Things to do instead of checking your grad school application status

Distracting yourself from constant stress about the future

Image by: Tessa Warburton
Applying to grad school can be stressful

Second semester has started, and along with it comes application season. Whether you’ve applied to law, medical, graduate, or more undergraduate school, it can be a nerve-wracking time. The temptation to check your application status is always there, even though you know your school of choice probably hasn’t even glanced at your documents yet.

If you’re like me and you can’t help but refresh the same ugly application portal webpage 100 times a day, here are some stress-burning activities you can try to get rid of your nervous energy. Hopefully, these will distract you from the fact that a single email could change the course of your life at any given moment.


Go for a walk

It might seem simple, but putting down your devices and breathing in some fresh air can do wonders for your nerves. Braving the chilly Kingston weather and stretching your legs while taking in the sights the Limestone City has to offer might give you the perfect time away from academics.

You could even venture out to some gorgeous trails like Lemoine Point or the Marshlands to spot some wildlife and connect with nature.

Write in a journal

Sometimes, the only thing you can do to get rid of anxious thoughts is to write them out by hand. Keeping a journal has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and help with goal-setting and problem-solving.

The beauty of a journal is it’s private, and it can be exhilarating to express your thoughts and worries unfiltered. Get creative with it—try writing a poem or drawing a picture next to your entry to really express how you feel.

Get coffee with a friend

If ranting in a diary doesn’t work, you might need the attentive ear of a friend.

Invite someone you haven’t connected with recently for coffee, and try to take your mind off of your academic woes by asking them about their life. If that doesn’t distract you, and you find yourself needing to talk about your applications, at least you’ll have a friend there to help calm you down.

Make a collage

A picture is worth a thousand words, and a collage is worth a thousand fears about the future, as the saying goes. Dig up those old Cosmopolitan or New Yorker magazines you’ve been keeping since high school for no reason, and put them to good use. Try to represent your anxieties and hopes through found images. Even if you feel worried after finishing your creation, you’ll still have a beautiful work of art to display.

Have a spa night

You know what makes it hard to log in to your computer? Having a face mask on and fresh polish drying on your fingernails. Lean back in bed, relax, and throw a binge-worthy TV show up on Netflix as you feel your worries seeping out of your pores along with those pesky blackheads.

Work out at the gy—wait, what are you doing on your laptop?

Seriously? I can see you typing in the URL to check your application status. Stop.

Well, that didn’t last very long. Yikes.

Throw your electronic devices into Lake Ontario

This is what it’s come to, and I can’t say I’m not disappointed. I really thought you were stronger than this. If exercising, socializing, and getting artsy won’t stop you from refreshing your application portals, then this is our only solution.

Gather up your laptop, phone, tablet, and pager, carry them down to the rocky shore of Lake Ontario, and let them sink beneath the waves. Now, you’ll finally be free from your dreaded applications.


applications, grad school, life hacks

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