Thursday, April 22, 2010

Life Beyond Ding Dong Day

As most of you know, and many of you have obsessed over, April 15 is the deadline for responding to offers of admission. However, the story is far from over on April 15. Despite the increased waitlist activity and rapid-fire notifications that happen after the dreaded date, it is almost impossible to put that aside when you're waiting for offers to come in. Instead, you panic.

I handled my wait in a poor way: by hoarding and then eating tons of Ding Dongs. Even worse, I did this twice, once during my round of MA applications and then again for the PhD session. I cleared out the store's selection of Hostess snacks, then stacked the Ding Dong boxes in every available cabinet and moped around, talking about how when April 15 rolled around it would be Ding Dong Day and I could be released upon my processed treats like the Kraken.

So far I have only found one remedy for this sorry state of affairs, and that is "friends with a good sense of humor". My roommate once wrestled a Ding Dong out of my hands when I tried to eat one early in a fit of insanity. She also forced me to leave the apartment one day, took me to a park, and made me swing on a swingset until the wave of anxiety passed. She also, as you may recall, brought home a children's book about baby animals, which was both cute and the only thing I was capable of reading at the time. I remain grateful because even though I clearly needed an intervention, I wasn't aware of the depth of my obsession until I took a meaningful break to enjoy fresh air and look at adorable baby seals instead of my empty email inbox.

People, if you have a friend who has melted away during the application process, fear not. They can be brought back from the edge with a little concern and creativity. You might need to take initiative. Now is not the time to break out Schindler's List for a marathon evening of depression. Plan fun things and express support. Children's activities seem to work especially well: paint by numbers, play-doh, and jungle gyms were all things I enjoyed around Ding Dong Day.

And people who are waiting: take off the sweatpants, leave your house, stop sitting outside waiting for the mailman, and stop refreshing the page. For goodness sake, get off GradCafe. Two years in a row I missed early spring because I was reloading my email over and over. Learn from my mistakes.

Also, back away from the Ding Dongs.

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