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So, define "trying"



So, if the outcome is out of your hands, how (or what) do you keep on trying?

The application for grad school was due May 15, and I sent mine in almost a month early.  However, I still haven't heard, which probably doesn't mean very much because they would have to wait for any late submissions, and it's only been a week and a half since the deadline.

But ... it leaves me with what I'm supposed to be doing in the meantime.  There are plenty of things that I could be doing that would be helpful, no matter which way their decision goes (and I don't really think I won't get in;  I just fear it a little.)

But I seem to be metaphorically holding my breath, for some reason.


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I thin it's natural to be nervous about such a thing. It's a big step and having an unexpected stupid obstacle right in the beginning (like: if your application was lost or not filled properly) would be pretty annoying ;) . I hope everything will go right and they confirm your acceptation soon...

I wish you mainly a lot of energy (for the job and some leisure activities) and more time to relax!

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Yay!  I love that you applied!  So exciting! 

Its hard not to hold your breath when you're waiting for such an important decision!  I'm tempted to hold my breath with you... The anticipation can be enjoyed too.  

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But now it's been three weeks, and I'm starting to get annoyed {hey, look, another useless thing to do while waiting!}  :-)

I honestly think it's part of the entrance test, to see how candidates handle stress.

"...  holding your breath because you think your not good enough? not young enough?"  Not pretty enough.  :-P  What would worry me is that maybe I'm not patient enough ...

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Well, i was racking my brain for a novel way to help with the wait, but all I got is the standard 'a watched pot never boils'.  

Pick the thing you frequently get the most involved in and immerse yourself.  The sooner you're not thinking about it, the sooner you'll find out.  

You know this already though.  When I have nothing helpful to offer, it makes ME feel better to present you with the obvious ideas.   Obvious presented.  ?

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Luckily, a watched boil never pots, either.  :-)

I had a call yesterday from the university;  I have an interview next Tuesday.

Seriously, though, it wasn't as much the suspense of this one thing.  I felt that it was likely that I would get in.  Plus, there are many other things going on;  I quit the store job, for instance.  I'll be going back to searching for computer jobs, with renewed determination from knowing what I don't want to do.  ;-)

The real problem, of which the university thing was just one facet, is that I have a recurring internal question, "What if they don't want me?"  {Who "they" are varies with the situation.}

It dates back to a time when I was just six, and got lost while visiting Britain with my parents.  The fallout of that incident was that I concluded that there were two, possibly not mutually exclusive, possibilities:  I had made a mistake, one that I considered quite potentially fatal, and therefore, constant vigilance over myself would be required forever after, or maybe my parents had let me get lost, for some reason.

So, "what if they don't want me" permeates my experience of life:  my social anxiety, my loyalty to companies that do hire me, my reluctance to ask for anything special, and so on.  {My persistence in the marriage to my ex falls under "so on".}  I even sometimes have difficulty making telephone calls, because I fear that the person I'm calling, even if it's their job, might not want to stop what they're doing and talk to me.

And of course, it's not some specific "they" not wanting me that would bother me.  I fully expect that some misguided people don't want me, ;-) what I'm afraid of is that no one would want me.  And, like most people I know, I don't fully consider the evidence against my assumptions.  :-)

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When your 6 years old and lost- the 'what if ' may be too scary to consider and therefore, focusing on the 'why', was perhaps safer for your 6 year old self?

If that were the case- it may be beneficial for Adult you to put less focus on the 'why' they may not want you- (you probably can't control much of that anyway,) and instead focus on the 'what if'.  Although im sure changing patterns of thinking like that would be a lifelong challenge.

I guess all you can do is put your best foot forward at the interview, with a positive belief they DO want you, and your happy to show them why.  

And if doesn't work out- bugger.  Not the end of the world- just time to hit the old drawing board again!  

Good luck!  Good confidence! And good on ya for sticking your neck out.  The risk is usually worth the potential reward!  

(And rewards may already be present- just not the ones you initially anticipated.) 

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The interview was sort of a cliffhanger, actually.

First off, he asked how I had obtained my references, and whether I knew what they had said.  In fact, I didn't know, because I had waived the right to read their submissions.  I felt that was the honorable way, so that they could feel free to say what they really thought.  That seemed more valuable to the university than just getting glowing platitudes, which is how most such things sound to me.  Of course, the entire topic is a strong suggestion that at least one of them wasn't, shall we say, glowing ...

Second, he asked what my intention was, and I told him I would like to go into private practice, possibly with teens and young adults.  His opinion was that "they [meaning my competitors, not my clients] would eat me alive," because it's not really in my personality to market myself, which I freely admit.  It's true that I have never considered starting my own company, which private practice amounts to, in any other field, for exactly that reason.

And third, he remarked that most of the other doctoral candidates had "more passion" than I did, or at least, than I was expressing.  In a way, that was true too:  I'm never going to be voluble about my passion.  It's neither in my nature nor in my upbringing.  It's true that I'm not in very good contact with the passionate part of me, and it's also true that even if I were, I probably wouldn't be telling people about it.

So, he raised some points that I consider valid, at least as important things to think about.  I also managed to tell him, and let him see, some of the reasons why it's important to me to help people with things that I had to handle alone, like wanting to die.  He seemed genuinely perplexed, as if he was at a loss to understand where I was coming from, between my obvious desire to help and my equally obvious weakness at expressing it, when I'm perfectly capable of expressing myself otherwise.

And then the suspense returned;  he said they would be in touch "in a few days".  Meanwhile, I was by myself for two more days.  I had to face the possibility that the interview had gone badly enough that I wouldn't get in, so I had to think about what I would do then (other schools, try again next year, do psychology only as a volunteer hobby, ...)  I also had to think, honestly, about whether, if I did get in, I would feel able to accept.  He had raised some very good points, which aren't just going to disappear, about my personal style, about what I might be able to learn in coursework and what I might not, about what I'm willing to change about myself for this to happen, and so on.  So I had plenty to ponder.

Cat-sitting does not provide me with very much conversation, however.  I'm more likely to project neediness (my own) onto them, and then reject it, than I am to imagine them as conversational partners.  Just my type, and my history, maybe.

Then I went on vacation myself, to visit my brother and his family in Florida for five days.  That was good, seeing them in their new home, and the kids growing up.  It helped distract me, and also prepare me for the topic of my next post ...   <------ suspense-building strategy

The cliffhanger about school is over, however:  I got in.  :-)  And yes, I will accept;  the things I have to think about still need to be addressed, but I think that I will be able to address them.  Also, the same guy who interviewed me is assigned as my advisor, which I would probably have requested if they hadn't.  He and I didn't see eye to eye, but that's more of a challenge, going into a field where understanding others is vital, than it is a drawback.

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Congratulations, Mark! :) 

9 hours ago, malign said:

"they [meaning my competitors, not my clients] would eat me alive," because it's not really in my personality to market myself

I don't understand this: Are there really too many therapists?? Isn't it rather difficult to find one? Why should you have a special strategy to find patients? What is so special about what others do to market their services that you couldn't do?

I also find some other things weird about the interview(er), mainly the reaction to you mentioning your past suicidal thoughts. Well; my opinion isn't important; I mainly admire how you took it - as a potentially useful challenge (to have that person as advisor)! :) 

Good luck!

"P.S.": You don't have to seem passionate! Why would you? Not everybody has to be that type of person! You just need a good motivation to do what you need to do, to feel like doing it, ... I'm sure clients (and before them, your teachers) will see your genuine interest and engagement. Why would you need to look also "passionate"?


Edited by LaLa
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Regarding passion, I was told the same by advisors, that a person needed to be very dedicated and passionate. So I don't think it's so much what is required for being a therapist, but what might be needed to get the degree to become one. That was my understanding when I was studying in school anyhow.

Mark you must already know somewhere inside yourself, that you are very capable of helping people. I'm sure that you already have helped people, actually. I can see you being great with teens and young adults. I wish you well on your school journey.

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It's probably not that there are so many therapists, but that it is fairly difficult to connect new clients with unknown therapists.  Usually, the client asks someone, either a friend or a caregiver, and gets a referral.  But when you're just starting out, no one knows you well enough to refer you to others.  Which means that if you're not skilled at networking (the human kind), you're at a disadvantage.

I think partly it's that when you're young, like most of my peers, expressing passion is how you indicate to someone that you know what you're getting yourself into.  I think having passion is needed to be a therapist;  otherwise, it might be fairly boring, and possibly often unrewarding, given how hard people find it to change.  But using the entrance requirement of being able to show passion seems overly restrictive, at least from my current viewpoint.  Still, I might find that it really is important to be able to express it, if you feel it, so I haven't discounted the professor's concerns completely.  That's why I need to talk with him further, to explore the basis for his concerns and how I feel about them.

I also wondered about whether one or both of us was confusing certainty with passion.  I have trouble with certainty of belief;  I've changed my views about so many things I thought I was certain of when I was younger.  But I've also always been reluctant to express any absolute, being poorly connected to my own feelings and overly connected to my own doubts.  Maybe it's time for me to take a stand, on those things I do believe in (whatever they might be.)  ;-)

Yet I see my doubts as a mark of openness to new ideas, something that the young may not yet have learned.  On the whole, if this process doesn't make me think about what I believe, then I will probably be missing something important.

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2 hours ago, malign said:

I have trouble with certainty of belief;  I've changed my views about so many things I thought I was certain of when I was younger.  But I've also always been reluctant to express any absolute, being poorly connected to my own feelings and overly connected to my own doubts.

This describes me very much as well :( ...

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