An emotional rollercoaster (and what this means in a quantitative sense)

Over the last week, I’ve spent the week away on vacation in France. This was booked a little time ago, but in full knowledge that HBS’s deadline would be looming while I was away. To this end, I spent as much time as possible nearing a semi-completed state for my application before leaving, as well as continuing to build the following applications due late September/early October. Complete panic hasn’t yet set in, but I feel it was only deferred due to an email from HBS saying that my first referral was in.

I almost managed to not take my laptop with me, but as those of you who are going through the same thoughts and feelings will know, there was never a serious chance that this would actually happen.

I did however have several days away from looking at my various essays, and after a re-read with a glass of wine I realised I’d edited them far too much. I’d tried to squeeze more content in at the expense of stripping most of the interesting personal bits, and they felt far too dull. Intensive re-writing of sections has commenced!

While I’ve been away, I’ve had the chance to reflect on my own perspective of the emotional cycle of my applications. I’ve seen various ‘I’m 70% complete’ statements, but WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Well, to me, it means this;

% Complete Typical emotional state Most likely to say
0-10% Complete Naively enthusiastic “I can’t wait to get started! I’m going to smash this”
10-20% Slight trepidation “This is a little harder than I expected”
20-30% Extreme anxiety “I’m just not up to this, I haven’t worked for the UN or anything
30-40% Complete emotional collapse brought on by starting essay-writing “This is completely hopeless”
40-50% Grim determination “Even if I am wasting my time, I stared so I’ll finish”
50-60% Personal paranoia “I actually have NO idea what I’m doing”
70-80% Second emotional collapse, then renewed confidence brought about by reading/chat with outside party “OK, maybe I could be that anomaly in the AdComs files”
80-90% Warily filling in gaps (parts that you avoided first time round). “Oh… I did do that thing once… I’m not completely without merit”
90+% Grammatical and personal OCD “Just one more sentence here… AND NOW I’M OVER THE WORD LIMIT!!!”
100% Resignation to your fate “I’ve had enough, I’m clicking the button and then going to get a beer”

Note: at this point, I have frequently not clicked the button and gone back to 90%

Much like snakes and ladders, I seem to be able to regress in these steps as much as move forward. I am yet to discover the location of ‘the third emotional collapse’ – probably during interview prep….


4 thoughts on “An emotional rollercoaster (and what this means in a quantitative sense)

  1. I like your interpretation =)
    I only applied to 3 schools in R1 so that was not too hard to deal with.
    Now that I am 100% complete, and got rid of it, I TRY not to think about it anymore. Anyway there’s nothing left I can do…

  2. I think each stage is just as bad as each other. I’m pretty sure I just spent 2 hours on 90+% reading the same thing over and over again checking for typos.

  3. Pingback: Fridays From The Frontline - Clear Admit Blog

  4. I love this chart and totally agree with the emotional aspect of the b-school app process! It is such a roller coaster and I found myself moving from self doubt to confidence and back again several times! Congrats on your invite to interview at Harvard, that is amaaaazing news!!

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