Well, we're a bit into May and it seems like things have certainly settled down.
I'm finally sure of how I'll be spending the next year (I signed a contract!): I accepted a 1-year research fellowship, with benefits, at my current university. Despite a generous fellowship offer, I turned down an offer of admission to a 1-year bioethics MA. I'm very happy with my decision to work as a researcher in the social sciences and even happier to know this position will give me more free time to work on perfecting my 2nd round of PhD applications. I turned in my MA thesis and graduation is just around the corner.
In addition, I hope to volunteer either at a hospital or non-profit that serves the population I hope to study while pursuing my doctorate. When I apply again, this will show I've already started making crucial connections and relationships with potential informants.
I am over the sting of rejection. Since getting all my letters, I published my first peer-reviewed paper and have a peer-reviewed book review in-press. I am being proactive. My next step will be to cut my thesis down to journal article length and work on that as a potential publication.
I probably won't check in for a while, but I will when applications are my priority again.
Have a great summer!