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Can't Hurt to Call/ Everything Happens So Much

I've never been one to sit back and wait. It's frustrating and feels distant. I'm nosy by nature, and I figure that my future university should know me as well as possible anyway. I think the universe is tired of me nosing around, because things just started moving really quickly. I've seriously applied to three schools, grudgingly to one, and have more casually submitted partial applications to others. Let's talk about me as an applicant in general, first. I'm female, 21 years old. I'

bugabooo

bugabooo

 

And they're off!

So, here's the thing. I didn't grow up as a special snowflake. I grew up knowing that I'd better work my butt off to get what I want, because there's always going to be someone on my heels hoping they can beat me. That's not a bad thing, because that other person is just trying to get what they want, too. Everyone is.  I'm currently a senior, and I'll be graduating at the end of April. I'll graduate with honors, and my family is very proud because I'm the first, ever, in my entire fami

bugabooo

bugabooo

 

Did I Set Myself Up for Failure?

When I applied for undergrad, I only applied to two or three schools. I didn't think there was anything wrong with that, I had to go in state, to a public school, and I didn't want to go to a huge (more than 10,000) school so that left very few options. I picked one, and although I came close to transferring, I graduated two and a half years later, relatively happy with my decision.  Fast forward to deciding where to apply for grad school. About a year before I was set to graduate with my B

vestigialtraits

vestigialtraits

 

Introduction

I've been lucky enough to get the opportunity to share my recent and hopefully future experiences with you guys through the form of some (probably) incoherent spiels. I'm hoping I'll be able to help people out, or maybe just provide some entertainment while you're waiting for those elusive decisions from prospective schools.  Let's jump right into it. I'm 20, just graduated from a small, relatively unknown public state school in the South with a BA in psychology. I'm hoping to pursue a Mast

vestigialtraits

vestigialtraits

 

Please critique my application

just some food for thought. I remember when I first asked people of this forum: could I get into graduate school. They weren't going to tell me anything I really didn't know. I have a low undergraduate GPA, funding is competitive, but maybe if I got lucky I could get into one of the schools of my choice.  I should have probably asked, instead of a critique, for the reassurance of what I already knew. I know all to well what an application season can do to someone. It can make even the deepest m

GeoDUDE!

GeoDUDE!

 

And of all these things the Albino Whale was the symbol.

And so my long journey of graduate school applications has come to an end. I hereby bid goodbye to the following: Statements of purpose Online application systems Transcript hassles and, last but not least, (and I have gleefully saved a special rude gesture for): [i]ETS/GRE/Standardized Testing[/i]! (At the same time, I also welcome whatever new stressful, illogical, and inane bureaucratic hoops lay ahead of me in the Ph.D. program and beyond.) But I digress. The subject of this post,

1Q84

1Q84

 

Rejections and Being Thankful for What We Have

I haven't posted much recently, but I thought that I would throw out a recent reflection that I think could help a lot of applicants and current grad students. Losing sucks. A lot. Not getting something we really want sucks. A lot. But life goes on. I recently was awarded an Honorable Mention for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. This is a pretty big honor, as 16,000+ students apply each year. I know a few people who have applied multiple years and never eve

Monochrome Spring

Monochrome Spring

 

Proving It

Ph.D. applications are strange. We all have this burning desire to show ourselves to be the kind of scholar that adcomms know will succeed in a given program but we have to do so by jumping through highly archaic or irrelevant hoops. This, of course, is not news, and we've all heard the arguments ad nauseam, so I won't rehash the talking points. What I will say is this: all I really want is to get into a program that will support me so that I can prove myself. I know I have it, I just want

1Q84

1Q84

 

It Happened

This morning I woke up to the coldest winter day so far this year. I could barely bring myself to get out of bed. Making coffee was a chore. My apartment was freezing. Our shitty prewar radiators are no match for this kind of weather. I just wanted to get back under my comforter, preferably wearing at least six pairs of sweatpants and my parka, and sleep until May. By 9AM, I'd already checked my email and this board approximately 200 times. The last couple of months haven't been easy for me

NOWAYNOHOW

NOWAYNOHOW

 

Freak Outs

I think we all have that moment after submitting our applications where we notice something that feels catastrophic about our materials. After pressing that submit button, it's too late to go back and change things...but that doesn't make the freak out any less stressful. For example, I just realized that one of the KEY TERMS (if I was writing a title for my SOP, this word would be in there) could have been grammatically incorrect. I was using it as a noun, but it's only supposed to be an a

NOWAYNOHOW

NOWAYNOHOW

 

SOP Jenga

I am on my billionth revision of my SOP, as I'm sure most of us are. I had it looked over by some of my colleagues and also my graduate director, who had some good and bad things to say about it. In the end, she said it seemed polished enough in her eyes to be submitted, so I felt somewhat relieved. The other day one of my other old-school profs (a Yaley who did all three of her degrees there), took a look at my SOP and said it needs almost a complete re-write and that I come off as uneven

1Q84

1Q84

 

Poster awards

After waking up early to attend our annual departmental symposium yesterday, I was left feeling exhausted at the end of day. The symposium is entirely run by graduate students in the department, starting from deciding who to invite as speakers, down to the location of the symposium dinner. Overall, it's a great thing to participate. But one thing that really bothers me every year is the award session. Each year, the department gives out awards in best poster presentation and oral pres

Tall Chai Latte

Tall Chai Latte

 

Adrenaline

There is less than a month until my first applications are due and I am suddenly feeling the anxiety and exhilaration that comes with taking such a giant risk. Sometimes I feel fantastic, like I'm going to get into every single program on my list (of 10, if you are wondering how things are going) and sometimes I feel defeated, like I'm wasting my time yet again. I have completed what I hope is my final draft of my statement of purpose, and cut down my thesis to a sample of about 25 pages. M

NOWAYNOHOW

NOWAYNOHOW

 

Second Chances

After putting it off for months, I'm finally getting back into the process of applying for the PhD. Last year went so poorly that I almost feel sick when I think about going through it all again, but I know I can't enter a program without at the very least applying. I think many of us who are second (or even third) time applicants might know these feelings well: fear, shame, self-defeat. On top of it all, I'm way overloaded with work: full-time university research position, teaching a class

NOWAYNOHOW

NOWAYNOHOW

 

Brush with Stardom

One of my professors who got his doctorate at Columbia, when I very hesitantly mentioned I wanted to apply there as a hail mary, casually said "Oh yeah, I can email Prof. amazing-rockstar-who-is-one-of-the-pre-eminent-professors-in-the-world for you." I know not to count one's chickens before they hatch and I also know that simply having a prof email on your behalf doesn't guarantee anything... nevertheless: Should I be dying and/or freaking out right now or what? Because I really want

1Q84

1Q84

 

Random Advice Before I Start

Hello All, I haven't blogged for bunch here, but I thought I would just make a list of advice I thought of as I've been in graduate school a while and am starting at a new school. This advice isn't necessarily unique, but hopefully it will help people anyway. It doesn't make sense to apply to a few top graduate schools, it makes much more sense to apply to many top graduate schools. This rational should make sense; if your ultimate goal is to go to a top program, apply to all of the

GeoDUDE!

GeoDUDE!

 

Now That The Dust Has Settled

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

NOWAYNOHOW

NOWAYNOHOW

 

Writing Awards Bust

I haven't quite sorted out in my mind yet if I am simply feeling the effects of misplaced hubris or if I'm getting regular graduate student blues, but here goes: Every year there are departmental writing awards. I submitted an essay that my professor really liked, gave an A+ and said it was the best in the class. I felt quite confident I could net at least second place (we have a tiny department). Fast forward to today: an office admin told me to come by the department because there wa

1Q84

1Q84

 

I feel my PhD has been a waste

I'm not sure what's got hold of me lately. I feel my PhD has been a waste. I'm close to the end of my fourth year. By September, it will be my fifth year in the program. When I started in the lab, I was assigned four different projects, all were outside of the lab's expertise (and of course I wouldn't have expertise either). I didn't really think much of them besides seeing them as brand new challenges, new opportunities to learn and explore. As time goes on, things were tough, and inevitab

Tall Chai Latte

Tall Chai Latte

 

I found an apartment!

and it accepts ALL my fur babies! It's within walking distance to campus, comes furnished, and includes parking. I went to Boston last week for my school's open house and to check out potential housing. I only saw a couple of places, and I'm glad that one of the places ended up working out. I signed the lease and submitted the security deposit/last month's rent, so everything is looking good. That's one less thing to worry about. =) Also, Boston is amazing. I love it. I am in love

moyru

moyru

 

Let's do it!

It's the season to come down with a cold. Meh, pay back time from my body... Things in the lab are as sluggish as ever. I wonder when is anything going to pick up the pace? I have yet to become efficient, surprises this place throw at me constantly put me outside of my comfort zone. It's annoying to often slow down and figure things out. My boss suddenly said to me the other day that she cannot do my readings for me, that she has many things on her plate, and I need to be independent

Tall Chai Latte

Tall Chai Latte

 

Everything is happening so fast

So now it's hit me - this is for real. I'm moving across the country to study at HARVARD. If someone had told me this when I was a kid, I wouldn't have believed me. I was still in my mother's womb when she came to this country. We lived out of a car and in crummy motels. I even lived in foster care for a bit. I never would have thought someone from my background would achieve something like this. I'm excited - no doubt about that - but I'm also starting to stress out. I am rec

moyru

moyru

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