Wharts and All: Blogging the Full-Time MBA Program at the Wharton School

Monday, January 03, 2005

Fears of My Life

TAKING THE GMAT: Fear of taking the GMAT. Fear of not taking the GMAT. Fear that I will oversleep on the day of the test and miss it. Fear that I will not be able to sleep at all on the day of the test and bomb it. Fear of not studying enough for the GMAT. Fear of scoring poorly. Fear of spending too long on a single, thorny sentence correction problem. Fear of spending so little time on difficult problems that I breeze through the test and arrive at the end with half an hour left and no back button, the terrible realization dawning that I completely misread each question in a fundamental way and that I am doomed to attend NYU. Fear of the clock ticking far too rapidly. Fear of noises in the room distracting me and lowering my score. Fear of clicking that button that irrevocably records the score for all posterity. Fear that my score is not high enough. Fear that I may have to retake the test again. Fear upon reading the Business Week Message boards that everybody in the world scored a good forty points higher than I did. Fear that I'm actually a dumb person for not having done better on the GMAT. Fear that I have wiped a good 342 million memory cells that allowed me to maintain a somewhat tenuous grip upon the mathematics that I'll need once I'm in an MBA program. Fear that I may have to give up even social drinking if I wish to halt what appears to be a rapid descent into mathematical illiteracy. Fear that even if I do manage to become an admissions mistake my GMAT score will be requested by potential employers and will be used to screen me for jobs that I'd love to have, but, alas, I'm completely incapable of handling thanks to my GMAT score.

THE APPLICATION: Fear that my essays, while spellchecked, actually contain a number of errors that I'm just too tired to catch at four in the morning on the day they're due to be submitted. Fear that I made a mistake in waiving my rights to review what my recommenders wrote about me -- fear that my recommenders are evil and have been friendly for years now only so that they could sink the single-most important project of my life to date. Fear that my boss in particular will live up to his reputation for being a spiteful bastard and will slip in the most damning praise that has ever graced an application: "Zach's enthusiasm for work is evident to everyone that works with him. He often takes on so many projects that he sleeps in the office and has sacrificed his personal health and relationships for work. He is an inspiration to us all." Fear, the crippling sort, immediately after submitting the application, that I forgot to find all instances of "Kellogg" and replace them with "Stanford", or worse, that I did replace each and every instance of "Kellogg" with "Stanford" but I submitted the application to Wharton. Fear that somewhere in Palo Alto right now Derrick Bolton is getting shitfaced with all eight of his staff as they pass around first a bong and then my application, each reading a quote from one of my essays that is met first with three beats of stony silence, and then, rapid, percussive, snot-spraying giggle explosions. Fear that one of my horrid phrases will inspire such bladder-loosening, asthma-inducing laughter that one of their number will be both soiled and hospitalized and that he will angrily shred my application in retribution the day after he is released from the hospital.

ACCEPTANCE AFTERMATH: Fear that the people that Wharton hires to investigate me will discover some careless mistake or another in my application and pull the rug out from under my hopes, dreams and aspirations only after I have announced my plans to coworkers, friends, and family and only after I have quit my job and that I shall have to live in ignominy thenceforth. Fear I am not an admissions mistake but an admissions experiment that began with someone double-dog daring Alex Brown to admit a real fuck-up just because everyone knows that Alex never turns down a double-dog dare. Fear that I will be called onto a stage in front of an auditorium full of admits at the Winter Welcome Weekend and presented with a special runners-up plaque that acknowledges certain "charms" in my application but which regretfully rescinds the offer of admission and would I please use stage left to exit so that they can get on with the program? Fear of lame-duck-itis that will cause my coworkers to remember me not at all fondly. Fear that this stroke of luck has upset some karmic balance somewhere and that I will be flattened by the M3 uptown bus or diagnosed with elephantiasis or that a condom will silently and secretly fail vaulting my debt burden easily over the $140,000 mark.

There are of course the fears that will come with MATRICULATING, THE JOB HUNT and with MY FIRST JOB OUT OF SCHOOL, but I'll enumerate those fears when I have a little more experience with them.

I had hoped to start with my hopes for the new year, but I was inspired by developmentally disabled author Michael Bernard Loggins, who, in Fears of Your Life lists 138 of his fears, small: "#53 Fear of Bats" and big: "#85 Fear that if you put too much toilet paper in the toilet bowl it will run over and get all over the floor and on you and on someone else too, it would leak from upstairs to the next floor below." Listen to Act II at minute 33:40 for an audio rendition of it.


Blogger Wakechick said...

Best. Post. Ever.

Seriously, I'm dying here.

1/03/2005 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger bskewl said...

Thanks. I had particular fun imagining the Stanford adcom getting blitzed. Kind bud does not necessarily equal "gentle" reading, but at least they try.

1/04/2005 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger Hawkeye said...


I am planning on applying to wharton. I want to know what "matriculating" is ? Is it the time when you join wharton during fall or when you are graduating out of wharton after two years.

I have had friends who were completely honest with their applications but were scared shit because their community service recommenders (international ones) were poor in english and the fear was when called for a background check they may not be able to articulate the entire reference properly.

Although I appreciate background checks I think interviewing recommenders is taking things too far. I have been called by a Bschool for someone's background check! Although I did not feel like I was being grilled, I told them that its been 1 year since I wrote the letter and I really have to look at it to remember anything. If they had caught me at a busy time or a bad time then I would have lost my temper!

At the end the person who was verifying even said " sir! you write a lot!". He might've been true but lets say I was not impressed. Anyway this was an Indian B School I am not sure how an American BSchool background check person behaves.

1/05/2005 12:35:00 AM  
Blogger bskewl said...

Thanks for your comment and questions ... I'll give you the dry, technical definition.

Matriculate (verb) - To request that one's name be included on the rolls of students who will attend a society or institution. (synonym: enroll)

In the case of Wharton, the matriculation process for admitted applicants involves a number of separate steps, all of which are required to actually attend the school: one must sign several forms, send in a deposit, arrange financing for tuition and expenses, and pass the background check.

As for the background checks interviewing your recommenders, it's best to be plan for that. Many well-prepared students nowadays give their recommenders a list of the questions that are asked on the rec form, a copy of their resume, a summary of their work history to date, and some advice on what schools are looking for. Well-prepared applicants of the future should (upon admittance) touch base with recommenders to warn them that the recommender will likely receive a call asking for verification of the recommendation and that he should review what he wrote if it's been some months since it was written.

1/05/2005 05:32:00 AM  
Blogger Cal Grad said...

Damn .. some of the fears hit so close to home for me ... the others are just too damn funny! Nice!

1/06/2005 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger yukta said...

#85 Fear that if you put too much toilet paper in the toilet bowl it will run over and get all over the floor and on you and on someone else too, it would leak from upstairs to the next floor below."

yes. mortally afraid of it. much worse than 'studying all night for the wrong test'

1/07/2005 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger bskewl said...

Hey CalGrad -- I've been reading your blog for months. Thanks for the good stuff.

Yukta -- nice to see you've started up a new blog (and even better, that it has an RSS feed!). I'll be reading it regularly now.

1/07/2005 06:41:00 PM  
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