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I've done this before. The application process, not the blogging (though I have done that too).

I'll interrupt this digression with another: I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Russian, a Master of Arts in Russian and Eastern European Studies and a Master of Arts in Slavic Studies. This is important to know because not only did my academic career diverge in the middle of my undergraduate years, it did it twice within the final days of my terminal graduate degrees. This could be indicative of a character flaw (mercurial, prone to boredom) that might be useful if I were more intelligent or creative. It could also be indicative of a lack of self-awareness and insufficient research before making potentially life-changing decisions. I would agree that I suffer from many of these faults. I think the nicest way I can sum it all up is that I'm not much of a planner.

I would, however, argue that I have made it this far (I have two MAs and I work at a big-box retailer. Dreams do come true!) and that I'm relatively young, so I can always go teach English abroad and conveniently lose my passport. So far that's the best escape plan I have for avoiding the massive amount of student loan debt I have.

ANYWAY. Like I said, I've done this before. I applied to about 8 Political Science doctoral programs thinking that a thesis combining Russian Studies with the study of Popular Culture would help admissions committees overlook the fact that I've taken about two Political Science classes in my life and had no one in the field writing me letters of recommendation. I don't suggest doing this. My mistake was convincing myself it was a much more interdisciplinary field than it in fact is. That, and basically not being suited in any way to attempt to enter it.  Consequently, I got shut out. My advice is to talk to people in the field you're interested in before investing a lot of emotional and literal currency in a lengthy and arduous admissions process.

I've apparently set my entire life up to be mostly a long example of what not to do in almost any given situation.

But new things! Exciting things! I found out there's a whole area of study for people who are so institutionalized that they can't imagine not being in an academic setting, but also watch an enormous amount of television and like to make connections between television programs and things that aren't television programs (There really are only the two things).

This time I emailed prospective advisors in advance (!) with a description of my research and a follow-up question as to whether I'd be suited to their program. Almost every single person I emailed responded positively, and a couple who didn't pointed me in the direction of others whom I might be able to work with. Oh, I suggest doing this a few months before August (Late May-Late July). This will be after the chaos of the end of the spring semester and before the chaos of the beginning of the fall semester. Some people didn't reply at all. I still applied to that program because it's a good fit, but I'm not holding my breath.

That's that, then. I'll keep you updated with results from this season's hottest admissions process. As of yet, I have no news.


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