I’m working on applying to grad schools right now. I did this last year, cluelessly, and made the fatal error of applying to programs that didn’t quite fit my goals. This year, I’m correcting my mistake. I’ve found programs I’m terribly excited about, which will prepare me well for my chosen path. I’m writing a separate, individualized personal statement for each school, geared toward the program and professors I want to work with. I’m emailing professors I like, asking to hear more about their work and often getting recent papers sent back to me. I’m taking the time to read the papers, too…
Writing up a grad school application feels a lot like dating to me– we put our best foot forward and hope for the best. We spend a lot of time trying to look polished– and fearing rejection.
And application-due date season feels a bit like what speed dating must be like. You get x amount of time with each school– to learn from their website what they want you to hear, and to tell them as much as you want them to know about you. Then decide if you want to know them better.
I flirt: uploading the transcript, the writing sample, the GRE scores. I hope I’m just their type.
I bat my eyelashes, twirl my hair– and hit send.
In the past week, I have given my presentation of my thesis, which went well. I’ve also managed to start organizing my room for my return home (yay!), work 27 hours in the past 3 days, tutor/help some students of whom I was their TA this semester, and got myself addicted to Plants vs. Zombies. (You can play at http://www.popcap.com/ although I recommend downloading the full version!). Finally, tonight I began packing up the past two semesters’ worth of things that occupy my dorm room.
This amounts to primarily books and clothes. Although food will probably be a close third (I plan to pack food last– because God knows how much I can eat in the next few days!). The empty shelves and drawers look sad to me. I’m moving on– and ahead– but there’s still something being left here. Youth and community.
A few months ago, I had begun a mental list of all the things I would not miss about being away at school. This is part of how I make myself feel better about leaving, graduating. I will not miss people screaming in the courtyard late at night. I will not miss bathrooms full of hair or unflushed toilets. I will not miss stairwells that smell like beer. Or rugs too dirty to walk on barefoot. Or the necessity of wearing flip flops in the shower. I will enjoy an almost permanently clean kitchen and bathroom. I will get to cook and do my laundry as I wish and when I wish. Everything will be safe for my allergies. No one will eat peanut butter.
But there are things I will miss: I like having a fridge in my room. And a chair. And having people over whenever I like or going out whenever I like. And having rehearsal 2-3 times a week. And performing. And taking the shuttle instead of driving when I need to go somewhere. And having one of my suitemates knock on my door and call me out for a movie or boardgames.
Endings and Beginnings tend to come together.
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” –proverb