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About this blog

My Second Experiment in Personal Transformation...

Entries in this blog

 

Securing Letters of Recommendation and the Follow Up

I'm going to try to document the path I have taken during this application season as completely as I possibly can, in order to provide future applicants with as much information good, bad and ugly as possible to support their own journeys towards the PhD. Here, I'm discussing the all-important issue of letters of recommendation. I notice on the board that a lot of people are asking whether or not you need three academic letters of recommendation, or if it would be a good idea to submit one

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

August 20: The Journey Begins

OK, I lied. I actually start TA orientation on August 6. FINALLY! What a long, strange journey this has been. First, the application season-that-wasn't. Then, the application season that ended in a fully-funded offer from a perfect-fit school. Followed almost immediately by the cancer diagnosis. Followed by the year of chemo and radiation. Followed (most thankfully) by remission. And now, after a full decade of starts and stops, I'm finally doing this. I've given notice at the sch

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

Blergh....Another Update...

So, my doctor checked with the oncologist and they are both leaning towards doing a re-excision because they are not happy with the margins - they're clean, but not by much (millimeters, on two sides). My doctor in particular says she just doesn't have a good feeling about it, and while she is hoping she's wrong she'd rather be safe than sorry and know more definitively what the margins really are. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it sounds like I'm either going to lose a good-sized

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

The Statement of Purpose Post! (Part One):

OK, here it is, FINALLY...the Statement of Purpose post. The one in which I go through and share all of my versions of this thing so you can see the good, the bad and the ugly. We'll begin with the one I sent last year, with the school details removed, and I will render the statements in blue to discern them from commentary and such. I am including both my own insights and reflections on my statements, and also professors' comments when I have them available. I'm not including everything, becaus

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

The Statement of Purpose Post! (Part Two):

Continued from Part One. We are now at draft five: Draft FIVE: The day I graduated from Longwood University’s master’s program in English, I should have been celebrating the long-awaited, long-worked for completion of my formal education. Instead, roughly an hour before commencement exercises began in Farmville, Virginia, I was standing before a crowd of medievalists, delivering a paper outlining my thesis findings at the International Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo. Michigan.

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

Oh, Wow, How the Time Flies....

Well, here we are. My cohort are finishing their first term as doctoral students, and I am finishing my treatment for breast cancer. And even though it sucks not to be frantically scrambling to get my term papers done, I have to say in the end, I may well have learned more from the cancer treatments than I might have learned in a semester of graduate school - and it's all material that will serve me well when I do enter, next fall. First, I've learned This. Is. It. There's no time for mopin

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

Update and Suggestion

OK, so, at this point I am going in for a re-excision for cleaner margins on Monday, and then have a CT and Bone scan the following Tuesday. THEN, the following Wednesday-Saturday - Kalamazoo! Thank god(dess)(e)(s) I get to do something completely academic for a few days...! I will likely begin chemo at the end of May - four rounds of Taxere and Cytoxin. Following that with 35 rounds of radiation and - bimbaddabing, hopefully the crap is gone for good. unfortunately, not soon enough to get me to

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

The #JustOneMore Initiative!

(This is cross-posted from my wordpress blog, which is my main posting spot: http://caridwen.wordpress.com/) OK, here we go…. the #JustOneMore movement. It’s here. It’s time. Time to let go of our fears and worries that we will never be enough or do enough. Time to let go of that niggly feeling that we should/could/might/ought to be doing more. Time to go from the intention to up the ante, to actually upping the ante. Time to let go of the side of the pool and start swim

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

ACCEPTANCE!!!

(OK, I stole my title from Inafuturelife. But, it's TRUE!) I received a letter from the Director of Graduate Studies at UNC-Greensboro on Saturday. In a small envelope that DH handed to me with a chagrined look. It certainly LOOKED like it was going to contain a form rejection letter...! Split second response: "Well, SHIT. And I thought it was such a great fit for me." Opened the envelope - and let me tell you, the suspense was amazing. It started out like the form rejection let

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

Cosmic April Fool's Joke, or Just Another Crappy Friday? (Warning: This may upset you).

Just when you thought you had covered all unforeseeable circumstances.... This morning I was minding my own business in the shower and....oh. Well, that's odd. Oh. No, yep, that's what it feels like. I went upstairs to DH and let him know that things could get really ugly, really quickly. I called the doctor's office and left a message. I managed to get an 11:00 a.m. appointment for an exam. She found what I found. I then had a Monday afternoon appointment scheduled for a mammogra

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

I wish I had better news to report....

Unfortunately, the results have come back positive for infiltrating ductal carcinoma. It's the most common type of cancer. I'm going in for a lumpectomy in the morning and won't know stage or anything more until the end of the week. I'm still hopeful that we caught it early enough that it has not had a chance to spread, and so should you be, also. I have pulled my paper for the International Medieval Congress, which clearly I am not going to get done in time at this point. I still plan to g

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

Update post-op visit

OK, Sportsfans, here's the stat update: Stage 1, 0 Nodes, 0 metastats. They did find DCIS, & there were cancer cells in some blood vessels in the tissue sample, so chemo it is. (Don't offer to buy me a wig, my Mommy has already stepped up on that one. And, of course, it will be Red. ) It's an aggressive little bugger, but it's gone. Probability: 70% disease free in 5 years, 85% relative survival. Not so bad, eh?

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

OK, update is good!

Post-op update at present is the best possible news for a cancer diagnosis - the lumpectomy went VERY well, they found NO visual signs of cancer in any of the lymph nodes or in the surrounding tissue, although the pathologist will have to confirm that. I will go in Thursday for those results and then we will talk radiation. Chemo is currently not on the table yet. I have Vicoden. We are Good To Go. Hang in there - we got this. Also, just 'cause I was feeling feisty and oh! so badass

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

A Lucky, Lucky Girl Indeed...

So, given that I have the Big C and don't have a timeline or prognosis, and that it is so close to April 15, I decided that it would be unethical for me not to call the director of English Graduate Studies, tell her what is going on and that I can't say for sure what I will and will not be able to do, and give her the chance to offer my slot to someone who isn't dealing with the Unknown. It was definitely NOT an easy phone call to make, and NOT a phone call I would ever wish on anyone. Tha

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

From Whence The Title Of This Blog?

This entry is an explanation of my reasons for entitling this blog "the Alchemist's path". From the end of the Roman Empire through the medieval era, alchemy was developed into a highly specialized practice. Those who studied and practiced alchemy believed that what they were doing was scientific inquiry, and that through the proper manipulation of variables, perfect states of being could be achieved, both in inanimate objects (iron into gold) and in human beings (Imitatio Christi, or immortalit

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

Good God(dess)(e)(s), is this level of obsession normal?!

Inafuturelife wrote recently, in his blog, that he is going insane now during waiting season. I feel very much as if I am, also! I have noticed a very disconcerting trend in my life - which is that, no matter what I am doing, the idea of not getting an admit again this year is always there. It's like a bruise...it doesn't exactly hurt, unless you are directly pushing on it or bump into something again - but you are always acutely aware of its presence. It's not something you are dwelling on acti

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

If it looks too good to be true...sign immediately!

So...I got news on my funding package. And SUCH news on funding. I am just sitting on Cloud 9 here. After an application year in which I couldn't get a parking ticket validated, to be so generously treated is just....it's amazing. I've gone from Zero to Hero in a year, apparently. Oh, the programs that rejected me last year have again rejected me this year - or at least I think they have, one is still out but I'm not holding my breath. Besides which, I doubt very much anything they would offer m

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

Add A Piece, Lose A Piece - Making Sure A Submitted Application Is Complete

Here's a problem just about everyone is facing these days, with so many applications being handled through the online, Applyyourself platforms: How do you make sure your application is complete, including mailed-in components, once you have submitted a completed online application? Last year, I suffered through many, many fits of pique trying to ascertain whether or not my transcripts, GRE scores, and the like were received. Not helpful, is that some programs ask for you to upload your unof

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

How Many Grown Men Does It Take To Replace A Furnace?

This is reposted from my regular blog. It's not really about graduate school, but I think everyone should know about it, because wow, are we getting taken for a ride and wow, is it going to drastically impact everything my family does for the next five years. We were buried in debt before because of student loans and credit card debt associated with grad school expenses for my MA. Now, we'll be lucky if we don't end up belly up, and all it took was one crappy situation. Read on... I am sure

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

I'd sing David Bowie, but I just don't even know....!

As the rejections start piling up amidst the earlier acceptances in the Humanities programs on the results board, I am tempted to sing "bum..bum...bump...Another one bites the dust!" in terms of my own applications, but I don't even have that satisfaction. I have still heard nothing at all, and apparently am unlikely to hear anything at all for a while, yet. The U.S. Southlands just don't seem all that pressed to get in there and make decisions. On my more insane, conspiracy-theory days, I imagi

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

Nothing New Under The Sun.....

I wish the English professors would stop grading papers and get back to admissions decisions.....! So, we're in the second week of February, and those of us in the humanities are still pretty much sitting tight and hoping, and wishing, and praying....and hearing *cricket* *cricket* SIGH. MLA was in January this year, and I know there are a few other conferences going on now as well, which coupled with the weather has probably served to push everything back a bit. But man, do

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

Validate me...?...!...?...!

So, alongside many of my Compatriots in Hell (AKA, fellow applicants to English programs this go-round) I just called in and forked over $12.00 to ETS to hear an automated woman's voice tell me my Subject Test score. Turns out, it's neither good, bad, nor ugly: 640/ 82nd percentile. Well, hell. I mean, what does that really tell adcomms? I don't completely suck; it validates the rest of my application by underscoring that I am actually a solid candidate. But it's not a great score, eit

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

Fair's Fair....

So, today I hit the roof and emailed Corporate my blog post. Less than 30 minutes later, I got the response email: "Where are you?" About an hour after that, I got a call from the local president who wants to schedule a meeting at my earliest convenience. My husband emails me to demand what I said to corporate because now the local guy is all pissed off with him and yelling at him and we're probably not going to get our deal. I emailed him back: WHAT deal? Corporate had a bi

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

Beowulf and Grendel, 2.0

I feel like Beowulf, grappling with Grendel in the Mead Hall; only one of us can come out of this alive. I'm referring, of course, to my writing sample. I've decided that for one of the programs to which I'm applying, the one that allows two samples, I'm sending a couple of conference papers I've given over the past year, revised and polished, of course. I'm not very worried about this, I know the papers are solid and demonstrate my strengths as a writer-scholar, because of the posit

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

 

And, the sh*tstorm continues...

Good thing DH and I have ordered a brewing kit to make some Northern English brown ale, because we are going to need it for the big-ass Pity Party we are going to throw, hopefully in mid-March. The past week has NOT been good Chez Us, and I guess this is the Universe's way of keeping me so busy I can't obsess too much over grad school admissions? My car now has a completely unnecessarily-installed new alternator and a necessary new belt, (because the old one burst two days after they "fixed" the

Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

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