Mondays & my GradCafe obsession
For some reason, I've gotten it into my head that all grad school admissions departments get together on Mondays and send out acceptances en masse. (I refuse to let myself think about their rejection scheduling). So as if I didn't hate Mondays enough, I've taken to checking my inbox first thing Monday morning to see if I've been accepted anywhere.
Like any self-respecting would-be student, I seek information. Enter GradCafe. People can list interviews, acceptances, and rejections. There are also forums so people can talk to others in the same neurotic boat as them. It's emotional cutting to watch people rave about their acceptances to places that you've also applied to or talk about all the things they've done that clearly make them more competitive candidates than you. It's also masochism that I engage in on an almost daily basis. I can't help it. I want to know what's going on, and my obsessive checking of university websites doesn't seem to be getting me anywhere (despite my diligence). I check the results page for who heard from what programs. I look at previous years' trends to gauge how long I have to wait still. Then I go look at the forums to see if anyone has anything interesting, hopeful, or heartbreaking to say there.
Sigh. Maybe there will be something this afternoon. The temporary job is slowing down, too. Not a great recipe for sanity.
Intro to the section
For those that don't know (and happen to stumble upon this), I'm waiting to hear back about doctoral programs. I applied to several last year while finishing up my MPH, and was systematically rejected from all but one. Intent on going to that one, I made plans (including quitting the job I had just gotten and looking for apartments in the new city), but at the last minute (about three days before orientation to be precise), I asked to defer for a year. Something felt off and the last time I tried to ignore my gut when it came to school, I ended up in the ER.
So here I am, working a temporary job back in DC while I wait to hear from the second round of schools. Riding the metro into work one day it occurred to me that doctoral study (and research in general) involves equal parts love and drudgery. Love of the subject (public health in my case) and the drudgery of scientific rigor and discovery to make the smallest of advances relative to the breadth of knowledge that exists.
Love and drudgery.
This is what I'm so anxious to hear back about? Rather than gainful employment, I want to make a pittance for years and carry an academic boulder of a workload for the next half a decade?
Despite the recommendations of people far wiser than myself (with the PhDs and publications to prove it) and my own years-long attempts to talk myself out of it, I resign myself to the fact that my deathbed will feel cold, dank, and crowded with unfulfilled dreams unless I get a doctorate.
So, Dear Reader (to borrow a page from the book of Stephen King), here I am - attempting to chronicle my own journey through the road to the end of education. It begins with a lot of waiting.