Four letter words have nothing on “submit”. The fear and anxiety those six letters instill in me is unparalleled- the finality, and the even more uncontrollable period of waiting for an answer make clicking submit on a funding application my least favorite part of being a scientist. (Too bad my entire career has the potential to depend on this!)
This year’s round of fellowship applications is nearing completion. I’ve submitted one and am close to finishing the second. Both fellowships I am applying for are only open to early-career graduate students (pre-entering through second year), meaning that this cycle is the last time I can apply.
Last year, I was really nervous to submit the applications. This year, somehow, it was even worse. I’m sure that I could have gone through my essays even more times than I did in the last 24 hours before submitting (I uploaded upwards of 10 new drafts in that time period, with changes ranging from minor punctuation issues to actually changing my entire hypothesis!), but at some point the incremental edits start to be outweighed by the tantalizing possibility of relief from not being able to be neurotic about them any more. I knew it was time to just be done with the application when I decided to take a break, and I went on Pinterest- and scrolled through a board of ~300 pins without registering any of it.
Still, knowing that hitting submit this time constituted my last time of being able to apply for this particular fellowship was so nerve-wracking.
I want to win. Badly. And there’s nothing I can do in the interim except wait until April for results.