So less than a month until the big move. I'm both excited yet freaking out at times. This whole process is about to finally end and a new journey will start and hopefully it ends as well as this one.
Anyways, as many obstacles it seems like a person confronts with this whole process they must not forget the journey isn't over until you are really there. I say this because some of the things you don't think about when applying become harder once you have made a decision. Finding an apartment has been one of these particularly difficult things I have encountered. Unfortunately, this is somewhat my fault given I simply couldn't afford to make trips back and forth just to look at places. I was finally able to work with a real estate company that has rentals which helped dramatically. I would definitely recommend this to anyone especially if you are moving more than a few hours away. This was after the fact that I had found a place and basically was screwed over. Unfortunately, at many universities on-campus housing is unreliable and most grad students can save a lot money by finding a place off campus, I know from my experience I am saving roughly 200 dollars every month, which is a lot on a graduate student's budget. Overall, I am relieved that I will at least have a place to sleep when the move finally comes.
Secondly, I am all registered for the fall. A few things may change, but I will see when I actually get to my orientation and talk to a few professors. The big thing I have to confront with this is time conflicts with my required methods courses and a course I really was just looking forward to taking. I knew this may be a problem when I made my decision to choose a smaller program over a larger one though, so still I am excited to get started.
Thirdly, the thing I am most excited about is starting my assistantship. I think after having worked so hard to get to this point I feel like I can bring something to the table really, at least I hope. I am honestly just happy to be making some money even if the majority of it is going towards my living expenses as well.
I wanted to finish this blog for the time being by noting more of my background. I applied for PhD programs in poli. sci after a year off of school. I did okay on the GRE but not spectacular like most of the people on this forum. My undergraduate gpa was pretty good at around 3.8, which I definitely believe helped with my less than stellar GRE verbal score. My research focus covers a number of issues, including energy politics, ethnic issues, and more broadly security within Central and Eastern Europe. I do have some experience in the region which I thought helped narrow my research focus, but I don't particularly believe this set me apart from others.
Overall, if I had recommend anything to anyone about this whole process, it would be to only apply to programs you would actually attend. Lastly, you don't want to have any regrets about the whole process, applying for a given program is a lot less expensive than what you will be spending after you make a final decision.