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Self-Care…The Most Important Step in the Graduate School Application Process


Often times when we are ready to make a big decision in life, buying a house, getting married, quitting a job, and yes, applying to graduate school, there is a certain level of stress (and paperwork) that goes along with it. As an admissions associate I want to say I HEAR YOU!! I have walked in your shoes…in the snow…uphill…both ways.

Looking back to when I was applying to Fordham, I wish someone would have taken then time out to tell me to relax and appreciate the moments of joy along the way. Instead, I was in the complete opposite boat. I decided to apply to graduate school while attending my final semester of undergrad, working full time, and balancing multiple family responsibilities which included the declining health and eventual passing of my father. It was, needless to say, the toughest and most complicated time of my life…physically, emotionally and spiritually. Five years later, and a completed MSW degree in hand, I faced numerous moments where practicing self-care and mindfulness is really what helped me stay positive, healthy and in control of the goals I made for myself.

Many of us seem to forget that the most important step throughout any process in life is self-care. Especially when it comes time to applying for something, we want to put our best foot forward. How can we do that if we aren’t taking care of ourselves? As a Fordham graduate myself, I have been trained to incorporate the concept of cura personalis into my daily life, which means care for the mind, body and soul. It is no surprise to my family and friends that my first blog post would be asking people to remember to take care of themselves during the stressful process of applying to graduate school. Today’s society demands a face-paced and digitally-advanced lifestyle that often times comes in conflict with our natural desire for inner peace. By trying to incorporate mindfulness in our daily practice, we may reduce the stress and anxiety that comes along with the application process.

Here are 12 steps that I would suggest using in order to help anyone bring a little peace and self-love into their lives, especially when applying for graduate school. Remember to make sure that whatever plan you come up with is able to meet your needs. Incorporate tasks and activities that make you happy because you are the most important person in this process, so make self-care a priority from the start.

Stephen McGowanStephen McGowan, MSW
Admissions Associate
Fordham University
Graduate School of Social Service


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