Managing Application Anxieties in 7 Steps

As graduate students, we experience some level of stress with school work, finances, assistantships and much more.  Applying for external funding can feel overwhelming at times.  It is “normal” to feel anxious about the process and while we cannot completely eliminate stress from our lives, we can manage it, become more productive, and feel better about ourselves.

Preparing competitive funding applications is challenging.  Let’s break down the task into smaller, more manageable elements and plan well ahead of your deadline.

  1. Create a plan of action when dealing with multiple tasks such as juggling series of applications, graduate work or research, and other deadlines.  By prioritizing your work, you can control how much time and energy you can spend on each task.
  2. Create a timeline.  By setting series of manageable deadlines or goals to complete, you can handle each task one step at a time.  Make realistic decisions about what you can do in the given time.
  3. Celebrate milestones along the way.  Remind yourself how much you’ve already accomplished.
  4. Take breaks! Make the time to relax and do things that will help diffuse the pressure and revitalize you.
  5. Identify resources available to you including advisors, faculty, staff, GradFund, Rutgers Graduate School, and program officers.  Don’t be afraid to ask appropriate questions during the application process.  Speaking with the funding agency and/or faculty who have interacted with the funder can provide you with special insights.
  6. Foster supportive relationships with friends, colleagues, and family who can help you through these challenges.
  7. Know yourself. Understanding when you are most productive and when you are not will help you utilize your time more effectively, keep up with the demands, and be more productive.

Remember, you were accepted into graduate school because you have excellent credentials and scholarly promise.  Remember to take care of yourself and believe in yourself.


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