Tag Archives: grad school

What Timing.

I just watched one of my favorite movies, one I am usually embarrassed to admit liking: Where the Heart Is. It’s something I would usually scoff at- you know, tear-jerking, heart-warming romance. It’s what you might call a chick flick- and I don’t go for those.

This one, though, somehow I just love, and tonight, after watching it, I felt that it arrived from netflix at a rather appropriate time.

I don’t think I’m going to get into grad school.

The deadline for the major application is the 1st. I haven’t finished filling it out yet, because I need some information from my undergrad university. I’ve had a month to get it. Every day I sleep late, then pass away the early afternoon doing nothing. Some days I remember, when it’s far too late to call an office back east, that I needed to do so. I resolve that the next day it will happen- and then repeat the pattern. By now, I have one last chance- get the information (which I’m not even entirely sure I can get) on the 30th or accept that I’ve gone and fucked it up. And I haven’t even written my essays and things, which are due in two weeks. I’ve merely over-thought them until I find everything I have to say worthy of rejection.

Also, I just got my official GRE scores in the mail today, and never before have I felt so fucking mediocre. Let me repeat: mediocre. I don’t feel smart. I don’t feel overly talented. I feel like my impression of myself as an intelligent person, capable and worthy of getting into this school, has perhaps been… off-target. Like when your mother tells you something you’ve cooked is the best thing she’s ever tasted, so with a big head you serve it to others, and find out that it’s really not impressive at all- I feel like that, only I, and my intelligence, my capability, my worth, are the dish.

This really doesn’t feel good.

But! This is an entry about why that sappy film felt appropriate tonight.

Tom hasn’t left my life, but refuses to actually be in it. Every time I think he’s gone, he goes and does something like ‘liking’ a photo of me smiling on fbook. Small, nothing things, but enough to remind me he exists. I’ve realized that- that I don’t feel like I’m good enough for him. I was dating this guy recently whom I found to be undereducated, and felt better than him for it. Tom is far better educated than I. Thus I feel – yes, like I’m not good enough for him. Especially today, when I see my stupidly mediocre scores and wonder if I’ll even pull off an application the day before it’s deadline or not- he’s getting his PHD at this school, and I don’t think I’ll even be able to get into one of the smaller, uncompetitive programs. So I don’t think I’m good enough for the type of person I want to be with. In gist.

The protagonist of this film is a young single mother living through her hardships with the help and love of friends she makes along the way. There is, of course, a romance. The man of the romance is well educated, and, she thinks, too good for her. Or rather, she thinks that she isn’t good enough for him. So (hey spoilers!) she sends him off with a lie that she doesn’t love him.

But then! She realizes that she really does, and drives to his fancy university to tell him: she lied. She lied because she doesn’t think she is good enough for him. And he tells her- get this- there is nothing better than her. They kiss, cut to the wedding, cut to credits.

So as I’m feeling really shitty about myself, like I’m not worth the things I want in life, here comes this film in which a girl who feels similarly is told that she is full of worth. I can’t quite make the leap to applying her lesson to myself- afterall, life ain’t the movies, even the tear-jerkers- but it’s still a timely thing.

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Pre GRE

The worst part about the fear I am feeling right now is the knowledge that no, I have not prepared to the utmost of my ability.

I borrowed this GRE prep book from the library months ago. I intended to study a little bit of it every day, until I got to the practice exam. Then I could take it, and move on to the online study aids. I could work my way through the online practice work until I got to the practice tests, and then I could take them, practicing and practicing, until I knew for sure I was as prepared as I could be.

What actually happened is that I studied for a bit for 2, 3 nights in a row, then got discouraged by the wrong answers I was hitting. The book sat on the floor of my bedroom until I moved it to the table in the living room. From there I moved it to the top of the bookshelf. I carried it with me back east and sat it at the end of my guest bed. I carried it with me up north, and read snippets outloud to scoff at it. I brought it to the theater I was working at and left it in the audience, next to the tech booth. I left it in my bag for days when I was finally home, realizing how much time I’d wasted, and procrastinating further to avoid thinking about it.

Even in the past few days, I haven’t been able to keep a regular study schedule, even with the pressure on. Today I made it through all the strategy sections (not any of the practice ones) clear to the “take control of the test” chapter- all about how to maintain a confident attitude, a positive outlook that would benefit my score. It mentioned the months of studying, practicing, preparation I had been through, the online resources I had turned to, the confidence that knowing I was well prepared brought. As I read, I felt worse and worse- I had spent days, hours studying, not months. I didn’t even realize there were so many online resources. And I am not well prepared. If I had really- here I go- worked up to my potential, I would surely be confident tonight. I would feel certain that I would do well, that the good score I want was in the bag.  But I didn’t, and I don’t.

So now I turn to the same part of the book that tells me how confident I am, and focus on a different paragraph. I quote:

“…this one test will not single-handedly determine the outcome of your life. In many cases, it’s not even the most important part of your graduate application.”

Not even the most important part of my graduate application. Not even the most important part of my graduate application. Breathe girl breath.

I know I will do the best that I can under the circumstances I have given myself. I know that I will probably do better than I expect to, based on the many assurances I have gotten that yes, one tends to do better than one expects, better than one thinks one has. I know that the outcome of tomorrow’s test will not singly determine my admittance to this grad program.

But I can’t help wishing I had given myself better circumstances.

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Mathematics

I’m taking the GRE in less than a week. I am nervous about it, because while I don’t have to do tremendously well to get into the program I am applying to, I still have to do reasonably well.

I’ve had this GRE study book for so long now that I am accepting library fines because I can’t renew it anymore. I’ve made it through the verbal parts of the guide, and no further. I hate this book, because as I’ve read through the section I felt confident in, I kept getting things wrong, which made me lose confidence. I have lost confidence in the area I am confident in.

Is it any surprise, then, that although I hang on to this book, I do not read any further? Do not take the practice exams? Do not do the thing for which I borrowed the book in the first place: study up on the math section?

I haven’t even cracked the math section. I had planned to read up on the verbal parts first for a confidence booster. That didn’t happen, and now, instead of being merely wary of the math part, I am actually afraid of it.

I am afraid of the math portion.

So I don’t study it, for fear it will make me cry in dread. Of course, not studying it only makes it worse. Makes it something bigger to fear.

Ugh.

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Focus Focus

I don’t think Tom knows how to be friends with me.

OH THAT’S RIGHT WASN’T I JUST TALKING ABOUT STD FEAR? NOW I’M TALKING ABOUT A BOY? WHATEVER IS GOING ON?

This is what’s going on: I have no idea what happened with my body. It turns out I can’t get tested without an appointment, which will take weeks. By the time I’ll get to see a doctor all symptoms will be gone. Meanwhile, what happened to me looks nothing like anything I’ve ever googled. All I know is that things seem to be almost back to normal again. There really isn’t anything I can do right now but keep on living until I have the opportunity to investigate this further, so that’s the plan.

With that in mind, I shall begin again: I don’t think Tom knows how to be friends with me. This is the conclusion I have come to based on the evidence of our interactions since reuniting as “friends.” In sum, he comes on to me and then runs away, comes on, runs, comes on, runs. I don’t think it is a matter of him saying a false “hey babe, let’s be ‘friends,’ yeahhhhh.” I believe him to be sincere in his desire to be friends- I just don’t think he knows how to handle being just friends with me.

I’m the queen of being just friends with someone I’ve got feelings for. It’s not really a skill I am proud of, but it one I’m good at. I don’t think he has this skill. I think that, when he tries to act like my friend, he finds himself attracted to me. When he finds himself attracted to me, he begins to act on it. When he finds himself acting on it, he- well, he freaks out. When he freaks out he gets distant until the desire to have me around in some manner, to “be friends,” grows up again. I think this is what is happening.

What I do now is hope for hope. I would like things to improve, but I don’t know if they will. As such, again, there isn’t much to do but keep on living in the meantime. I’ll focus on applying to grad school. In a few days I’m going back east for a visit with friends and the pursuit of recommendation letters. I have about a month- two, really, but I’d prefer not to wait until the last minute deadline- to collect all necessary materials, to take the GREs, to write my essays and register for prerequisites, and have everything sent and received by the proper departments. Seems to me that’s all I should really focus on right now. I can’t promise that I’ll be able to focus on just that, but I can try.

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Hope Lives

EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW IS OK.

Well, actually I am a little hungry and uncomfortable and wish the internet was working at home so I didn’t have to feel this way in the library, but beside those minor discomforts, things are looking up.

Don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but I’ve been wanting to go to grad school for Library Science. I found out that the school I have always loved but never formally gone to has not only a great program, but one of the only ones accredited with some major library associations. This seemed like a splendid coincidence and I planned on applying for entrance next year.

Then I found out that, over the matter of three measly credits, I would probably be unable to. I would have to wait another year before applying, and might not get to finish the program before I was 30. This was highly dismaying to me, especially the waiting part. My stomach- my entire body, really- was in knots for a week waiting to see what would happen.

Yesterday I attended an informational meeting to determine whether or not my hopes would have to be shelved. It went far better than I could have hoped. Not only can I still apply, but I can apply competitively. I can dare to hope big, even.

There’s really a lot more to this- more going on, and more details, and so many more stories, but I am inexplicably cranky and quite explainably crampy, so further stories will have to wait.

In the meantime, at least, there is the comfort that while I still might not be able to sleep at night, at least the thoughts running laps around my head are far less torturous and at times even rather hopeful and happy. That’s nice.

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