Karina’s Path to Grad School
My name is Karina. I am in my second year of doctoral studies and enjoying the learning process. Being in graduate school has been my dream from the first months of college. There were many college professors who challenged me to grow and think outside of my immediate culture. Some of them started controversial class discussions, taught concepts using performance art and others were really patient teachers. I wanted to teach like those inspirational professors, so I decided to pursue doctoral studies.
My path to graduate school was an emotional rollercoaster. I was interested in mental health programs and I thought that my GPA was sufficient to get into PhD programs right after undergrad in psychology. I was so disappointed that I was rejected by all the schools. Fortunately, I got into all master’s programs that I applied to in the same year that I ended my bachelor’s degree. Then, I tried again after my master’s degree and got waitlisted. The anxiety of waiting was overwhelming, so I decided to reject waitlisted offers and joined the workforce. The fear of rejection and waitlists increased my hesitation to try again. After working for 3 years and frequently changing my mind on which doctorate program that I should apply for, I tried again and got into PhD programs.
Surprisingly, the adjustment to graduate has not been difficult. I am excited about learning. There are times that I cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, and my sleeping hours are much shorter. Nevertheless, the opportunities to collaborate with faculty, staff and classmates increase skills for my future career goals in community-based research and teaching.
Looking back at my journey to graduate school, I appreciate all of the experiences that have brought me this far. The encouragement of my professors to apply again, has been my motivation. Also, the break between my master’s and doctorate studies helped me hone invaluable skills that I am applying in my course assignments and research. I think that the universe was also teaching me to listen to my mentors and embraced opportunities during full-time employment.
What and who were the major influencers in your interest in graduate school? I am eager to interact with all of you and get to know about your motivations in graduate school.