After spending all my free time in my sketchbook for the last week (as well as splurging with Avengers tonight, weee) I thought I should take a few moments off and try to write down some thoughts on grad school. Since I've been bad at blogging lately, I should try to rectify my lapse with at least some thoughtful words.
You people, man. You're all so smart, driven, and accomplished. Overcoming all sorts of feats, earning all sorts of accolades, so well versed and talented. And in all honesty, it is intimidating. Personally, I feel like I haven't really experienced the rest of the "field" before stumbling upon GradCafe. As a wee little undergrad, I was thrown into a world of astoundingly smart people. However, I was more exposed to computer scientists and mechanical engineers than other biology majors. This made it hard to gauge myself against my peers. College also encouraged collaboration and solidarity by snubbing the "summa cum laude" title and making p-sets so hard that you usually could not solve every question without working it out with others. Being out of school for a few years doesn't help matters much either. Comparison to peers just.. never really went down for me.
When it's your first go at the grad app grind and you don't have a good gauge of the field, you go to sites like these and see a mess of people with higher scores and more interview invites than you can imagine. Fellow applicants post their scores in threads, on the results pages, in signatures. You find yourself comparing scores of applicants to your programs of interest and seeing if your own manage to make the cut, and it gets damned dehumanizing. For people like me, this site was really scary.. at least at first. However, word on the street is that the stats people post on GradCafe are skewed from the average--people with better scores tend to be more confident in posting their wares. After some time and some talking and interaction, you find that people here want to advise, support, and inform. It's the best. And the few instances I've seen of blatant arrogance have been quickly shot down as inappropriate, which is awesome too.
All in all, I guess I would just like to say: shine on, you crazy diamonds.