It seems like everyone recently has had someone close to them diagnosed with something potentially very bad. I feel like i should be reading this as a sign to recenter myself and focus on what’s “really” important or whatever. But i’m still chugging along re: grad school and stuff. Because this is what i love -- what i’m doing right now. And isn’t that what all those lifechanging epiphanies are all about, anyway? -- spending your life doing what you love.
In other news, i’m at the library 10-6 tomorrow (which is now today -- ouch). Grad school replies have been piling up in my inbox (i’ve at least read them all finally), so hopefully i can get up early and tackle those. Some have been only moderately helpful, but others have been very helpful both in terms of being and/or directing me to compatible professors (the latter of which, sigh, means more e-mails to write) and often additionally being very helpful in further explaining how that particular program operates and how i could fit my research interests in (sometimes recommending i check out CompLit and/or Film/Media Studies as a potentially better way to do what i want at that particular university). I feel like i should send chocolates to some of these people after it’s all over. While the first batch of responses i got was almost overwhelmingly positive, this latter batch has been tempered with advice/warnings about how competitive the programs are and suchlike [mt will appreciate this from one student: "Putting aside the usual warnings about going into a PhD program in English (since I'm sure you've already heard all the arguments against such a decision, many times over), I'll do the best I can to tell you about ours."] which i also appreciate. I mean, i am at least something of a realist.
I was thinking a while back about how problematic it is for people to constantly tell children how wonderful/brilliant/whatever they are, because it’s easy to buy into that, and when you find yourself competing against other people who might be more qualified than you, it can be traumatizing. Everyone tells me i’m brilliant, capable, etc., and most of them have never seen any of my schoolwork. Certainly my own perceptions of how good my work is (as well as how qualified i am for whatever) are skewed, but i at least have some grounding in reality. Since high school i’ve often had to insist to people that i’m not really the most brilliant person ever and certain to succeed at whatever i want, and i know it would be so easy to just believe them (though of course it would be harmful in the long run, since they’re not the ones on graduate admissions committees or anything).
A Duke professor who wrote a very cool looking textbook (Media Journal: Reading and Writing About Popular Culture) wrote: "Nice to hear from you! I wish I was as savvy and organized as you when I was applying to grad school!" Hi, i am easily won.
For anyone keeping track: Duke, UPenn, and Rochester (NY) are currently the front-runners.