pick Cornell and then spend the next six years regretting it and wondering how my life would have been different if I'd chosen Stanford instead?"
Dad: "Don't think about it once you've made the decision, and you won't have that problem"

Thanks, dad :roll: :wink:

pqortic
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Re: Post-Decision Depression

Postby pqortic » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:03 pm

you should think like this: if school A is a little weaker than school B but you work better in B you should choose B because you may be able to improve your department reputation even better than A in few years by your performance. you can always have great impression on your department.
but it's hard to say which school will be in better ranking in next 5 years (when you graduate) if they are slightly different at the moment.

the two statements above are not contradictory at all.

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noojens
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Re: Post-Decision Depression

Postby noojens » Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:17 pm

I was feeling some of this too. Partly feeling bad about turning down schools where I'd met and had great conversations with really interesting faculty and students... and partly the fact that I'll probably always wonder what might've been, if I chose differently.

Ultimately though, I'm just thankful I had options this time around. Much better than in '08 when I only had one offer!

This year, I ended up declining Stanford's offer, and am heading back to Cornell in Fall. See y'all there. :)

golick2000
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Re: Post-Decision Depression

Postby golick2000 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:25 pm

I was hesitating between MIT and Prinсeton.
First I firmly decided to go to MIT, then found out that Princeton gave home to Einstein and the place where 3 american presidents studied. Besides, in overall ranking (don't remember the name) Princeton was number one with HArvard. I could not decide for a while.
Then I understood. Once I go to Princeton, I will never regret myself losing opportunity to go to MIT. I feel like MIT.
If I go to MIT I will be ok with the idea I missed Princeton.
It is all about the way you feel.

arieszen
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Re: Post-Decision Depression

Postby arieszen » Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:54 pm

golick2000 wrote:Then I understood. Once I go to Princeton, I will never regret myself losing opportunity to go to MIT. I feel like MIT.
If I go to MIT I will be ok with the idea I missed Princeton.
It is all about the way you feel.


Nice!!!!!

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quizivex
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Re: Post-Decision Depression

Postby quizivex » Fri Apr 16, 2010 8:08 pm

golick2000 wrote:First I firmly decided to go to MIT, then found out that Princeton gave home to Einstein and the place where 3 american presidents studied. Besides, in overall ranking (don't remember the name) Princeton was number one with HArvard. I could not decide for a while.
WTF? You were FIRMLY SET ON MIT AND THAT'S WHAT inspired you to change your mind??? 3 presidents from long before you were born who never studied in the field you'll be entering and probably never even entered the building you'll be taking classes in... a physicist who did his best work 100 years ago long before he moved to Princeton and didn't even attend the PhD program? That stuff has no relevance to what you'll be experiencing as a grad student in a specialized area of research 2010 and beyond. Maybe you should've applied to Yale since they must be better for a physics PhD because they produced more presidents. And sorry to disappoint you, but that infallible ranking you also based your decision off of has changed... Princeton is now a distant 5th. I'd consider transferring after your first year... and if the ranking changes the other way, transfer again... you want to make sure the school you graduate from is #1 when you graduate.

rp
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Re: Stupidest school selection method ever?

Postby rp » Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:03 pm

The point being...?
Indeed, it sounds weird. He states that he is an engineer, and MIT has a VERY strong reputation among them, at least in my country, so maybe it is his life (stupid) dream. But well, I expected a little more intelligence of the physical community in general matters and, well, he will probably be fine, MIT or Princeton, I guess.

golick2000
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Re: Stupidest school selection method ever?

Postby golick2000 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:29 am

First, I am doing Condensed Matter Theory.
I was firmly set on MIT as at that moment only Columbia U, U of Chicago, Wisconsin and Cornell did reply. Out of those I firmly chose MIT. But then Princeton appeared.
I would tell you one thing. Born in Ukraine and living thousands miles away from the USA makes it extremely difficult to make a choice. There is almost no information to rely on when making such a decision. I asked American guys through creating topics at different websites. Almost everyone told me that there cannot be a wrong choice and both places are great. The only information available for me- universities websites (1) and different types of rankings (2).
(1) Both at Princeton and MIT there are interesting professors doing outstanding research in my subfield. Approximately three interesting people in each. As I was admitted with fellowship with no obligation to join anyone this made 50/50. As at both places research opportunities were great.
(2) The only thing left was ranking. I studied different rankings(Physics: MIT 5.0 points according to US ranking, Princeton 4.9). Besides I studied Physical laboratories (though I am doing theory it was interesting) and the places the universities were located. That also made 50/50 overall impression.
When it is 50/50 I chose the school I felt like going to.

sj211
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Re: Stupidest school selection method ever?

Postby sj211 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:07 am

Golick, you should be free to use whatever selection method you choose without fear of judgement and insult from your peers. I am sure that you will be happy with your decision.

Is the impersonal nature of the internet as a medium of communication really so powerful as to reduce well educated adults to the role of grade school harassment? The distasteful and unwarranted vitriol seen on this thread shame me.

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YellowXDart
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Re: Post-Decision Depression

Postby YellowXDart » Sat Apr 17, 2010 11:39 am

golick2000 wrote:I was hesitating between MIT and Prinсeton.
First I firmly decided to go to MIT, then found out that Princeton gave home to Einstein and the place where 3 american presidents studied. Besides, in overall ranking (don't remember the name) Princeton was number one with HArvard. I could not decide for a while.
Then I understood. Once I go to Princeton, I will never regret myself losing opportunity to go to MIT. I feel like MIT.
If I go to MIT I will be ok with the idea I missed Princeton.
It is all about the way you feel.


Just for clarification, I read this as "If I go to Princeton, I will never forgive myself for giving up the opportunity to go to MIT. I just felt like MIT was the right place. If I go to MIT, I will be fine with the fact that I gave up Princeton." Meaning, golick actually chose to go to MIT, not the place where Einstein went or had the higher ranking.

Could you please clarify which school you actually chose, golick?

golick2000
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Re: Post-Decision Depression

Postby golick2000 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 11:53 am

YellowXDart wrote:Just for clarification, I read this as "If I go to Princeton, I will never forgive myself for giving up the opportunity to go to MIT. I just felt like MIT was the right place. If I go to MIT, I will be fine with the fact that I gave up Princeton." Meaning, golick actually chose to go to MIT, not the place where Einstein went or had the higher ranking.

Could you please clarify which school you actually chose, golick?


Exactly, I accepted MIT's offer.

golick2000
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Re: Stupidest school selection method ever?

Postby golick2000 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:04 pm

I agree that I did not properly clarify my point from the very beginning.
Hopefully this misunderstanding has been resolved.

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quizivex
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Re: Post-Decision Depression

Postby quizivex » Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:31 pm

(sorry, I must've deleted this post by accident... I'm putting it back just to bring closure to this discussion for other users who have participated in it).

Ahhhhhh, well this changes things... I don't think it was clear from his post that he was still going to MIT. It looked like he had changed his mind... so it's nice to know he didn't change his decision over something so irrelevant. I apologize for any misunderstanding and if my response(s) seemed rude, but you must expect on an internet forum, when you say something ridiculous, you may get criticized. You stated recently that Princeton's offer came after you had decided on MIT, and that's what made it so tough, and perhaps you used the 3 presidents/Einstein as your list of pros for Princeton... ok fine. But your original post clearly suggests that you were firmly set on MIT and then changed your mind (or at least considered changing your mind) due only to the 3 presidents and Einstein, implying that you had both offers at the time.

From the poll thread:
YellowXDart wrote:I know some students who flipped a coin to make a decision. How is this any different? They're both really good programs, and golick probably didn't have the chance to visit since he (or she?) is an international. I think this thread should be deleted. It's hurtful and acts against the goals of this forum.
I'll tell you why it's different... There's a huge difference between flipping a coin to decide between two things you've already compared and contrasted and analyzed and researched and weighed and still can't pick a winner decisively on your own, vs. reversing a very confident decision based on something totally irrelevant. Again I misread golick's post... he didn't actually reverse his decision, but I still think it was silly to even consider reversing it for the reasons he posted.

One of the purposes of this forum is for advice on the school selection process, so a thread citing an unusual way someone deliberated selecting schools is valuable to have on the forum. Hopefully other students who are thinking of picking a school based on how many politicians or celebrities or transgenders went there may come across that thread, see the results of the poll and the responses, and realize that perhaps they should look more deeply into relevant things like their research interests, the school location, advice from profs, courses offered, program structure, class size, etc...

razor wrote:Why do you care so much and put up a whole new topic about his way of doing things?
Why do you care so much to complain about it?

sj211 wrote:Is the impersonal nature of the internet as a medium of communication really so powerful as to reduce well educated adults to the role of grade school harassment? The distasteful and unwarranted vitriol seen on this thread shame me.
LMFAO!!! Do you really ramble off that kind of verbiage naturally or did you have to consult your old GRE Verbal prep section?

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grae313
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Re: Post-Decision Depression

Postby grae313 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 2:26 pm

quizivex wrote:But your original post clearly suggests that you were firmly set on MIT and then changed your mind (or at least considered changing your mind) due only to the 3 presidents and Einstein, implying that you had both offers at the time.


No, his original post says "Then I understood. Once I go to Princeton, I will never regret myself losing opportunity to go to MIT. I feel like MIT.
If I go to MIT I will be ok with the idea I missed Princeton." He of course meant to say "always" instead of "never," but it was clear to me what he was saying. Anyways, case closed.

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monocles
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Re: Post-Decision Depression

Postby monocles » Mon May 10, 2010 10:57 am

To the OP, if it makes you feel any better, I'm a current student at Georgia Tech (though I'm an undergraduate going into my senior year this fall) and I think that this place is heaven on Earth. There are very few bad professors in the physics department. There's also quite a large number of mathematical physicists in the math department if you're interested in that (and it's normal for them to take on students in the physics department). And most important of all, they're building a Taco Bell and Waffle House on campus that will be open in the fall (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

kroner
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Re: Post-Decision Depression

Postby kroner » Wed May 12, 2010 1:35 am

Thanks for the reassurance.

I'm actually feeling pretty excited about this now that some of the concrete details are falling into place like finding a place to live in Atlanta. I guess really I've been feeling steadily better and better ever since I made the decision.

nicoledc109
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Re: Post-Decision Depression

Postby nicoledc109 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:08 am

pqortic wrote:you should think like this: if school A is a little weaker than school B but you work better in B you should choose B because you may be able to improve your department reputation even better than A in few years by your performance. you can always have great impression on your department.
but it's hard to say which school will be in better ranking in next 5 years (when you graduate) if they are slightly different at the moment.

the two statements above are not contradictory at all.

I also think so.

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