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So far, the only PhD program I got into has been NYU's. I have offers for master's at Edinburgh, SOAS and Columbia, but they're all unfunded, while NYU's funding me for 5 years. I also got rejected at Yale's and Columbia's PhD programs, which means I'm only waiting on Cornell, where, as far as I can tell, I am waitlisted.

I'm accepting NYU's offer if I don't hear from Cornell by tomorrow. I don't think I'm gonna get off the waitlist at this point, but I'm still waiting for the week to end before I take action.

This is so overwhelming! In a good way, but still! :)


So I haven't been blogging lately, because I've been kinda busy with protests and stands and sit-in and political discussions and and and--

I feel like the world stood still for a month, and life won't get back to normal until we finish this revolution.

However, I got some good news! On the 10th, I got accepted into the Comp Lit MSc program at University of Edinburgh. Unfortunately, this is unfunded, so I was going to apply for a scholarship over here (and given the current situation, I don't know if there'll be that many scholarships granted this year).

But yesterday I got some even better news: I got into the ME studies PhD program at NYU! Not only that, but with full funding for 5 years, through a McCracken fellowship! :D Eeee! EEEEEEEEEEE!

NYU's not my first choice, but now I can relax, knowing that I've got a place to go next September. And also, that my application was not total crap, and I have a shot at other prestigious schools.


Tomorrow, January 25, officially a holiday called Police Day, there's a huge demonstration going on. Thousands of people are going to be in the street protesting against the government, the police, corruption, inflation, unemployment--you name it. Unfortunately, I can't go.

I have a final on Wednesday. It's an Arabic exam, and I'm crap at Arabic, and if I get arrested during the protest, they might keep me overnight and make me miss it, or I might not be able to study enough to pass anyway. Then I wouldn't be able to graduate this summer, I'd have to retake it in September, and I'd lose any honours or distinction on my degree. Which means, no grad school next year, or probably ever (failing a subject in your final year doesn't look good, I'm told)!

I hate this. I hate missing out on something so important to me, because of practical concerns. I want to go, I want to protest, I'm so excited about it!


Oh my god, Edinburgh!

So they sent me my username to check my application on their EUCLID system, but no password. Several emails later, I have one. I log in to MyEd, click on the Launch EUCLID icon, and get an error message. I log out, log back in, no dice. Apparently, I have no access to EUCLID; my username (which they sent this morning) doesn't exist. I email them for support, no response. Re-email them, nothing. It's past 6 PM GMT now; they're closed, and will be until January 5. :(

It's not that big a deal, since I submitted my app online, and still have to mail the LoRs in... but why send me a username, then deny me access? I'd really like to be sure I didn't miss anything on the online app, you know.


The long wait begins

I submitted all my apps today. It's a great feeling. I'd celebrate, if I didn't have orals next week. :)

I didn't do the second writing sample thing, because frankly, I just wanted to submit the applications and get on with my life.

Now that I've submitted, though, I feel certain I won't get in anywhere. I suppose it's normal. But I still feel accomplished! I think my proudest moment was when I finally finished my 16-page paper in English, analyzing an Arabic text. I'm a French lit major, so I was totally out of my comfort zone.


I'm almost done with the writing sample I've been working on for over three months. And by 'working', I mean 'procrastinating'. Incidentally, I just went crazy and decided to write another one to send it to three of my schools.

Okay, here's the deal: I'm applying to two Middle Eastern Studies, one Cultural Studies and three Comp Lit programs. My current writing sample is on a poem in colloquial Egyptian Arabic by an Egyptian poet. It's related to my research interests, ties in nicely with my SoP, touches on interdisciplinary perspectives... But it's not comparative. I want to submit a commentaire comparé to Comp Lit programs.

I did a close-reading of a French poem a month ago, and now I'm thinking I could turn it into a longer, comparative paper. Deadlines are January 2 and 10 for Comp Lit programs. My finals start in less than 2 weeks; orals are on the 29th, and written exams start January 9, which means I should start studying for them, uh, right about now. And yet I'm going to finish my current paper tomorrow, then start translating and expanding on the close-reading one, and adding another analyzed text to it.

Am I crazy? Probably.

Save me from myself.


It's past 11 PM, and I've been up since 6 AM. I had class, then attended a panel at a conference, and then went home to work on my applications. I finished and uploaded my SoPs, CV and scanned transcript to all the apps. Now I just need to finish my writing sample (which is not even half-done) and nudge my last recommender, and I'll be all set, at least for US schools.

I'll go to sleep now, and probably spend all day tomorrow on that bloody writing sample.


Today, I finished and uploaded my Statement of Purpose. Well, a Statement of Purpose, anyway. I have several versions, you see.

My SoP has a long and a short version. The short version is being sent to Cornell and NYU, since they both ask for maximum 2 double-spaced pages. The long version is going to Yale and Columbia, where I can send up to 1000 words. Oh, and for SOAS and Edinburgh, I'll be refining an early draft, since it is a bit drier than the final versions.

The one I finished today was the Cornell version, which... wasn't particularly smart of me, since NYU's deadline is the closest, but since they're both getting the short version, I'll only need to tweak it and change the fit paragraph.

Anyway, I feel accomplished, yay!

Tomorrow, I go on the hunt for the Elusive Transcript again... Wish me luck!



I won't get my transcript before Thursday, possibly even Saturday. I really can't believe them! It's been over a month; how long does it take to print out a table and get it signed and stamped?

Regarding the writing sample, I am little frustrated by MS Word's inability to actually format a bibliography MLA style. I have to do the hanging indents manually, and the web document entries lack some information

Another issue is the literature review: my writing sample is on a topic that's gone mostly unexplored until now, except for a paper and a book, both by the same person. I got a hold of the paper (thanks, free JSTOR access at uni!) and read it, and am citing it in my paper; the book, however, is unavailable in Egypt. The only solid English-language library in Cairo is at the American University in Cairo, and I can't access it because I'm an undergrad at Cairo University. Even better, I can't order it online, because it'll get lost or stolen, or I'll pay three times its price at Customs. Basically, I have to do the literature review without that book.

God, I wish I'd finished that paper earlier. I wasted my summer in an HR internship that I hated; I could have stayed home and done some research.


Today, I went to visit one of my recommenders who was having trouble with the online system. I don't understand why schools insist on online recommendations, especially in a field renowned for aging professors, who will certainly have trouble navigating the websites. Anyway, so I helped her submit the two remaining recommendations, which means I'm up to 8 completed recommendations--2 for every school in the US. Still waiting for my third recommender to do her four letters (she hasn't even started them yet), and I also need to find recommenders (they call them referees) for the two UK unis I'm applying to.

It's a wonder I haven't fallen behind on schoolwork, while writing my statement of purpose and trying to write my writing sample. I say, trying to, because all I have to show for it so far is an outline, a list of references and two paragraphs. With only two weeks to go for my first deadline! Better sit myself down and start typing!

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