As if applying to graduate school isn’t stressful enough, now there’s an entire website dedicated to feed your mental breakdowns and make you feel even worse about yourself: thegradcafe.com. It’s more of a time waster than Facebook, and it has the added benefit of making you feel hopeless about your future. The intent of Grad School Cafe is to create a forum for students awaiting responses from their respective graduate school programs. Users can post whether they have been accepted or rejected from graduate programs, thereby informing others users where they stand on the “rejected” list. For example, if scores of people have already been rejected from your university of choice and you haven’t received notification of anything, you know you’re safe until the next cut. It’s an excellent tool to keep you awake at night and leave you with fits of nervous vomiting and other severe gastrointestinal issues.
It’s an extraordinarily depressing website to peruse, as most of the postings are labeled “rejected.” You can even go back several months in time to see continued lists of “rejected” statuses and other assorted cursing. “Every one is freaked out,” said one student awaiting response from the Political Science Program at Columbia University. “There are more applicants, with more qualifications and less spots and funding than in previous years. I think that this is part of the crisis. The PhD application process becomes a job market.” Awesome.
Or, a personal favorite rejection of mine from the Philosophy Department at McGill University in Toronto: “Refused, then promptly shredded and used as bedding for my hamster’s cage.” What does Grad School Cafe tell you? It tells you your future is being shat on by hamsters. “Fourth rejection,” one applicant for the Musical Composition Program at the University of Pennsylvania writes. “The American dream is slipping out of my reach.” Oh. Good. Excellent. It’s almost as uplifting as the job market.
Southwestern University students seem to think we’re better off than most. “I transferred to Southwestern because I felt I was not being adequately prepared for graduate school at my old university,” said Lauren Margulieux, a senior psychology major. “I am more than happy with the coursework and professors at Southwestern because they challenge me and ask me to think at a graduate level. I feel that my background has made me competitive for acceptance into my graduate school of choice.” Do I believe it applies to all of us? I want to to believe it, and I think I do, and I think we all should believe it. It might be hard to believe, but we’re tough and we’re smart. We’ve got this. And if not, we can always just fill out our applications for McDonald’s together.