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Re-Applicants ! (Tales of redemption)


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Dear Forum,

Last year, I applied to 11 PhD programs, and was universally rejected (as unfathomable as it seems--I'm so great; wtf, they didn't want me? Makes no sense)

So I said "screw you all; who wants to be in an institution anyway?!" and picked up and moved to Paris.

Then suddenly one day I was rendered aware that somehow, somewhere along the way, the bitterness and scorn had subsided, for I found myself once again considering re-applying to my top-choice school--ONLY my top-choice school. Yeah, just one.

So here I am, one year later, down from 11 apps to 1.

I got one foot in Paris, and one in New York.

And even though I have a chance here to work with my IDOL, one of the most famous and prestigious continental philosophers living today, I kinda just want to go to New York, and my dream-school. I never thought I'd be doing this.

(I think my America-hatred has been cured; i miss the old place, gosh-darn-it)

The Prof said a completed Masters may make a huge difference, so here's hoping my luck changes.

Also, Diplomas in French from the Sorbonne can't hurt, either.

So now I am waiting for 2 months to see which direction my life will take.

Please hurry, decision-fairy.


That is my re-applying story.

Any other re-applicants want to share ?

I want to hear your heroic tales of forgiveness and perseverance!!!

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Dear Forum,

I want to hear your heroic tales of forgiveness and perseverance!!!

I suppose you can't call my story one of redemption just yet, but *raises glass* here's to optimism.

Last year, I thought to myself, "Hmmm, I want to study law, but without the whole 'professional-JD' thing." Having a background in Middle East-related academic research and languages, I mused that a PhD might be the only way to address law and society issues. It turns out that the "law and society" movement (yes, there was one) had its hand in one too many pies, ranging from Economics to Political Science, Anthropology to Sociology. Hmmm, which to pick? I pulled a discipline out of a hat: Sociology. Was it stupid to be so flippant in my selection of disciplines? Yes, so stupid I am ashamed to even admit it. 6 applications in: Princeton, Berkeley, Yale, Stanford, NYU, and American. 5 schools shot down, but I got into American. Victory! Victory?

It just didn't feel right. My grand dreams of ascending to the ivory tower seemed so professional when I realized that American would give the methods, but not so much the academic cachet I need to luxuriate in my own, well frankly, awesome-ness.

So, i went back to my advisors:

Advisor: "You picked the wrong discipline. I could have told you that!"

Me: "Uhhhh, Professor, why didn't you tell me that BEFORE I APPLIED!?"

Advisor: "Sometimes, young Plato, we must find our mistakes to be the way to successes."

Me: "Well, how about Anthropology this time?"

Advisor: "Much much better."

And there we go. 13 applications later, a new saga begins. I'll keep you posted with how it turns out. Again, my optimism keeps me getting out of bed in the morning. Then again, raising my glass is the only way I get through the day.

Keep me posted and good luck!

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Ha ! Simply delightful ! :D

Although I suspect you may not be fully aware to what extent your flippancy actually contributes to your awesomeness

Making gravely significant life-decisions brusquely and arbitrarily is a fine and underrated art, I think

That's pretty much how I decided to become a vegetarian, and years later, to end my capricious stint in vegetarianism; viz, "Hmm.. maybe being vegetarian would be cool" and "Hmm.. perhaps now is a good time for a filet mignon," respectively.

In any case, shine on you crazy diamond. I'm sure you'll do well.

PS- I'm from Washington DC, and I can tell you that you made a good choice-- "American" is *such* the bottom-rung, that no one around here even considers it. It's all about Georgetown and GW in the city. You totally belong in one of those jack-ass, holier-than-thou ivy-league mofo schools. I would try to get in one of them if the Philosophy departments weren't all super-ultra analytic.

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Once upon a time piccgeek really thought a PhD in English would be the best thing ever in the history of creation. So she applied to a whole bunch of outstanding programs and her UG alma mater as a backup...and got rejected by all the Cool Kids, even though her old friend, the alma mater, told her she could stick around for a master's degree since no one else seemed to like her much. Meanwhile, her prince charming got accepted at every ivy league and public ivy known to man, often in more than one program at each school. Off to seek his fortune at the bigger and better schools, the young lovers tearfully parted ways, telling themselves it would only be two years, as he sailed off the mysterious land of Boston and the castle MIT on a quest for the Holy Grail of Technology.

So piccgeek stayed amongst the cows and cornfields and started her master's program. After about two months she realized two things: she loved teaching, but she wasn't so sure the mystical heterotopia called Academia would really be all that great even if she could get the PhD passport. Then a wise old hermit whispered in her ear about a program called "science writing," an adventuring life in which she could research and write but not be trapped in the beautiful but confining ivy-covered walls of Academia. So, she filled out an application to join the science writing preparation at castle MIT, hoping to be reunited with prince charming and find her dream career all at once.

And...hopefully this will end with "and she lived happily ever after." ...I can't help but fear I'm going to have to add some horrible battle from which I retreat back to the safety of cows and cornfields, and finish my master's degree as a I lick the wounds of defeat a second time....but here's hoping! Cheers!

Edited by piccgeek
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However corny this sounds, I've always wanted to teach. It wasn't until I got to college, however, that I learned of an illustrious career in academia. I majored in English. After a couple minors that really, really just did not work for me, I returned to a discipline I had always enjoyed: history. It seemed I still enjoyed it once I got into it. My mind was still set on English, even after I decided to double major in history. So I applied, naively, to two schools, hoping to get a masters in English. After all, what else was I going to do? I only had two semesters left. I couldn't POSSIBLY go into the work force. Of COURSE I was going back to school--except I wasn't. Rejected by one, waitlisted by another, I fell into angst (not quite depression). All the while, I was studying and enjoying every opportunity afforded me in my history major. I come from a small school, and so I got to work closely with all my instructors. They were extremely tough and gave me the kind of experiences the English department seemed to deny even existed. I realized, while still waitlisted, that I didn't want to go into English. All the while, I got two more jobs, both VERY VERY relevant to a future career in academia (one ESPECIALLY for history), got accepted to my first big conference, and gave more time to researching schools and whatnot. Now, I've only doubled my number of apps from last year, but I feel much better this year. What I thought was the most miserable occurrence has helped more than anything to focus my interests and reaffirm my future goals. Here's hoping I don't have to wait another year.

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Most of the people already attending/having completed grad school that I talked to when applying said something about the "first round" of apps - so it's VERY common to go through more than one round.

I caught a lot of flak that went, "Aw, your first round of applications! I remember my first round, many years ago ... aww you're applying to MIT?? First-round optimism, how cuuuute! Yeah good luck on that, the second round is usually when you find a program that really fits."

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Once upon a time, 14 years ago to be exact, I was a musician studying at one of the top conservatories in the US. I knew the chair of the department wasn't too fond of me, but what the hell, I applied for my M.M. - I was an undergrad there, surely they'd accept me and just let me continue? Nope. In a very lengthy rejection letter (a whole page, single-spaced, as to not only the fact I was rejected, but lots of explicit details as to WHY - rub salt in the wound why don't you *** *****!!). It concluded that I ought to be a writer instead of a musician. Totally gutted, I didn't even bother to finish my B.M. and just graduated with a B.A. from the university in the other half of my dual degree program.

Gunshy for years, it is only now that I've tried to apply for my masters again. I've been a teacher (not music! just about every other subject, especially.....writing) for most of these intervening years, so now it's for an Ed.M. I can't believe I only applied to one school....

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