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Introduction

Posted by bdon19, 17 October 2011 · 248 views

I have 150 pages of Bakhtin to go read, so I'll keep this brief, for now. Many of you may know me over in the Lit forum, but for anyone who doesn't, I'm bdon19! I'm applying to M.A./Ph.D. programs in English Lit this fall, though I'm still finishing up my undergrad. It's time consuming and stressful getting everything done, but I have a lot of people really strongly behind me, and I'm hoping to get somewhere this spring. If not, I'm not averse to taking a year off to strengthen my application, but I'm confident that something will work out in my favor (*knock on wood*). Anyway, if you check out my recent posts, you'll see that the GRE Subject Test recently just threw me for a loop, but hopefully adcomms will be able to see past that and look holistically at my application. I'm coming from a small LAC, so holistic thinking has been an expectation for me over the past few years, but I'm keeping hopeful. Not necessarily optimistic, but hopeful.

I have to run now, but I'll leave with some beautiful words by Rebecca Solnit regarding the difference between optimism and hope (the entire essay can be found here: http://www.tomdispat...archive/175424/).

"Unpredictability is grounds for hope, though please don’t mistake hope for optimism. Optimism and pessimism are siblings in their certainty. They believe they know what will happen next, with one slight difference: optimists expect everything to turn out nicely without any effort being expended toward that goal. Pessimists assume that we’re doomed and there’s nothing to do about it except try to infect everyone else with despair while there’s still time.

Hope, on the other hand, is based on uncertainty, on the much more realistic premise that we don’t know what will happen next. The next thing up might be as terrible as a giant tsunami smashing 100 miles of coastal communities or as marvelous as a new species off butterfly being discovered (as happened recently in Northern Ireland). When it comes to the worst we face, nature itself has resilience, surprises, and unpredictabilities. But the real territory for hope isn’t nature; it’s the possibilities we possess for acting, changing, mattering -- including when it comes to nature."

Beautiful, right? The GRE Subject Test may not have been a giant tsunami (though it felt like it at the time). But it was, surely, an unpredictability that I must now overcome. And though I may not know what the outcome of this admissions game might be, I do know that I'll be submitting the best writing I've ever done in my life, and that's what really counts. Even if I fail, I'll be bettering myself, which is never a bad thing.

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