fear of failure

<p>I have been admitted to the Molecular & Cell Biology programs at UCLA, Berkeley, Duke and Michigan (and others that I am no longer considering). I liked them all. However, I did my undergraduate at the University of Oklahoma and finished with a 4.0. Some courses were easy, and others were more challenging. I am thinking about going to Berkeley, but I am concern that it may be to difficult and I am scare of failing. I believe that Duke and UCLA, although not as prestigious, would be challenging but not as difficult and cut-throat as Berkeley. Am I wrong?</p>

<p>I personally wouldn't settle for a lesser school. Just think about other stuff besides the competitiveness. Besides, you'll mostly be doing your own stuff without really paying attention to anyone besides your advisor.</p>

<p>From your message I get that you think that Duke and UCLA are less prestigious than Berkeley. Is that correct?</p>

<p>They're all great schools, I dunno how they rank for your intended study though. But I wouldn't let something like a school being too competitive dissuade me from going there. If anything that's great, it'll keep you focused.</p>


<p>i would go to Berkeley or unless you have specific people you want to work with in ucla or duke. and yes ucla and duke are less prestigious in mcb than berkeley which ranks with stanford, ucsf, mit and harvard as top programs in the field. </p>

<p>and i think you have to be really clear why you are going to grad school, because it is not going to be a walking in the park anywhere you go to. but i wouldn't let competition scare me. if you can get in berkeley, you are competitive enough... btw i did my undergrad at berkeley mcb, and i can tell you, that place is NOT cutthroat.</p>

<p>I don't know about the rankings in your field of interest, but I imagine you looked into Berkeley before wanting to go there...</p>

<p>Hence you should go to Berkeley. The fear that you will fail should not be a factor. The admissions chose you for a reason... you are simply a better fit for the program than numerous other applicants.</p>

<p>the fact that you think the undergrad courses are easy just show that you're good.. i hope you get what i mean</p>

<p>i agree with everyone... don't be afraid. you got an offer from all these schools for a reason, so don't settle for something you think is "safer".
what eastcoast said is correct... i also did my undergrad there and berkeley mcb, undergrad at least, is not cutthroat at all.</p>

<p>If the school has accepted you then you are perfectly capable of going there and succeeding, you might not get a 4.0 there or easily top your department but then you will get what ur worth, take on ur fears.</p>

<p>I don't think any biology PhD program could really be described as "cutthroat". I mean, you're only going to be in class with other students for a year or so (during which time grades basically don't matter), and then you'll be in a laboratory of your choosing. If you want a happy, relaxed lab environment, then you can choose one. If you want a tense, competitive environment, you can choose that instead. But that choice is not dependent on the program you choose.</p>

<p>Fear of failing out of graduate school, or fear of "failure" by not being distinguished the way you were/are as a 4.0 in undergrad?</p>

<p>If it's the 2nd one, then get over it. You've set your standards for yourself ridiculously high. If you don't burn out, you'll one day look back and realize it really didn't matter if you succeeded or failed. No one really cares.</p>

<p>jesus christ. this is ridiculous and frankly annoying. you got into really good schools that i'm sure a lot of people really wanted to get into and didn't. now stop being insecure and whiny. adcoms dont admit people they think will fail.</p>

<p>Berkeley treats its graduate students very well - don't forget, that's where all the money goes! It's the undergrad that gets the shaft in terms of funding.</p>

No, not failure in the sense of getting a 4.0. Just in not completing the program or being unhappy and frustrated. I was not trying for a 4.0 as an undergrad, it just worked out that way.</p>

I know, it sounds stupid. But I did not go to an IVY and don't know what to expect. Also, I am not sure that Berkeley is that much better than, less say, Duke or what "better" even means"</p>

<p>"better" means that it is widely accepted that there is a list of top-tier schools in biology: Harvard, MIT, Stanford, UCSF, Berkeley, and maybe Rockefeller and Caltech.</p>

<p>"better" means that Duke and Michigan and about 20 other schools fall under "second-tier".</p>

<p>ovaldia, were you happy in your undergrad? I also went to a non-ivy school for undergrad, and was always the top in the class. I hated it. I'm frankly tired of being around people who have mediocre standards for themselves, who find excuses for being lazy, and who have no drive to become the best they can be. I don't know about you, but personally, I'd rather fail at a top-tier school than succeed in one that undershoots my potentials.</p>

<p>I think that if you got 4.0 in your undergrad without trying, then you are not being challenged enough. I think your potentials are much greater than what you give yourself credit for.</p>

"better" means that Duke and Michigan and about 20 other schools fall under "second-tier".</p>

<p>Where are these rankings that you are referencing? The ones I have looked at have Duke and Michigan in the top tier.</p>

<p>Yes, if you look at rankings, you'll see all the schools on there, listed one after another, as if they really descend in order of quality in a gradual manner. But in truth, in terms of how other people perceive the programs, I think only those top few stand out. (i.e. my so-called ranking is based on word of mouth.) A lot of others are considered excellent programs, but they get lost in the sea of other such excellent programs.</p>

<p>I think in terms of the "programs" themselves, there are about 50 schools that are all equally good. But in grad school, a "program" quality is measured not merely by the curriculum or opportunities. True program quality is really the result of a endless cycle. Schools like Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, etc, are considered top-tier by other students/faculty. As a result, they attract the best faculty. As a result of that, they attract the best students. Since those schools are home to the best faculty and students, they are in turn considered the best programs.</p>

<p>The fact of the matter is, your success is largely dependent on you, rather than the school you go to, especially at the PhD level. Many students turn down "top-tier" schools because they know that they will hate the atmosphere, they don't like the professor's interests, etc. But I think being "afraid of failing" is the worst reason you could have for not going to a great school. And yes, I think Berkeley is definitely better than Duke or Michigan in terms of establishing the frontiers of modern biological research.</p>

<p>What did you think of the environment when you interviewed? I think it will be hard to find a school that will willingly let its graduate students fail a course without doing anything to help. Beyond that, there are many ways to help yourself. I graduated from OU as well and I'm not going to let my undergrad intimidate me from going to a more prestigious/competitive school.</p>

<p>sydneya: which schools and programs are you considering? Which is your top choice?</p>

<p>No top choice so far.. I was really impressed by different things and have no idea which way I want to go. I've been accepted to Mol Bio umbrella programs at Johns Hopkins, UMass Med, and Weill Cornell. I just interviewed at WashU and am waiting on a response from them. Giving weight to history/caliber then JHU or WashU would be top choices, Weill is in NYC so location/personal time might be more interesting, and UMass has awesome, supportive faculty.</p>