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Why I’m Afraid of Going to Grad School

Photo curtesy of Millsaps’ Flickr.

By Daffney Dawson

Opinions Editor

As I approach the second half of my junior year of college, I find myself continuously pushing thoughts of grad school to the back of my mind. I know I want to continue pursuing my education—many say I’d be crazy if I stopped at a bachelor’s degree. However, the thought of leaving my close-knit community at Millsaps has me wondering if I will be successful in my graduate school endeavors.

Millsaps is a very small college. During my years here I do not believe our student body has ever reached the 1000 student count. There is an extremely high possibility as a student that you have seen the face of every person on campus at least once. In many ways this is a great thing, you tend to know all the people around you, and if you don’t, one of your friends will.

The same closeness goes for the classroom setting at Millsaps. Our class sizes are small, and the professors have the opportunity to get to know each student very well. If there is confusion about an assignment or questions about a reading, we all know our professors are just an email or an office visit away.

Every time I leave my room, I say hello to at least 15 different familiar faces. Most of the administration knows me by my first name and goes out of their way to make sure I am doing well every chance they get. They genuinely care about everyone on campus.

This is what makes me afraid of going to grad school. Unless I move on to an equally small college like Millsaps, all of these luxuries I have become accustomed to will vanish. I am afraid of being just another number in a lecture hall and of not having the opportunity to build great relationships with my professors. I am afraid of not recognizing every face I pass on my walks around campus. I am afraid of having to start over.

I know this is an extreme first-world problem compared to actual issues occurring in the world. In the Millsaps bubble, however, this seems to be a commonly shared fear.

Making the decision about where to go to grad school is a huge choice and is admittedly daunting. After running through my list of fears, I know the transition will not be easy. However, change is inevitable. Being opposed to change is like being opposed to the sunrise—it’s going to happen whether you want it to or not. I am trying to accept this fact as my senior year approaches, and I know everything will end up the way it is supposed to for me. While I am still at Millsaps, I am going to try to get over my fear of grad school little by little, and I know I will have the support of my Millsaps community with me the whole way through.