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About this blog

My experiences in attempting to get my Masters

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T-minus 12 days.

This might just be my last blog post here on The Grad Cafe, and it is an exciting turn of events. How I went from a 'decaf' lurker to a Master's Student is certainly a trek I will not soon forget. I still wake up some days just wondering how I got into such a great program when everyone just seemed to out-qualify me, but there are those days when I feel confident, happy and ready. I am ready.


I'm still not 100 percent positive with what I want to do with my life, but I know I want to get my Masters and I know I am happy with the program I am in. I still wish my Japanese was better, I still wish I had more work experience and I still wished I had more time to stay young - but, as I said, I think I'm ready. No matter what number my dice lands on, I'm happy with the way things have worked out right now.


Where I was

Undergraduate Institution: Temple University, Japan Campus

GPA: 3.85, one of 5 Magna Cum Laude

Major/Minor: Asian Studies/Political Science

Reflection:Considering the school is the first 6 stories of an Office Building in downtown Tokyo, I don't really regret going to TUJ. It wasn't the hardest school - and most of the students really aren't in it for the academics - but it did teach me a lot. Being in such an unique international set up - an American school in Japan with people from all around the world - really taught me a lot about the world, myself and academia. Maybe I wasn't pushed to my limits, but I really enjoyed the ride and I cannot deny the growth I feel as person with a Temple Japan degree. 


Where I will be

Graduate Institution: University of British Columbia

Program: Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Policy Studies

Worries: I'm going to die - taking such a heavy course loud to finish school in a year. I'm going to be the dumbest one in the room. The program doesn't focus enough on Japan. Canadian credentials might get in the way down the road, maybe.

Hopes: I meet a plethora of new international friends and contacts to add to my already varied list. I get a stronger focus on policy studies. The beautiful campus inspires me to actually leave my room. I succeed. 


Where I could have been

Graduate Institution: Seton Hall University

Program: Duel Masters in Asian Studies and Diplomacy & International Relations (Whitehead school)

Why I didn't go: Offered only a few TA-ships and no other substantial financial assistance. Huge China focus - limited Japan courses that I saw. Didn't make me feel special. 
What I'll miss out on: Seton Hall has fantastic networking and a unique partnership with the UN that I wish I had access to. Despite being much smaller and younger than UBC, I'm pretty sure Seton Hall's networking and alumni set up is far superior. I would have been able to live at home, and NYC/DC were so close.



I have officially registered for all but one of my classes with UBC - and I'll be in that last one soon enough. UBC makes you register for the whole year, instead of semester by semester, and since I plan on graduating in one year (=Death) that means I'm all set. My classes are really varied but, ultimately, set me up to have a strong foundation in international development and the role policy plays in the growth of Asia Pacific countries. There's a focus on East Asian diplomacy and Japanese government structures which I'm going to love as well. One of the cooler things I've learned is that many of my professors will let me tailor the classes to fix my interest - they wont care if all my papers are on Japan/US relations or what not. As long as I do the research and mold in their coursework, I'm set.


I'm taking 4 courses a term/semester, which is scary considering everyone is telling me not to take more than 3. But even grad school has to obey the law of economics and I do not have the money for a fourth semester, so I have to finish up in one year. The only thing I don't know yet is where/what my Practicum will be, though I know it will take place over the summer. I'm hoping to do something in Japan - worth with an NGO or government agency but of course my Japanese will need improving. 


Of course it seems like I will be missing yet another one of my graduations, which is extremely depressing. I missed TUJ's ceremony because I couldn't afford to fly to Japan for it (graduated a semester early) and now UBC's ceremony for me wouldn't be until November, with me having finished all requirements by September 2013. Oh well. T_T


I'm still trying to find a job - I applied to a bunch of RA'ships but I didn't get any so far. If I can make 200 a week than I should be able to pay for grad school on my own and return my loan to good old Uncle Sam - but taking so many classes AND working might just honestly kill me. 




Since this might be my last post ever, I guess I should leave a small bit about what I have learned about applying. One of the things I will point out is to just APPLY to a program - even if you don't think you'll ever get in. I thought UBC and White Head were well beyond my abilities - and yet both got in. UBC even called me an extremely strong candidate (I'm sure they had me mixed up with someone else, though). If you have the money and don't mind bothering the people writing your LoR, please, please, just apply to the programs you are interested in. You never know what will happen. 


Thank You Grad Cafe for scaring the hell out of me with your 'I save orphans and scored a perfect GRE test', its been mad fun : )





I leave for Vancouver Canada on August 15th, 2012 at around 7:20 AM from Newark Liberty International Airport and land at around 10:30 AM local time. August cannot come soon enough. Everything is falling in place, and the more I get done, the longer each day becomes. Its just like how it was when I was six and it was 3 days from Christmas... the waiting game is a horrible one.

I've been in contact with my school - The University of British Columbia - and my program - Masters of Arts in Asia Pacific Policy Studies - and I seem to be on track. I've picked all the classes I want to register for (discussed below), with registration only 3 days away. I have my loan approved from the US Government and I'm just waiting to finalize my scholarship with UBC that should pay for most of my tuition. I found an amazing apartment in Vancouver: a 4 bedroom 2 bath basement suite in a cute (but flat!) neighborhood which comes pre-furnished and has all new appliances in the kitchen. Its 500 CAD a month, utilities included, which is a great deal. I am rooming with one girl from my program - she actually found the apartment - which should be useful. The other 2 rooms are currently unoccupied, but I'm sure our landlord is trying to change that. There's a grocery store and a small strip of stores/restaurants/businesses just a few minutes walk away, including a bus stop which links me to the rest of the city.

The commute from my apartment to school is about a 5-10 minute walk - depending on how lazy I am - to the bus stop and then a 40 minute bus ride (sometimes shorter sometimes longer) with a final 5-10 minute walk to the school building. Its basically an hour commute, which isn't that bad. I'm still #220 on the waitlist for housing (I was originally #440) and there are only 200 grad student rooms, so its pretty obvious I'm not getting an apartment there. Its fine, I commuted to school when I was in Tokyo, so its not like its anything new.

All my classes have always been MON/WED/FRI and TUE/THURS, which sucked. But for UBC, my grad courses are one day a week for about 3 hours, sometimes 2 days a week for 1.5. This will make commuting easier, AND it will mean I can do fun things like attending school meetings, lectures, etc. Should be exciting. I don't want to list all my classes out of pure laziness, but basically I'm taking 8 courses for a total of 4 classes per semester/term. I'm taking 2 senior level undergrad courses because they're on interesting topics and the rest are all grad level. I'm taking things like Gender and Policy, Democratization in Asia, and a research class on China and Sea-Conflicts in South China Sea

which should be really cool.

There are some issues still: like how I want to take every course ever and have no room, but its fine. I actually have to run to my job, so i'll post this now and post another lattttter.

Good luck to you all, and me too :P


So now that I've been accepted into both the schools I applied for (Still in shock), its time for me to figure everything else out - like how to get to school, how to pay for school, etc.

I went to a Seton Hall "Meet the Dean and Faculty" meeting, which was a big mistake. Since the beginning I was pretty set on going to UBC, but this meeting gave Seton Hall a fighting chance. After they introduced the faculty and staff and discussed what they were studying and such, they brought on the students. Those undergrads at the Whitehead school are so much better then me. They all had beyond-impressive internships at the State Department, the UN or even the Defense Department. And the alumni they brought in - AMAZING. Some where just three years out of school and had fantastic, high level jobs, and of course they all said it was because of Whitehead and their networking abilities. But I will not be going there >.< I hope anyway. I can live at home and go to Seton Hall, but that's the problem - living at home. My family drives me insane (in a good way, not in an abusive way) and I hate living with them. It might sound stupid, but I'll go to UBC and take on more debt just to get away from them and live on my own. I am 100 percent more happy when I'm in my dorm or apartment, and I think that happiness will really help me out in grad school.

So, now that I'm set on going to UBC (theoretically, at least) I need to get everything planned. I know its still six months away (a little less), but planning helps me relax (and procrastinate, I'm suppose to be studying my Japanese). Again, this blog post is probably more for me and my brain then for you :P

Things To Do

  • Money
    • Graduate Stafford Loan
      • I have to sign up for and apply for the Graduate Stafford Loan so that I can pay for Tuition and Housing (and most likely food). Tuition, after scholarships, is costing me around $2000, and housing (if I get it) is around $9000, so I need at least $11,000 in loan money. I'm going to want extra for food, fun/living expenses, and internship money, so maybe I'll take out a total of $16000. Anything I don't use I can instantly put back into the loan as payment, or I could use it as 'moving costs' for after I graduate
        • I'm not sure if my practicum/internship will be paid for, or if it will even be in Canada or the United States. So I need some money to pay for food/housing for 2 months in case this happens
        • Just for fun, I already have $18000 in loans from Undergrad from the Federal Government and $4400 from the State of Vermont

        • Pre-Grad School Costs + Job
          • I have been looking for a job for the past 2 months and no one will hire me. At first I applied for "real jobs", like ones that require a cover letter and such. But since then I've been applying to everything, including cashier jobs and restaurants, and no one will even call me back.
          • I also just got an e-mail from the Fed telling me I go into repayment on my student loans in 3 months, and I can't go back into deferral until September when I start school full time. This means I need a job ASAP so I can make the payments on my undergrad loans for July, August, and September (probably)
          • Also, every dollar I make now is one less dollar I need to take out in Loans for grad school.

          • Housing
            • I officially applied for year-round housing at UBC. There's a huge waiting line, so its good I applied already. The top-choice housing I want is in this graduate only complex called Thunderbird located in the middle of campus. Its furnished, and has a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and 4 bedrooms. I really do not want to share my living space with anyone (Japanese share-houses ruined that for me) but I'll suck it up. I really hope I get it, and it works out to about $650 a month, which is not bad in Vancouver.
            • Of course I wouldn't mind private housing, but I'm worried about the housing contract. I cannot sign a year-round lease in case I end up getting an internship or practicum in another country. I'm sure if I explained it to my landlord or whatever they would forgive me, but it just complicates things. Most housing I've seen ranges from $500-$800, so my on-campus housing isn't a bad choice. Though I do hope it has a kitchen...
            • Cell Phone

              • My parents pay for my cell phone, but I think they're going to cut me off when I'm in Canada. I'd have to pay massive roaming charges, etc. if I use it there, so it makes sense to switch to one in Canada. I wont sign a contract with anyone, just get one of those pay-as-you-go ones.

              [*]Health Insurance

              [*]Canada has universal health insurance, and unlike Japan's it cost more then 10 dollars a month. I think my parents might take me off of their insurance, which would suck since I could still leech off of it when I move back to the states after graduation.

              [*]How the hell am I getting there?

              [*]Flying: I have no problem with flying. It doesn't bother me, especially after 15 hour flights from Newark to Tokyo non stop. My friend who I met in college in Japan (who is American) has offered to let me visit her in Spokane Washington, stay a few days, and would then drive me up to Vancouver, which seems fun and fine.

              [*]Driving: I do not have a car, but my father is hinting that he might give me his. I've been in college in a different country for the last few years so I could never buy one, so it would be a really nice graduation gift if he gave me his XD And I would really love to drive across the country, it would be great. He also might want to DRIVE WITH ME (and my mom) to vancouver. Which I wont do. I'll kill them. I have to explain to them that I hate being trapped in small spaces with them and would rather sleep in a dark room with 10 serial killers then drive cross country with them. Ah, love. And it would be really awesome to have a car in Canada and rive to Seattle or what have you on weekends. Though car insurance gets tricky...


              [*]Gotta get thin and sexy for grad school. Or I could cheesedoodles. Yup.

              I know it sounds like a lot, but I'm good at getting shit settled. And I have 6 months. Plenty of time.



Got Into Dream School

I. Did. It~ I am officially done with the application period for 2012!

Summary: I initially set off with the idea of applying to about 5-6 schools, but once I realized that application fees were around $100 each, I backed off fast. And then when I found TheGradCafe things just got worse. I saw the pure competitive nature of getting into on of the top 10 MPA schools and just gave up. I had a strong GPA and undergraduate background, but no policy work experience. So with that thinking, I settled onto two schools.

Seton Hall University: SHU has a reputation of being one of the better schools in New Jersey, and after I did some research I became really interested in their Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations. Its local, so I could live at home (and thus save money on rent) and apparently its ranked pretty high up there. It is in a great location (close to NYC and DC) and the school itself is beautiful (though really small in my opinion). I applied for - and was accepted into - both the Masters in Asian Studies program and the Masters in Diplomacy and International Relations program. It was my first grad-school acceptance and I was thrilled! If I do both degrees, I cannot qualify for any scholarships, but I can get TA-ships. The TA-ships pay up to 12 credits worth of tuition, which is good. Each degree itself is about 39 credits, but if I got both degrees I could complete it after 60 credits. Each credit for Seton Hall's grad program is 1000 dollars. So ultimately, it would be a 3 year, 60K program. If I somehow managed to get a TA-ship for every semester it would be completely free (as I would live at home) but that seems unlikely.

University of British Columbia: When I told my professors that I was considering going to grad school for Asian Studies or Political Science, one of them mentioned UBC. He said it was a great school with a fantastic reputation - and I checked it out. It looks beautiful, and apparently its one of the top research universities in the world! And its in a major city (which I love!). When I mentioned it to two other professors I trust, both told me that its a great school that they love and that both have worked there in the past! One professor did a guest professorship there for a year, and the other did something there ( I can't remember if he taught or did research, whoops). With such great recommendations, how could I not apply to the program. I applied for their Masters in Asian Pacific Policy Studies. Essentially it combines Political Science/Policy Studies with Asian Studies. So while it is not a MPA, its pretty damn close. And I love its focus on Asia. It is ALL about North America-Asian relations. For Canadian students it costs (no lie) around $4400 A YEAR. For international students (meaning my American ass) its about $7500 a year. But they give out a scholarship to every international student worth about $3000 to help cover the difference. I think that is extremely generous of them. There are opportunities for other scholarships but they don't tell us much about them. In a perfect world I would get enough money to pay for all my tuition, but even if I'm stuck paying the hole $5000 I'm okay with it.

The program is designed to be finished in 1-year, and about 1/3 of students finish in that time. Another 3rd take an half a year. I think if you are dong a practicum (internship/work experience) or a complex thesis or field work its hard to finish in 1 year. If you're doing a Thesis its probably easier because you just cram it in (and die) with all your other course work. As of right now, I am going to do a practicum because I think its the smart thing for me to do. For one, my degree will be Canadian. I don't think this matters really, especially because UBC is such a great school overall, but I feel like there's going to be at least one loser out there who's going to look down on my resume and reject me because of where my degree is coming from. Second, I don't have any policy work experience. All my work with policy and asian studies has been academic. I've only been out of school for 2 months (undergrad), and when I was living in Tokyo I couldn't afford to do an internship AND work my English teaching job. So a practicum gives me a good working experience background ( I think so anyway ). This gives me the ability to back up my degree with work experience when it comes to snagging a job. Third and finally, I do not want a PhD anytime soon, and that's what a Thesis helps build up to.

One of the issues/strengths with MAAPPS at UBC is that you have to pick a 'stream' to help guide you. They are "Economy and Social Change", "Gender and Development", "Security", "Governance and Human Rights", and "Media". In a perfect world, I would erase "economy" and just do "social change". That's what I love studying - social changes and pop culture. I'm HUGE into Japanese modern society like Yakuza, Enjo Kosai, sex drugs and rock n' roll. You know, the cool stuff :P But I also love security and human rights. Its going to be a tough choice. I think on my resume I hinted I wanted to do gender, but I'm not sure if I want to spend another year studying feminism.

Ultimately If I haven't made myself clear, I am so excited about getting into UBC. It was my top choice of the two, and I love that it is in a big city in a foreign country (I did spend the last 2 years of undergrad in Tokyo, after all). Even though I only found out 2 days ago, I am already day dreaming about living in Vancouver. I haven't formally accepted yet, but I can't think of any reason why I would turn it down. Even if I get no money what-so-ever, the Graduate Student Stafford loan would cover everything (tuition + housing), so I know I can afford it. I'm trying to find a job now (will not be telling them I'm leaving in six months haha) so I can start saving future-rent money. I had an amazing interview somewhere, and they said they'd get back to me in 2 weeks. Its been 12 days. ANYWAY: I'm just really excited that I got into UBC. I was told that they only accept 20 students a year and get about 80-100 applicants, so I'm feeling pretty strong. But I'm also worried.

Worried beause I have a lot of... bonuses on my resume that might make me look better that I actually am.

1 ) The program prefers people with Asian studies experience and language ability, and I lived in Tokyo for two years. On an application, that gives me a big bonus, and they probably assume I'm much better at Japanese then I actually am (I'm horrible).

2 ) I wrote a thesis on feminism and female agency in Japan and the United States for my last semester as an undergrad, and I wrote about it in my personal statement. One of their 'themes' is "Gender and Development" so any gender professor who read my stuff would have liked me, but I do not plan on doing Gender as my theme.

3 ) I met the Graduate Director for the program at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. Not only was I the only American in the room, but I was the only one who spoke fluent English so he and I had a nice conversation. I'm sure this didn't hurt my chances.

4 ) One of the Professors who wrote my letter of rec worked at UBC as a visiting scholar for over a year.

Part of me is a little worried I am not cut out for graduate work and they think I'm a better student then I actually am: but the worst that can happen is I fail (oh god!). I have faith in my abilities, but I'm not sure if I have faith in their faith of my abilities.

Thank You for reading my blog entries. I only wrote a few, but they were always helpful for me in getting my thoughts out. Its really been a great experience. And if you take any advice from any of my entries, it should be this: Take everything said on this forum with a grain of salt. Just because someone appears to be Buddah himself or the perfect candidate doesn't mean they're getting in and you're getting rejected. Just because people are touting GRE's like their the end-all of all application killers doesn't mean they always matter or you need to study for 4 years. Just breath. Just relax. And apply.

If anyone has any questions, or has been Waitlisted at Seton Hall, please let me know. I haven't rejected Seton Hall yet just in case something bad happens, but if you're wait listed PM me and we'll see if I can back out for you.

Thanks Again


This post is going to be as much for me as it is for anyone who read this. I'm getting so close to the final decision point: And. I. Am. Going. Insane.

Let's go full circle with my craziness:

I have officially been accepted for the Masters in Asian Studies at Seton Hall University - one of the two schools I've applied for. They have rolling admission which is why I found out so early. I was probably one of the first people to apply - if not the first, as I got my application in as soon as possible. I have NO IDEA what the ranking for Asian Studies is, but I know I've never heard of "Seton Hall" at the same level as Harvard. But then again - I don't care. I HATE the snobbiness of people who only apply to the top 5 schools, not because its the 'perfect fit', but just because its the top five school. Does reputation mean a lot in my field - (Policy Studies, MPA, Politics, etc) - Hell yes. But that has never stopped me before. I graduated with a B.A. in Asian Studies this December from Temple University, Japan Campus. Temple is not a big name school - though it tries to be - and Temple Japan is definitely not a perfect institution, but I worked hard, learned a lot, and had a lot of fun. I'm not afraid to do this again at Graduate school.

That said, I am terrified about just getting a MA in Asian Studies. What the hell do I do with that? I know I want to deal with international relations and education, I want to meet powerful people and tell them how to do their jobs right - haha. At $1000 dollars per credit, and as a 39 credit class, it'll cost me 39000.

I also applied for the Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall for a duel degree. I will find out about this program in Three Weeks. I'm not so sure if I can get into this program, as its a top 20 program, and I just don't feel old enough to get in (Yesterday was my Birthday :D Turned 22). AND to make it worse, if I get into Seton Hall's Diplomacy Program for my duel degree, it will be a 3 year, 60 credit program which will cost me SIXTY THOUSAND DOLLARS.

Seton Hall has GA-ships that cover tuition and sometimes give a stipend. The Asian Studies program only offers language GA's, which mean's I can't get them as I am not fluent in Japanese. I'm not sure about Whitehead GA's, which means I have to apply for 'generic' ones like office help or research. But they're not posted until March. Can I wait that long?

Now on to UBC: I applied to the University of British Columbia MONTHS AGO, but I just sent them my most recent transcript (of my last semester). They do not even begin to look at admissions until the deadline passes, which is January 15th. I read somewhere that they do not even begin to send Acceptance Letters until MID MARCH if not April. I know, I know - this is EARLY compared to US schools. But I am allowed to freak out! They're program costs $9000 for the entire year. Yup. SO MUCH CHEAPER, and the program is really awesome. It is called the Masters in Asia Pacific Policy Studies: that's exactly what I want to do.

Now, let's move on: Warning, this gets mushy.

I am worried about dating. While living in Japan, I bounced between Tokyo and New Jersey every 6 months or so, which made it impossible for me to find anyone "special". I finally met someone this last semester who I really had a great time for and developed real feelings. And then I left him behind to graduate and come back home to America. We rarely talk more (well, I talk: he rarely replies haha). My ex - Adam - says he's still interested in a relationship with me, and basically asked me out last week. Because I just came out of a relationship (one that DID NOT drive me crazy unlike his and my last relationship) and because Adam really hurt me the last time we dated, I told him we can give it another shot but at a MUCH MUCH MUCH slower pace. He makes me smile sometimes, but others he drives me insane.

Here's where it gets even trickier: If I get into SHU and go, I can live at home or maybe get an apartment nearby. That means I can continue to date Adam or, if faith swings it this way, someone else for at least the next two/three years as I attend SHU. After that, if I'm serious with someone, they can follow me where ever I get a job. But if I date Adam, I will have to leave him behind if I go to the University of British Columbia. Now, if me and Adam stay 'dating' while I'm in Vancouver, I wont see him for a year. If he and I break up, how could I possibly date someone in Vancouver, if I'm just going to move in another year. Ugh. And I do not even want to think about dating someone else while attending SHU: I know Whitehead students occasional attend fancy dinners with fancy people, and as a gay man - attending a Catholic University - there are obvious....concerns.

Final Subject: I applied for about ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND BILLION jobs since I've graduated. Some are way BEYOND my abilities. Some are way BENEATH my abilities. So far, no one as even bothered to mail me a rejection. Ah, such love. There are a few jobs that I've applied for that, if offered, I would skip out on Grad School for a few years. There are others that I will only keep as a backup if I do not get into Graduate School.

Its so depressing knowing that I'm both qualified and unqualified for these jobs - and not a single one is bothering with me. But: at least I can be happy I've been accepted for a Masters in Asian Studies. I mean, that's my real passion. So if they want me, I must be doing something right.

If you've made it this far; I love you, Happy New Year.


So much Progress

My applications are complete! Kind of...

UBC has everything submitted, but their website says I am missing a few things. Its lying though. At least I think it is haha.

Seton Hall has ALMOSt everything completed. One of my professors didn't submit his Letter of Rec to this school. Why JUST this school I have no idea. Maybe beacuse it was burried in his inbox? I sent him another request. Once he does that, SHU should be finished!

I'm currently finishing up my last semester here at TUJ, and I'm wondering what to do about my transcripts. I know I have to mail out my final copies (once I've "graduated"). But when my Final Semester Grades come out on December 9th, to I send them out the? or do I wait until my "official graduation date" of January 27th? That's way past the deadline... I'll ahve to send out a desperate e-mail to one of my schools >_<;;

I've also been offered an interview for an internshp at the Human Rights Campaign (largest Gay-Rights group in the US) for this upcoming Spring. It sounds like such an awesome oppotunity. I applied for "policy" but got an offer from "event planning". Its great for networking though :P Only problem is DC is like... 4000 dollars+ for the spring semester to stay in "intern" housing. There is no way I can afford that. Even if I managed to work part time. It is crazy! So I had to turn them down. It crushed my soul.

But I did get an "interview" with the Democratic Party in Sommerset County, NJ. Its about an hour's drive from my house that I would have to make every day.... but at least I can live at home! Maybe I'll do it! If it requires me to go door-to-door to try to get votes, however, I won't do it. That's too creepy for me.

I'm now un-officially done. I'm flying back to the United States from Japan on December 15th, saying goodbye to some of the best friends and best boyfriend I've ever met. Its going to crsuh my soul some more, but its part of growing up. After I get back to the States I have to find a part-time job to hold me over until I find out about grad schools. If I get into SHU or UBC, I can keep my part time job until school starts. If I DO NOT get into either school, I'll have to start looking for full time jobs >_<;; Hopefully I can find a job that has to deal with policy or asian studies.... and then I can reapply to schools in a few years with more experience (and money) under my belt. If I do not get a job... I'll run away to Japan and teach English so that I can pay off my student loans.....

Wish me luck. I'll wish you luck,


(Sorry for any spelling mistakes. I have a final in 2 hours and am totally hyper - and this keyboard is really old)


Greetings from rainy and cold Tokyo~

I'm definitely a little byouki (病気)(sick) right now, so I decided to take the night off, stay in, and work on some applications/be lazy. I officially sent in my first graduate school application to... Seton Hall's Whitehead School of Diplomacy!!! I am applying for a Joint Masters in Asian Studies and Diplomacy/International Relations and I'm hoping I get in!

The program itself is good, but its also really close to my home in New Jersey so I could A) live at home and B) get a job as I C) commute to school. It would be oh so lovely. My only concern now is that since it is a joint program, I think I have to apply separately to both programs - which means TWO APPLICATION FEES. I already paid the first fee (100 USD), and I do not want to pay another. I'm on my last 5 weeks of study in Japan and am balanced to the very last yen (which is about .02 cents, silly exchange rate) and an extra fee would mean no food for a week haha.

I also finished my application to the University of British Columbia (my top choice). But right when I was about to hit *submit* they entered their morning maintenance phase so I have to wait a few hours. Their application fee is 153 Canadian dollars! (about the same US). That's so much money that I so do not have >_<;; I know i can wait until I'm home in America (December 15th) to submit my applications (i'll even have my finished transcripts by then, this is my last semester so my current Transcripts don't include this term) since the deadlines aren't until January... but I do not want to wait. I know rushing is bad, but don't you also get more money (or a chance at more money) if you submit early? God I just do not know. Who needs food anyway...

I also applied for 2 internships - one at the Democratic National Campaign in New Jersey (that I think I got... but they said I have to wait until I'm back in America to contact them) and one for the Human Rights Campaign. The problem is I think I might get the HRC internship (MAYBE!) but its UNPAID and in Washington DC, which means I can't afford to go and live there for a semester even if I get it >_<;; Maybe I shouldn't have applied because if I get it I'll take a slot away from someone else... but I'm secretly hoping that if I actually GET the internship I'll find a way to get cheap housing. Or something. Or die. That too. haha.

I've been looking over a lot of people's "Will I get in?" and "What I'm applying for" threads and I feel really....under performed. I have almost ZERO work experience in my field, and no internships. I have job experience... but not in anything wow-worthy. Only one independent research grant... and no published works. I still think I'm good enough to get into some schools, but def. not the best of the best. Which is a shame bc I totally know I would do amazingly in them :P But anyway - this has me limiting my applications. As of right now, I am officially applying at:

University of British Columbia

Seton Hall

Korbel (though they Give like... no funding what so ever)

and.... at least one more.

Oh wish me luck and mercy - and food, since I gotta starve to send this applications.

Domo and some Arigatou -


";akljdf;aksjdf;laksjdf" would do a really good job at summarizing how I feel right now. Now that I have my GRE scores, I've really been thinking about if I really even want to Graduate School. Its not that my scores were bad ( 161/155/5.0 ), but its just my way of going about them. I was hoping that my scores would either be "Super Awesome" so that I could feel extremely confident or "Super Horrid" so that I could just give up. But no... they're just slightly above average, which means I'm still stuck in this limbo of "Will I get in?".

Many of you have probably seen the 'You Do Not Need to Study' thread that's started up in the GRE Section. Although the original poster (OP) has gotten in a lot of trouble from people, I kind of agree with him. Not everyone needs to study on end for the GRE. I myself only (honestly) studied the night before and did quite alright. But I didn't study because I felt I would do okay - in fact I was freaking out up until the last hour before the test. I just couldn't bring myself to study. Sometimes I just fail as a student. Like now, for instance. I have 2 essays due (with two presentations) in the next week - with one of them due at Midnight Saturday - and have barely started. Sometimes I just can't push myself to do the work, even when I find it extremely interesting.

Here's where things get messy, though. All the negative responses on the 'No Study' thread have argued that 'slackers' can't make it in Grad School. Its too much work, requires too much effort and time, and is meant for truly passionate academics. People who wait to the last minute to do any work can't handle grad school - or don't deserve grad school. That's what almost everyone is saying on the forum. But I love my topic (Asian Studies/Policy/Sociology)! Shouldn't that be enough for me to go to Grad School? Should it matter if sometimes I do not write my paper until the night before? This is what has be questioning if I really want to go to Grad School or not. I do not want to change. I love who I am - and how I work academically has gotten me through school so far. I do not want to be like the people who spend every hour studying, every minute doing homework, and every second hating their lives. I'm not a PhD student - I want to be a Masters student. I want to LEARN, not go to school. I like writing papers and giving presentations and raising my hand in class, but I hate having to do it.

I do not think I'm trying to go to Grad School to avoid the real-world. I want a lot of government oriented jobs that require a Masters Degree. And since its only a 2-year program (or hopefully UBC's 1-year program), I can afford to sacrifice that time professionally. But am I going to get to grad school to end up hating it? Is it going to be filled with cry-baby super competitive academics who care less about learning and more about knowing more then me? Because that's not what I'm signing up for...

I don't know. Back to writing my essays (or watching random Youtube videos).




I did pretty well at first, this application season. I managed to get my three professors to agree to write me Letters of Recs this summer for one thing, and then I even took my GRE in August. (It is totally killing me that I do not have my scores yet. If I knew they were low, I could just stop and give up haha!) But now that the only things I have left to do is apply and write my SOP - I just cannot get anything done.

I tried to write my first SOP for my top school - the University of British Columbia, but I just have no faith in it. The 800 word count is so limiting! And I keep trying to not sound cliche or to show-off but... I end up doing one or both every time! And to be perfectly honest, I just find myself giving less of a damn every day haha!

Maybe I'm secretly nervous, or maybe I really am just not passionate about graduate school anymore. Which is a terrifying thought. I think this fear of Grad School came up when I was filling out my SOP for UBC, and they asked me what "track" I want to do - practicum/internship or thesis. I do not want to go into a PhD program anytime soon, so maybe a practicum/internship would be really helpful to me? I want to work in intelligence or policy making for the government - or something like that - so I don't know what to do! Part of me also doesn't want to put down Thesis because its tough to decide a topic now! I am still in Undergrad! How am I suppose to be solid on an idea that will shape the next year or two of my life?

I've barely touched the application for Duke, Seton Hall, or University of Alberta. Its all a shame, really. -_-



Nice to meet you ^_^ I am currently an Asian Studies undergrad at an American university in Tokyo, Japan. This semester will be my last and I will graduating in December, and will afterwards return to my home in New Jersey, USA. I love school (the discussions more than the homework) and it was never a question of whether or not I would attend college. Now that this point in my life is coming to and end, I've started to work on possibly going to Graduate School for my Masters. While I know already that I absolutely do not want a PhD right now (I am not prepared to give up so many years of my life), I'm more hesitant about my Masters. I think if I had all the money in the world that I would absolutely jump right into Graduate Studies, but life can be cruel and leave you 30K in debt to the government for undergrad! As it stands now, I'm applying to schools and, even if I get accepted, I will not attend the school without proper financing - which is already difficult for Masters.

As for me, besides school, I really enjoy city life. Living in Tokyo exposes me to so many new things, smells, faces, and experiences that it just leaves you breathless. I love walking all over major urban centers like Tokyo, New York City or Burlington. As for academics, obviously I'm in love with Japan haha. Even though as an undergraduate I do not really have a "specialty" or anything, but my focus really has been on Japan more than China or the region in general. I would really like to get a job working for the government - maybe embassy work or intelligence. Of course I have dreams of grandeur where I work for security intelligence, and the dream job, of course, would be to become Secretary of State (for a 2 two president, of course).


I do not really want to post my academic information (GPA, etc) because I think its not that important to anyone who reads this blog. BUT It helps me stay focused, so for now I'm going to post it. But there might be a time where I edit this post and delete it:

I've attended 3 schools: 1st the University of Vermont, but I had to drop out after one year because it got way too expensive, 2nd my local Community College for one semester (I withdrew from Vermont in August, so there was no time to go anywhere else), and 3rd my current school in Tokyo.

(Note: I liked my County/Community college. The other students may not have been in love with their academics, but I think my classes were, in many ways, just as informative as my ones at major universities like UVM)

  • GPA: 3.8 (At my current school. 4.0 at community college, 3.67 at UVM)
  • I won a scholarship that finances independent research for around 20 undergrads. This is my "research" experience - though I'm way behind haha (just do not tell my mentor that!). I am researching Feminism in Japan and the Untied States and comparing political systems to see which is "better" for women in general.
  • It is illegal in Japan to publish anything like a Dean's List, but my school does have one (Its just hidden... yeah I don't know), but I would think I would have made it at least once.
  • Technically I have 7 semesters of Japanese language, and I've lived in Tokyo for 2 years, but I still suck at the language
  • I have not been published, my school has no clubs or extra-curricula activities.

Graduate School Goals/Status

I really do not know what I'm doing with graduate school. I've looked at a few schools, and I have of a list of where I want to apply - but its so expensive! At first I was thinking just 5 schools to apply to, but that's over 500 Dollars! So maybe just 3 schools >.<

My top choices right now are:

University of British Columbia, Canada for Masters in Asian Pacific Policy Studies

University o Alberta, Canada, Canada for Masters in Political Science

University of Denver, USA for Masters in Asian Studies (ALTHOUGH! I sent someone a hand written letter and never got a letter back :( )

Seton Hall University, USA for a Masters in Asian Studies/Diplomacy and Peace Studies Joint Degree

I have my Letters of Rec (asking for these was crazy), and my transcripts are in America for my mother to send out (mailing internationally is insane), and my schools picked out (kinda). All I need to do is write my statements and fill out the applications >.<

OH! I took the new GRE and wont get my scores until November.