Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

About this blog

This is my second and hopefully last application season!

Entries in this blog


In 64 days, I'll be driving cross-country with my parents to Delaware. My dad offered generously to drive our truck, which will also be towing our car. I last did a move like this when I was a kid, so I was too naive to know that I should worry about things like accidents, the car breaking down, thieves breaking into the storage portion, running out of gas, how to park so you don't need to reverse, etc. Now, these are all things I'm terrified of, even though I definitely trust my dad. He's a great driver. It's just a little daunting.

We've slowly been packing up our apartment and getting rid of things. We're selling our multi-functional pool/dining/poker table and we bought a queen sofabed so that we can have our parents stay over with us when they come to visit. I've been reviewing my Italian and reading as much as I can (which is not much -- probably only a couple hours a day since I can't read at my work :(). I have so much that I want to read before school starts but I don't know if I'll have time.

My husband's work has been incredibly kind to us. That's an understatement. He's allowed to keep his job and work remotely, as an independent contractor. The details are a little complicated, but basically it boils down to the fact that we'll have a steady stream of income that can support us. Taxes for independent contractors kind of suck, as we found out (if I understand it right, it's like 30% when you include the federal tax and the self employment tax), but as long as I can maintain my grades enough to keep getting funding/tuition/my stipend, then we'll be just fine. Our apartment is a little pricey but I honestly can't wait to live there and don't mind the rent because the environment is so perfect.

Both of our jobs have become crazy busy, of course... so that adds to the hectic feeling of our move.

I've thought of a few titles and topics for my thesis and have been tempted to email my adviser to tell him that I already know what I want to write on. Either of these things are things I've been thinking about for years and years, so I know I'll end up writing about one of them. I'm so excited about it. I also have classes picked out and we're planning to create a little work space for me in our new place. My husband gets an office, too, so he's so excited about that and I couldn't be more happy that he's excited about this new adventure.

Anyway! I hope you are all doing well :) I Haven't had any time at all to come on the forum so I have no idea what's happening with any of you any more :( It's awful. I really hope I'll have time to get back on the boards soon because I really enjoy the community here!


In 64 days, I'll be driving cross-country with my parents to Delaware. My dad offered generously to drive our truck, which will also be towing our car. I last did a move like this when I was a kid, so I was too naive to know that I should worry about things like accidents, the car breaking down, thieves breaking into the storage portion, running out of gas, how to park so you don't need to reverse, etc. Now, these are all things I'm terrified of, even though I definitely trust my dad. He's a great driver. It's just a little daunting.

We've slowly been packing up our apartment and getting rid of things. We're selling our multi-functional pool/dining/poker table and we bought a queen sofabed so that we can have our parents stay over with us when they come to visit. I've been reviewing my Italian and reading as much as I can (which is not much -- probably only a couple hours a day since I can't read at my work :(). I have so much that I want to read before school starts but I don't know if I'll have time.

My husband's work has been incredibly kind to us. That's an understatement. He's allowed to keep his job and work remotely, as an independent contractor. The details are a little complicated, but basically it boils down to the fact that we'll have a steady stream of income that can support us. Taxes for independent contractors kind of suck, as we found out (if I understand it right, it's like 30% when you include the federal tax and the self employment tax), but as long as I can maintain my grades enough to keep getting funding/tuition/my stipend, then we'll be just fine. Our apartment is a little pricey but I honestly can't wait to live there and don't mind the rent because the environment is so perfect.

Both of our jobs have become crazy busy, of course... so that adds to the hectic feeling of our move.

I've thought of a few titles and topics for my thesis and have been tempted to email my adviser to tell him that I already know what I want to write on. Either of these things are things I've been thinking about for years and years, so I know I'll end up writing about one of them. I'm so excited about it. I also have classes picked out and we're planning to create a little work space for me in our new place. My husband gets an office, too, so he's so excited about that and I couldn't be more happy that he's excited about this new adventure.

Anyway! I hope you are all doing well :) I Haven't had any time at all to come on the forum so I have no idea what's happening with any of you any more :( It's awful. I really hope I'll have time to get back on the boards soon because I really enjoy the community here!


Hello friends!

I'm so excited to tell you all about the wonderful time I had visiting my new school's campus last week. My one year anniversary was Tuesday, and that night (after an incredible day together, of course), my husband and I left LA on a redeye for Newark. We were there for about four days, and it was... an incredible experience. Unforgettable, really. We met with current graduate students who could not have been more friendly, fun, hospitable, and informative if they tried, and (squeal) we met my POI. The meeting with my POI and one of his PhD students was so much fun, almost like being at a stand up comedy show or something. I can't wait to work with these fine people for the next several years!

In addition to meeting current faculty and students, we also went apartment hunting. We accomplished our hunting in just a few hours, many thanks to the last minute car we rented and to finding basically the paradise of apartments at the end of what was several otherwise discouraging hours of looking. The apartment complex is lovely and just a short walk from White Clay Creek (pictures below!), Newark's Main Street which is the social hub of the city, and Old College, where the art history department and my classes are housed. There's also a university shuttle that stops right at the complex, which will be a godsend in the winter (and sleepy mornings). They told us that they're considering building a dog park. This was surprising because... what apartment complex builds dog parks? We've always wanted a puppy but never considered getting one in our current living situation... but the apartment complex we found is lush and green and pet friendly and I can think of all these great places our little puppy would love running around and playing. So, we might end up adopting a puppy sometime in our tenure here. (I know this is sort of irrelevant but the thought of a cute little puppy running around the greenery of our apartment complex makes me really happy :)) Unfortunately, we weren't able to leave with a signed lease or a deposit down (which we were hoping to), but they promised to follow up with us when a unit becomes available in our timeframe -- and they've already been in touch twice! Very reassuring.

One of our nights there, we attended a student production of the Phantom of the Opera (Andrew Lloyd Webber's version). It was phenomenal! We also got to try a bunch of local coffee shops (I've now picked out two that I know I'll be frequenting), restaurants, and went to a restaurant that makes its own gelato (which was thisclose to being as good as Italy's).

Edit to say that: I spent the entire trip thinking that the UDel Blue Hen was actually the Road Runner from Looney Tunes. I can't shake it. The Blue Hen looks just like him to me. It's endearing (and hilarious). Meep meep.


Unbeknownst to us, we visited UDel during "Decision Days," the decision weekend for undergraduates, and thus we constantly ran into/walked along with tours full of bright-eyed freshmen and impressed parents. It was a somewhat poignant reminder that I'm separated from this phase of life now and that over the next 2 (or several, if I'm lucky enough to get into the PhD program), I'll be learning how to teach these "youngins." One exciting moment (as if all moments on this trip weren't exciting for my very easily excited self) was when someone told me that as a TA, I'd probably be explaining to undergrads why they got something wrong on their test, and my mind did a mental "Success Kid" meme. How cool is that? I love explaining art history to people, and so to actually be in a position where I can explain it to undergraduates for the betterment of their (grades, personal selves, knowledge, etc.) is something that I'm really looking forward to doing. I've heard that TAing for my department is excellent preparation for when one moves on into academic teaching positions. The undergraduates I've encountered seemed to be consistently and genuinely excited about and involved with their university, but I think that my level of excitement to be here for graduate student exceeds all of their enthusiasm combined! (Yes, I am the superwoman of being excited about Delaware!! I can't help it! Sorry!)

Delaware is basically heaven. I'm thrilled about the program and my fellow students. I hope that I can keep up with them -- they're all incredibly smart, successful, well respected young scholars and I admit that it's a little bit intimidating to be surrounded by such prestigious students! But hearing of all their successes (mostly via the department's newsletter), moreso than being intimidating, had me beaming with pride that I'll soon be part of such a stellar department, and under the guidance of a faculty that seems to genuinely care about their students' academic successes and growth. I haven't even begun, and already my heart is tethered to this place. I can't imagine going anywhere else for my MA, or for my PhD, and I'm hoping that the department and I will have a mutual excitement about each other so I don't have to leave in two years! Seriously. After this incredible week, there is no other program for me. No other program that I'd rather study at. Not Yale, not Virginia, not Maryland, not Columbia. This is it. I know that over the next two years I'll grow exponentially as a scholar and I can't imagine not doing my PhD here with this POI. I know I'm jumping the gun a little already thinking about my PhD when I haven't completed the MA yet, but -- I applied to the PhD program in the first place, anyway. I knew from the start that I could see myself being here for five years, and I now I know it like the back of my hand. I can't wait to start learning, researching, writing, and forging new relationships in the Fall!

Here's a few pictures from our trip!


Old College @ the University of Delaware. Old College is the oldest building on campus. This is where the art history department is housed. Surprisingly, even with all the tours going on, no one was ever in front of this building so we consistently got the best shots! Win.


Inside Old College.


Old College also has an impressive art gallery.


This is White Clay Creek, a short walk from our (hopefully) new home!


And this is one of our wedding photos, because really the best part of last week was that I've been married to an amazing man for a year already! Best year of my life. :wub:


Some things are starting to become clear in my new adventure, and some things still remain a mystery.

I've been in touch with two graduate students (one is one of my POI's students and one is from hereeee :D) and they've been awesome answering all my questions and going above and beyond what I would have ever imagined. I feel so much more at ease about this crazy transition that my husband & I are about to undertake (no matter how much I flip flop in the following paragraphs ... it's true, I feel much much more prepared, peaceful & knowledgable about all this).

I now have a list of apartments to check out and I'm making a To Do list for when we get to Newark. The #1 thing on that list besides meeting my POI & current students and the like is to try Brew HaHa! which is a coffeeshop there. I have super high expectations. I love coffee and was a barista for two years during my undergrad so I really hope it's as good as it sounds. Their website shows that they make latte art (bears, hearts, etc.) so that's really exciting. (Sorry, I abuse the word "exciting" lately...)

One graduate student told me about a mandatory TA conference where for two days, everyone TAing in the next year goes to this conference and talks about teaching methods/engaging your students/grading/etc. and oh my goodness it might as well just be renamed "Amy's Heaven Conference" because two days talking about teaching?? Yes please. I'm not sure how UDel can get any more awesome than already is... but I'm sure it will once we visit and meet people and see how pretty the campus is and so on. I'm so ready for classes to start.

I noticed that my funding stops on May 31, 2013, so I'm a little worried about funding for Summer 2013, but I hope that I'm just overthinking it and it will fall into place. Mostly I'm anxious for my husband, having to find a job. He's in IT but he's multi-talented so I feel like he won't have much trouble finding a job with comparable pay, but I haven't really started looking to see what people in the area/Wilmington/maybe even Philly if we have to are making (trying to get away from that commute).

I have so much to do before we move! Reading, packing, more reading... Mostly reading.

Thanks for listening to me ramble on! I wonder how long I'll get to blog on here. :lol:


I really liked and thought it would be fun to make a list of my own.

1. Officially accept the offer by signing paperwork & sending it back (via post ... ugh.)

2. Visit Newark! :D My husband & I will be spending the week of our wedding anniversary in Newark exploring the campus, housing options, perhaps meet my POI, etc. I can't wait! We won't have a rental car but it seems like Newark has pretty awesome public transportation to/from Newark, Wilmington, and the mall I keep hearing about (Christiana, I think?)

3. Get housing. I read somewhere on the Grad Cafe that housing in Newark can fill up a year in advance. This is not the type of thing someone moving across the country wants to read! :( The last thing I want is for us to start grad school living in a hotel or something of that sort. I'm hoping we'll be able to get this worked out. UDel's family housing has a waiting list, too, and thus housing isn't guaranteed. I'd say that's our biggest stress factor right now.

4. Start the job search (for my husband). He has a wonderful job right now that we'll be sad to leave and I'm hoping he'll be able to find something he really likes with comparable pay. (Okay, this is equal stress to housing. :huh:)

5. Go to Disneyland! We have some free tickets that we need to use up. Plus, where better to celebrate than the Happiest Place on Earth? I'd like to be 5 again for a day. ^_^

6. Find out how & when to register for classes (apparently this information will be coming in a welcome package).

7. Read, read, read! I have a huge reading list to finish before I start grad school. I've been working on it for about a year now, and there's still a ton of books left. Some of them I've already read during my undergrad years, but I want to refresh my memory.

8. Start watching movies and reading in the Romance languages. I've got to keep those skills up. I bet my first class will be something daunting like "read this 600 page tome in archaic 17th century Italian." That's what I'm expecting, anyway. Do your worst! :lol:

9. Tell everyone. Our families and some close friends know, but I don't think the reality has set in for some of those friends. Hoping to spend tons of time with them before we go.

10. Pack & move & set up our new place!




Dear friends! Before I get into the best news ever, I wanted to say a huge thank you everyone here who has offered a listening ear, support, advice, well wishes, and happy lurking. I could not have gotten through this process with my sanity in tact without you guys! I mean it!

Now on to the news!

Yesterday, I got what I thought was a "butt call" from the POI at my dream school because there was no message or email. I debated twenty minutes before calling him back, figuring that if it was a mistake, the awkwardness was better than the not knowing.

... I got into my dream school's MA program, fully funded with an incredible stipend ($21k). It is nothing short of a miracle. It barely matters to me that I didn't get into the PhD Program even though that's what I applied for -- I'M GOING TO MY DREAM SCHOOL! The
University of Delaware!
I consider it to have one of the best Early Modern art history programs in the country. The funding is en par with PhD programs and, although I don't know for sure right now, I can hopefully apply to be in Delaware's PhD program when the time comes.

Those of you who have been following my story know that this is something I thought would never happen, let alone with this truly amazing financial package at my
*dream* school...
I am so excited for what's in store for my intellect!

I was preparing to bury academia, with this being my last application season, if I ended up getting into a place we wouldn't be able to afford. It was awful. I have never been more insecure about myself and my abilities than I was in these past three months (not even when I was a teenager), and it is something that I thought would destroy my academic self-esteem. But here I am! On the other side, SO excited for what Delaware has for us, and even more excited for the excellent training and preparation I'll receive to be in a (Delaware's?) PhD program in a few years.

There are no words that can describe how incredible this is, even if I've used a lot of them! I cried for half an hour after I found out and nearly missed an important meeting at work, unsure that I could compose myself.

I am sure that my incredibly supportive husband and I will just love it there. We booked a trip to Newark last night, for the week of our wedding anniversary. Who knew that a year after we got married, we'd be on a plane to Newark, Delaware? It's unbelievable!
I am thrilled (seriously) to be moving from a population of 3 million people to 30,000. I can't wait to get a sweatshirt to wear my school pride! The only bad part about is that Delaware's athletics teams are called the Blue Hens.
Hens aren't ferocious predators that can beat out other animals or heroes such as Trojans in competitions! But nevertheless,
I am so happy to
be a Blue Hen!!!

It's all over. I've made it past the first hurdle, and I can breathe now and think about the PhD program later. To quote my dad's witty remark: "Don't forget to bring your underWARE to DelaWARE," Har. Har. Har.

I'm just thrilled! I can't wait to start! (By the way, I have no idea when school starts!



Pardon my lame attempt at integrating "Inception" into this title ;)

I bit the bullet and called my dream school POI yesterday. He kind of laughed and was like, the status of your application is... there is no status. (Cue scene from the Matrix: There is no spoon.) Which in turn made me laugh (internally) because I know that this school has sent out acceptances and rejections. I asked him if I was on some sort of wait list and he said no, because it hasn't gotten to that point -- the faculty are still deliberating, and everyone pulls for who they want to work with but the school also wants the best students. It was still a productive call because I got a timeframe: he'll call me either way with a decision a week from yesterday.

When we hung up, I got a call right back, asking if the faculty asked him, "would you be willing to change your application from the PhD to the MA?" to which I said "Well yes, but my only hesitation is that I doubt I could afford the MA" and he said that no, it would come with funding, to which I said "of course." If the MA lacks a stipend, I'm not sure what I'll do for living costs --- loans? Hah! (Not trying to be a downer for people who do this, it can be perfectly justifiable, I just can't see myself making that choice). This is the same conundrum I'm in with the MA offer I already hold, but since family are close by, moving costs would be significantly reduced leaving more money in the savings account... :/ And this whole financial "mess" if I can call it that is a large part of why PhD programs are attractive. (Ending my slightly tangential rant about finances now ;))

Now what I have to obsess over (there will always be something worrying me! I'm sorry GradCafers!) is this: Maybe, since I told him I'd be willing to change to the MA, he'll just go right into the committee meeting and be like "Oh, she's ok with changing her application to the MA so let's deliberate over that," rather than trying to get me into the PhD and using the MA as a last resort (which is what I naturally would prefer since the PhD program is what I'm really after). I don't know how it'll work, I only hope that whatever it is, it's good, and obviously I can dream for the miraculous PhD acceptance.

One more worrying thing: He said he hadn't looked at my application in "a while," so now I'm wondering how many students he's pushing for. Then again, "a while" could mean a day for someone who is forgetful, or it could literally mean... a while. Months. Who knows. *sigh*

Anyway!! I wanted to keep this blog up to date with my latest forays into the muddy waters that is grad school admissions.


I got an email from my dream school today, asking for an update on any other offers I'm considering (no update, sad day). I wrote back and said that the MA program is still the only offer, but that UMD is sending their letters via post so I might have an offer update for them in a few days. (Post, really? Agony!)

That's not the good part.

The good part is when the email asked me to please not accept any offers without checking with (dream POI, who also wrote the email) first.


That is a good statement right? I thought it was a very serious and positive statement for them to make and of course this isn't an acceptance but it means I'm not out of the running.

I was also pretty forthright in my response and told them right off the bat that this school is my dream school and that I would accept. (Of course I didn't add that I financially would not be able to accept if there was no funding but ... they fund everyone who they accept, so I didn't think it needed to be said.)

My imagination is going crazy. I'm 99.9% positive that this email was a good thing.

Now, naturally, I have to get all paranoid on you for a second and ask this:

Do you think that they asked for an update on my offers because they want to see how popular I am and admit me if I'm "popular" (i.e., accepted to more than one program) or reject me if I'm not? Because obviously, with one acceptance having applied to 12ish schools, I'm not "popular" this application season.

I would like to think that the only reason they want to know is so that they can match the offer and admit me. I applied to their PhD program, so I imagine that any offer they make me, I would readily accept in a heartbeat. However, if they're asking so they can say "Well, she only has one offer and Candidate X has three... let's poach them instead," then that's just sad and I'd feel toyed with.

What do you guys think? Is them asking me what other offers I've gotten not really a good sign? (I do believe that them asking me not to accept without checking with them is a wonderful statement and a great sign...)


Well, almost one week has passed (tomorrow will be a week) since I got the official funding offer from the MA program that's accepted me. I thought I would hear from more programs by the end of the day on Monday this week. I didn't, so I emailed them. I've heard back from two, and still need to hear back from two. I didn't email one program I applied to because their graduate secretary simply has an autoresponder on and that's no use.

UVA wrote back and told me that I was on the waitlist (yay), but that they likely won't be using it this year so I can expect my rejection letter sometime shortly after April 15. Still, that I even made it to the waitlist was a nice thought.

My dream school wrote back and asked what the offer was and - glimmer of hope - told me that they are still making decisions. How I pine after that program!!

Right now, I still need to hear from: UMD, UNC, Toronto, and Bryn Mawr. I suspect Toronto and Bryn Mawr are rejections, so I didn't email them asking about my status.

I am really hoping for positive responses from my dream school and UMD. I thought I had a great shot at UMD - it's a good fit and my POI and I get along famously. My dream school's art history program is only increasing with prestige as time goes on, so I am seriously praying that my application stands out in a good way and that the relationship I've spent so much time trying to build with my POI doesn't go unnoticed. He'd be wonderful to learn from.


I'm not really sure of anything. Last night I had a huge "I suck at academia" episode and had to resort to re-reading some of my professors' comments on my papers and thesis to make myself feel better. Doubt is a terrible thing.

I've been busying myself with a new volunteer position I've undertaken for the Italian Art Society, though I admit it's been difficult to actually get anything accomplished since the internet at our house has been out for about a week.

Anyway, my fingers are crossed for my remaining programs. If I don't hear from them by Friday night or perhaps I'll push it to Monday, then I'll get back to the MA program with an answer. There are a lot of factors to be considered if the MA offer is "all" (I put "all" in quotes because I don't mean to say that I'm ungrateful for it) I end up with this year, especially since this doesn't just affect me but my husband as well. We'll see. I'll of course keep you all posted as to what the remaining schools say.

Come on dream school, you can do it :)

I sincerely hope that your application seasons are treating you well! I appreciate everyone who reads this and the kind words you've left for me since I started this tumultuous process :)


Quite a bit has happened since yesterday afternoon. At first, I was excited. Now I'm sad and confused.


Yesterday I got the official departmental letter from the MA program I was admitted to. The letter said that the graduate school will be sending out official letters (that include the official funding) in the next two weeks, but what I can expect is this, and all of this is a maybe for right now: tuition + maybe a small stipend for the first year. They don't have their allocation for TAships yet so they didn't include that in their offer for the second year. The second year seems like, judging by their letter, it will be out of pocket (nearly $20k not including living costs), which is simply not possible for me. There are other small funding opportunities that I can apply for for the second year, but the amount would be enough to cover 1 quarter of 4 and that's if I was awarded said funding. The last quarter is usually $200, bringing the cost down to around $10-15k, depending on what funding I would get. I'm really excited about this program - everyone is unbelievably friendly and nice and welcoming. I am worried about the cost, however, and I know that if I accept their offer and go there, that I'll probably be "okay" in the second year; but not knowing certainly isn't assisting me in making a decision.


That being said, it is the only acceptance I've received so far and ... as you're about to find out ... I just got rejected from our "practical top choice," UCSB, which really, really stung. I drove out there, visited the campus, met with my POI and spoke with him for a few hours, learned about the program, signed up for the housing because they have like a year long wait list, etc., etc. We would've been close to family, my husband probably could've kept his job. For all practical purposes, it was the dream program. Academically, it would've been fine, too.

This leaves me with the following:

Accepted: to an MA program that I'm not sure I can afford (although I am so grateful for the funding at all which I know is rare)

Rejected: from two PhD programs (UCSB & Northwestern).

Unofficially rejected: from Emory (I wasn't invited to their interview weekend)

Still need to hear officially from: lots of schools - UVA, Emory, UMD, UDel, UMICH, Williams, UNC, Bryn Mawr, U of Toronto.

Of the schools that I still need to hear from, the following have sent out acceptances:

- UDel (top choice) - sporadic acceptances in Feb. via phone.

- Emory - interview invites

- UVA - a couple sporadic acceptances, 1 for PhD and one (maybe irrelevant) for the MA program

- Williams - sent out acceptances in a big batch last week juding by the GC.

- Bryn Mawr - sent out acceptances in a big batch last week juding by the GC.

- Toronto - sent out acceptances the last week of February via snail mail. I haven't received anything. Probably didn't get in.

Also, UMD historically has sent out all their acceptances in January (for art history). Haven't seen anything this year except for 1 acceptance in February. Not sure if that's good/bad/what.

Based on that, what would y'all say my chances are? It's not looking so good, right? I certainly don't think so, and I feel ... like... crap.


The last to know.

I've come to acknowledge that I could possibly be rejected from all of the PhD programs to which I applied. I feel like everyone is hearing back except me and I don't know why that is. I am last. I'm not anyone's first choice or even middle choice... And maybe I'm no one's choice. Whatever I am to them, I wish they would just man up and tell me so I can rip off rejection like a band aid or bask in their acceptance. I've been waiting for so long with not so much as a peep, save one rejection, from any of the PhD programs I've applied to, and I just can't keep waiting. I can't focus. I don't want to do anything. I just want to sit and stare at my cursed compute screen or phone until something happens. I can't think straight. I don't understand why, if I have indeed been rejected from certain programs, my POIs at those programs wouldn't break the news to me so I can move on. Or why, if they know I've gotten in, they similarly wouldn't call or email me to let me know. It's nearly March for crying out loud and by now, most of my programs have made their decisions. This is why I am beginning to enter the desert of despair and think that none of them have admitted me. What a terrible, terrible place to be in.

Just tell me already! Tell me so I can figure out where I'll be living in six months. Tell me so I can have some relief. So my mind doesn't shrivel up and die from the anxiety.

Argh! :( I don't mean to consistently be a Debbie Downer. Im just not patient enough I guess. I wish I didn't care so much, but I do because this is my dream and right now, for all I know these programs have taken my dream and thrown it in the trash and don't have two seconds to send me a copied and pasted rejection letter. I don't know. I feel like I have no reason to keep hoping they've accepted me because it's so "late" based on previous years. Bah.


First Acceptance (MA)!

Hi all!

I thought I should post about Sunday's interview (for an MA program). It wasn't really an interview in the conventional sense. My POI called and let me know that I've been admitted and that she's meeting with the Chair to discuss funding this week. She asked if I would accept their offer of, basically, full funding minus a couple hundred dollars in the second year. Official details are to follow. An MA program that fully funds?! Yes, please! She also told me happily that my file was eagerly passed around the Department and they are all very excited to work with me. That was so nice to hear... After all this waiting and agonizing, I've been admitted *somewhere*, and somewhere that is excited to work with me!

I still have about 10 PhD programs to hear back from, which is just... agonizing, and I am tempted to email my top 5 and ask about my application status now that I have an admit. I won't, of course. It'd just be nice for planning purposes (and my nerves) for my husband and I to have an idea of where we might be moving to, especially if that place is across the country or Canada.

Thanks for listening to my half news half vent ;):)


Last night, I saying I'd be getting "good news" in an email today. Well, I got the email, and it turns out I've been shortlisted for their program and they'd like to interview me this weekend. The sad thing is, shortlist doesn't mean acceptance. The even sadder thing is that this is one of two programs I've heard back from, and it's agonizing waiting for the other 11 or whatever the number is now to let me know what they've decided.

I'm a little nervous about the interview, only because a PhD is my ultimate goal and if I get into a funded PhD program then I will be accepting that. I spoke to her last year and mentioned this to her, so she knows (although if she remembers is another question). I would've liked to know about a PhD offer before this, of course, but that isn't going to happen. I don't want to burn any bridges with this program, either, but at the same time I want to be honest.

If I go through the interview and the shortlist and whatever else this process holds and don't get in, I think I'll go a little loopy.

One - just one - PhD acceptance would be fabulous... One out of 11 programs.

Please, please, programs, get back to me soon... :unsure:


I've been struggling with a lack of motivation lately, especially in writing for my website. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because this waiting process has me so anxious that I can't focus, or maybe it's because my fulltime job has kept me focused on "the real world." Whatever it is, I don't like it, and I want to get back in the habit of writing. I love it, so I'm not sure why it's been so difficult...

A few months ago, I saw this painting by Valentin a few months ago and wrote on my Tumblr,

(click to see painting; it won't upload for some reason)

Valentin de Boulogne, David with the Head of Goliath and Two Soldiers, 1620-1622, Oil on canvas.

Is it just me, or does David look feminine, with his smooth and exposed shoulder, curly, almost updo style hair and soft facial features? Especially contrasted with the more blatantly manly guards and Goliath’s overly giant and hairy head. This piece gives me a new essay idea for the site!

Of course, I didn't say what specifically my idea was nor did I write it down in my 'theory' notebook where I write down all (except this one - hah, hah) my ideas. I thought that writing about this painting would be a good way to get me motivated again, but now I'm only frustrated that I can't remember my idea.

I have a ton of people who read my site and I feel constantly guilty each week that goes by where I don't post something. When it started about a year ago, I tried to post once a week. As I got busier (married, working full time), that turned into two or three times a month, and since the start of the year this year, ... once a month? I don't like it. I wish I could get some closure about grad school since I have a feeling that that's the reason my brain is operating on zombie mode with regards to my site. Sigh.

Thanks for listening to me vent about my writer's block. :)


Rejection! Northwestern. Wasn't expecting it. To make matters worse, they sent me the letter not once, but twice. Oh, technology.

So, I'm faced with the familiar sting of rejection that I experienced last year.

I would like to think that I can subscribe to the attitude that only one school has rejected me so far and I have 11 more to hear from [9 PhD & 2 Master's], but... it's difficult in this moment. Now that one school has rejected me, what's to stop a snowball effect?

Everyone on the gradcafe is so encouraging, and I need that encouragement as much as I need to breathe... but these moments of dispair are like dementors or something, coming after me and sucking the life out of me.

Come on, good news, you know you want to come find me. Right? :unsure:


Doubt: 2012.

"I have doubts. I have such doubts."

Sometimes I feel like Meryl Streep's character in Doubt- I feel so sure and so confident, so certain, in my belief in something (myself), and then the unsettling feeling of doubt sweeps in.

I'm not sure what it is about this process that is so psychologically affecting. I wish I could exist for the next couple months not caring about decisions or when I will receive them. I simply can't. I have to care when and what those decisions are. Getting my PhD is a goal and dream I've had since I was about 12. Of course, I didn't always want to get it in art history; that dream has existed for about 6 years. Maybe I cling so tightly to the Survey page and to my worry and equally to my confidence, when it is there, because I know this is the last year I will apply to graduate school. It's all or nothing, and I so badly want for the all. Maybe I hold fast to confidence and am so susceptible to worry because my husband is also affected by this waiting period. He is the light at the end of the tunnel. I want a PhD, but on a more important level, I simply want a life with him. He has been so supportive of my dream. We went through 5 rejections together last year. I wonder how many victories we will have this year, and how many disappointments. Thank God I have him to anchor me.

I know that in a sense I am dreaming big with thoughts of being directly admitted to a PhD program. I never wanted to enter a terminal MA program because of that mindset of "all." Such programs of course have their merits, they just don't seem right for me. I want the whole thing, the five years, the commitment, the dedication, the challenge that PhD programs present. I nevertheless applied to two MA programs this year in case the 11 PhD programs I applied to somehow magically all decide I wouldn't be a good candidate for such study.

The confident part of me says that I will, as so many of you have so wonderfully encouraged here (so appreciated!), get into at least one program (with funding, I hope, since all the programs I applied to offer full funding). But when the doubt sets in, it's overwhelming. When I read things on the Grad Cafe like and (the conversation between Jilly & OnceAndFutureGrad), I know that they aren't without some nugget of truth, but I don't want those things to be true about me. This is the last time I will try to get into a PhD program; reading about how difficult it is for a BA to get into those programs is not helpful to my oft weary mind.

And yet such assessments are unavoidable.

I once wrote about the value of my degree. I believe that I received excellent preparation for a life in academia from UCLA. I was in a department that allowed me to do thorough research and that understood my need for rigorous study. On good days, I know that I am a wonderful candidate for graduate study in a PhD program. On bad days, like this morning, I still know that I'm a good candidate but wonder if adcoms will also realize that and validate that claim by admitting me. On bad days, I wonder if the sliver of myself that I was able to present in my application documents will be enough to convince adcoms that I'm serious and passionate about graduate study and my field. If it isn't enough, how many committees will share this assessment, and what will they base it on?

How do I combat the doubt? I don't know how. I don't know how to try to simply be carefree. This matters too much. I have a Plan B that I'm comfortable and happy with, but I can scarcely bring myself to really start thinking of it until I know for sure that all the programs I have applied to either have rejected me or accepted me without funding (in which case I would have to decline), because it's not over 'til it's over.

I was hoping writing this out would be therapeutic and a still small voice would tell me that I'll definitely get in. I even allow myself to hope that each day may bring an acceptance. Now I simply hope that other people here will read this and identify with my struggle. It's nice knowing that I'm not alone. The flip side is that it's maddening knowing that there are many other people interested in my field of study who have better GRE scores, better statements of purpose, and so on. Who am I in this sea of strongly qualified applicants? I'm just simply someone who loves my field of study. That's it. I might not have the best GRE scores or the most impressive CV, but I truly love my field. I want to study it for the rest of my life.

"Even if you feel certainty, it is an emotion not a fact." I know there is truth in this statement. But it is a terrible statement shedding light on the uncertainty of things I wish for, of things that I am, from a practical standpoint, unsure will come into fruition. Nevertheless, I will attempt to hold fast to hope and to my confidence that I would be an asset to any program and that programs will recognize that.

I truly hope that all of you here receive the news you desire and I hope this post isn't discouraging for anyone. I don't mean it to be. I just needed a place to write where others could sympathize and where an honest assessment of the emotions involved with this process isn't looked down upon. I cannot always be so confident and I strive for an equal amount of humbleness and belief in myself. Thank you for listening if you've read this far. As I said, I hold nothing but the best wishes for all of you - and especially that you would all feel optimistic! I conclude with a final quote from Doubt,

"There are people who go after your humanity, Sister, that tell you that the light in your heart is a weakness. Don't believe it. It's an old tactic of cruel people to kill kindness in the name of virtue."

Here's to that precious light, optimism. No matter what, we'll all be ok.


I think I'm starting to drive my family and friends a little crazy with my "When will I know? Why haven't I been contacted yet?" obsession. As a second-timer, you'd think that waiting it out just gets easier, but it seems to be about the same. I am just too curious; I'm dying to know where I'll get in and where I won't, and the prospect of waiting another month (e.g. if decisions are sent out the last week of Feb. or first week of March) is maddening. I don't know how I'll make it. I keep checking the GC Survey page to no avail, at least for the schools that I've applied to. I keep telling myself I shouldn't even talk about grad school or adcoms until I start receiving decisions, but I don't know how to curtail my obsession. What else is there to talk about? This is the great mystery of the year, and I can do nothing to control it or solve it, so somehow talking about it makes me feel simultaneously at ease and yet uneasy... because there's always that nagging possibility that I won't get in anywhere.

How am I supposed to not obsess? How can I not keep talking about this? I've thought that I'll only talk about the waiting period here, on the GradCafe, but the words end up spilling out anyway...


Today I received what I assume is my first (unofficial) rejection. Emory's welcome weekend is in just a few short days (Feb. 2-4) and I wasn't invited. I think this means that I didn't get into the program. That's surprising because my POI and I were an excellent fit and when we spoke in October we got along really well. My POI also told me that they thought I was a good fit for the program research-wise. 

I'm officially discouraged and terrified that I will be rejected from all 11 PhD programs I applied to. 

It's only 8am here in SoCal and I'm not sure how I'll make it through the morning without having a panic attack.

My little ballot idea is already coming in handy. Emory was in my list of Will Get Into. 



Acceptances Ballot

Every year, my family hosts an Academy Awards viewing party. We all fill out ballots guessing who we think will win (and I usually put hearts next to the nominees I would like to win but know probably won't). I've decided to make a list of all the schools I've applied to and sort them into categories: Will Get In, Might Get In, Won't Get In (or Stretch) and then list reason(s) why they might accept/waitlist/reject me. This is my second time playing the waiting game, and last year was extremely difficult for me emotionally with rejections all across the board (although admittedly I was an idiot and only applied to Ivies and refused to take a GRE prep course). I spent this year greatly improving my application (not just according to me - my professors agree ;)) and spent a lot of time researching programs, faculty, and cities. I was picky, but I still ended up with 13 solid programs that I applied to. If I get rejected across the board this time around (emotion says this is unlikely, logic says it's not like it doesn't happen), I think I'll be better prepared to deal with it. It won't be the end of the world. It will certainly be emotional, but I still have my lifetime goal of teaching; I'll just have to teach at a different level. It'll be interesting to see if the predictions I make come true. Perhaps this is somewhat sadistic. I'm just so anxious, a little worried, and impatient. A PhD in Art History has been my dream and something that I've been pursuing to the best of my ability for years and years.

This list will only take a few minutes to make.

Then I'll have to find something else to distract me from the waiting...

... and waiting ...

Maybe I'll shop online or try to find digital copies of rare books...

How are you distracting yourselves during the waiting game? :)



Apart from the waiting game, having all my applications submitted and all their materials accounted for feels very freeing.

:) Anyone there with me?


I'm officially in the waiting game for all schools. I've done well to keep in touch with my POIs and I imagine I'll still keep in touch in the coming months as I await decisions. I am hoping for acceptances to be sent out from my top 5 schools around mid-February (and that I am one of the chosen), but based on survey data available on the Grad Cafe, I can only speculate about how realistic this is. I'm keeping busy with work, my website, housework, and brainstorming for various research projects that I would like to undertake in graduate study with the resources of a grad program available to me. The wait is already agonizing. My mind knows when it's being purposefully distracted! Hah :)

This season of applications went really well from my perspective. I changed nearly all of my materials drastically and I'd like to think, for the better. Hopefully admissions committees will think so, too. Only one school is a re-apply, so if they happen to compare last year's material with this year's, that will be interesting. 

I'll keep the wonderful members of this site informed of any acceptances, rejections, or waitlists. I'm sure I will be posting constantly once letters start pouring in. I know I'll need help either deciding what offer to accept or help coping with the shock of rejection (again). 

I'm trying to be optimistic,  and I hope the same for all of you! 


It's Almost Time!!

... to officially sit back and play the waiting game.

I have 3 applications left to submit. One is due the 15th, and I'll be submitting it today. I would have submitted it this past weekend but I had either food poisoning or a stomach virus, so I was pretty much out of commission. The second one is due on the 31st, but I'll submit that this week some time, and the final one isn't due until (gasp) January 16th!!! That's actually very lucky for me, because the writing sample for this program is an entirely different topic and method than my other writing samples, so I need to look over it.

I can't tell you how terrified and excited I am for all my applications to be over. On the one hand, I'll have all this free time and I won't feel guilty for doing non-application-related things. On the other hand, submitted applications means I've entered the abyss... The terrible, seemingly everlasting abyss where you just wait, and wait, and wait for your fate. I'm hoping I find out in mid February from my top choices. I'm sure come the second week of February I'll be emailing my POIs and asking how their committees are doing (none of them are on their respective admissions committees this year!)

I'm looking forward to some things, though, folks. Christmas. New Year's. My first wedding anniversary on April 10th, five days before the dreaded (or in my case, eagerly anticipated) April 15 Deadline. I'll tell you one thing I'm not looking forward to in my personal life - traveling for a week on business to a conference in Orlando in February. UGH. I'm really hoping no welcome weekends are the weekend of the business trip (yes, it's a week that encompasses a weekend... 2 days I can never get back) - the 9th through 15th or 16th. It will be my first time away from my husband since we've been married and it's not something I'm excited about. It'd be different if I was going alone to look at schools for a week. Oh well, it could definitely be worse!

I had some problems with a few applications that are now sorted out. One of the programs I applied to claimed to have never received my snail mailed writing sample - I sent it twice. One through normal mail and once through certified mail. USPS finally got back to me and said "we're sorry, we don't have delivery data for your mail." But I emailed the graduate secretary a PDF of my writing sample and she accepted it as being received, so ... whew. Another program had an issue with me having two names, two university IDs, and ONE application ID wherein last year's materials (I applied last year) and this year's materials were mixed together. I had to fight to tell them that under no circumstances do I want last year's materials mixed up with this year's materials, because I worked REALLY hard on this year's materials so much so that they're totally different! I'm actually still worried about that situation because no one ever gave me a straight answer that, "no, we will not mix up your materials." :unsure:

I'm obsessing over those application decisions already... and getting antsy. I've already checked the statuses of all the applications I've submitted so far, somehow expecting to see a decision. Of course there's no decision yet! I can dream.

How are everyone else's applications going?


4 applications to go

So, I typed up a nice blog about the recent 4 applications I've done, and it disappeared!

Basically, each one of the applications I've submitted this week are having issues with technical difficulties so I have to wait on tech support or with admissions confusion, so I'm waiting for the admissions staff to get back to me.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and that your applications are going smoothly!

If my long-lost longer post that was supposed to be this post ever surfaces from the Grad Cafe Forum depths, feel free to read it for a fuller update. Hah... :wacko:


A tough call :(

I'm visiting one program this weekend because it's in Santa Barbara, three hours away from where I live now. As much as I'd like to visit my other 10 East Coast programs, I can't afford it unless they happen to have funded or assisted Welcome Weekends, and based on last year's round, they do but you find out in February-ish. This school is a good choice because my husband could keep his job which pays extremely well and we'd be close to family and the moving expense certainly would not be as much or as hassled as it would be if we moved to the East Coast. On the other hand, there is no great Baroque scholar there ... and I'm in contact with some of the best Baroque scholars in the country. So when admissions decisions come around, this could be a tough call, and I'm nervous about it. They both have their perks, and they both have their disadvantages. :( Feeling nervous about this and extremely not wise enough to make such a serious call. At least admissions decisions won't be released for a while, but in a way that only adds to the anxiety.

Anyone else have a similar call to make? Any advice?


I started a new job last Wednesday, so between preparing to leave my old job and starting my new job, I have done nothing with applications in about 10 days. I'm not comfortable with that, but I haven't had time. Further adding to my distraction despair is that two of my letter writers are great with timing and have uploaded nearly all of my letters to each of my 11 (hope that number's right, I'm getting forgetful in my fumbling state) schools. One professor - arguably the most important, she supervised my thesis - hasn't uploaded ANY letters, even to the 5 applications I've submitted! :( I'm really hoping they will still read through the whole application before getting her letter, because if they wait until after they get hers (whenever that will be), I feel like they'll already have made their decisions. Can anyone calm my fears or offer practical advice about this and what I should do?

I also haven't had time to write for my website in over 2 weeks. I'm not comfortable with that, either, but between grad applications and the website, if I was going to work on something, it'd be the applications. I really enjoy my new job. The work isn't remotely close to art history, but the environment is super laid back and relaxed, so that's been a huge stress-reliever for me when I think about the pressure and expectations that my last job (also not art history related) put on me. I really want to carve out time to get these applications done. Due to an unexpected payday, I'm able to submit more than 2 applications this week. Hopefully I'll be able to do that in the next couple days.

I just packaged three hardcopies of my writing sample to three programs that require hardcopies. They'll go in the mail tomorrow. That was a nice way to ease back in to progress! I still need to print a few more copies of writing samples to the MA programs I'm applying to, but I'm less concerned about those at the moment.

I also just realized that I was supposed to call a POI 2 weeks ago, and then I got hired at my new job, went through the resigning process at my old job, and started my new job, so I TOTALLY forgot about her! I feel awful, and it's 10pm EST right now, so I can't call her tonight. I sure feel like a dolt sometimes.

I'm going to visit two programs here in California in November. And even though none of my POIs are going to CAA next year, I still want to go, and I haven't figured out how to request vacation time with my work. CAA also falls into the week after we would be getting back from a company conference out-of-state, so they might even want me around during CAA time! :( I hope not. I've been planning to go to CAA 2012 for over a year now. *sigh*

Excuse all my ranting. I'm feeling really stressed out. Big change isn't helping my applications. <_<

Sign in to follow this