For me, one of the most stressful periods of the application process was waiting to hear whether I was accepted, denied or deferred from UNC’s School of Social Work. At this point, I felt that I did everything in my power to make my application as strong as possible- from studying for the GRE for five months to volunteering with several organizations throughout the world; however, I was constantly on edge as this part of the application process was completely out of my hands. These few long months, I dreaded the ultimate “senior year question”- “What are you going to do after you graduate.” I often stated that I planned on attending graduate school but I was unsure of where this schooling would take place. As decision letters from other schools arrived, I often questioned whether this school would be a right fit for me. I felt like I was a ticking time bomb as I was always agitated with the uncertainty of my future. Many of my friends committed to several graduate schools or accepted job offers during this time frame.
When I received my acceptance letter from UNC’s School of Social Work in March, I did not know what I wanted for my future. I felt overwhelmed with decisions and confused about what I envisioned in my career as a social worker. This is when it hit me that I did not have any backup plans besides graduate school-maybe this is why I had so much stress and anxiety about getting into my dream graduate school. I believed that graduate school was the only option for me after completing my undergraduate career at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I became so entrenched with completing application after application for schooling that I did not weigh other post-graduation options. I strongly believe that if I had a back-up plan (besides graduate school) that I would have been a lot less stressed about receiving those white envelopes in the mail.
After completing two semesters at UNC, I have realized that each student fits into the School of Social Work for a certain reason ranging from career experiences to life experiences. I often learn several concepts from my peers in the classroom setting due to their unique stories. The School of Social Work puts just as much time into selecting students that would not only benefit from the school but would also benefit their fellow students. This brings me to my last point, many students ask me what to write in your personal statement- my personal advice is to write what makes you unique and original. As my time at UNC is dwindling down, I reflect on the many situations that I made stressful that should have been enjoyed and lived in the moment.