Thursday, November 04, 2010

Silent Five Swallows Her Pride And Starts Her Statement of Purpose

"The time has come. The time is now," as was famously told to Marvin K Mooney. The time to which I refer is the looming deadline for graduate school applications, and I'm going to take this opportunity to do something I would kind of rather be disemboweled than do: admit I'm frightened and ask for help.

Grad school is my white whale, my idol in a trap-filled cave, my gorgeous redheaded starlet who makes me feel like shit about myself. (Although if Scarlett Johansson wants to apply for that last position she is more than welcome.) And for the past few years, I've secretly been terrified it would be my Waterloo. The minute I graduated college I was consumed with the desire to go back to academia. I miss the sheer joy of immersing myself in research, of seeing disparate pieces of the puzzle suddenly link up. I miss the hungry feeling behind my eyes when I just can't read fast enough to satisfy my curiosity. I miss the way my worldview is constantly being transformed. I miss the energetic, passionate, luminous person I become when I'm consumed by a project. So every year I set out to apply for a graduate program... and every year I hit a wall.

I start thinking "What if my research interests are too diffuse? What if I haven't networked enough? What if I  don't know the proper etiquette for contacting professors? Where do I start the whole process? And while we're at it, what have I done that makes me worth noticing? I mean, I want it and I'd be good at it, but surely there are millions of people who can say the same. What makes me think I deserve..." You get the idea. I've built the application up in my mind into a symbolic act that combines my fierce desire to prove myself, my harsh self-criticism, my conflicting feelings toward authority, my fear of rejection, my tendency to be motivated only in short spurts, and my feeling that everyone expects this to be easier for me. It goes down like a cocktail of Valium and Drano. I panic, and I freeze, and I don't apply.

Well, not this year. I'm nervous as hell, but I'm going to do it, and I realize that the thing that will make all the difference is in reaching out to people who have done the same. I'd like to ask that all my readers who have advice about the graduate application process please let me know what it was like for you. What do you recommend, what made it easier for you, what do you wish you'd done differently? My other reason for posting this is for accountability. Don't let me retreat from this, internets. Believing in myself is sometimes a struggle for me, but I know this can be done, and I am proclaiming before all of you imaginary friends that I will do it.

(And then, of course, next year I'll be whining about how swamped with work I am and how little money I have and who the hell goes into English linguistics anyway. Bitch bitch bitch. )

Posted by Silent Five @ 10:17 PM

Word of the Week

gymnosophy [jim-NAH-so-fee]

n. Philosophical, amusing, or nonsensical insights realized when naked, as in the shower or in bed. (recent coinage: att. S. Galasso, 2010)

Victoria and Albert enjoyed a spot of postprandial concupiscence culminating in a night of gymnosophy and coffee and crumpets at dawn.

The Silent Top Five: Bacon-Flavored Desserts

1) Bacon cheesecake.
2) Bacon gumballs.
3) Bacon ice cream.
4) Bacon-orange bars.
5) Bacon apple pie.

Standard Disclaimer

This is all in no way meant to incur copyright-infringement-related wrath. I'm harmless. I promise. Oh, and if you're offended by anything I may post herein, I guarantee I didn't mean to do so (unless, of course, you are a humorless prig. In which case, go right on and be offended, with my blessings.)