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Grad School Frenzy

Dear Anyone,

I know I haven't updated here in a while; it's not for lack of working or interesting things to post, but mostly because I've been in a grad school tizzy and have actually been slightly afraid to post research-related things for fear I was getting excited about a profession that would soon be closed to me (at least in the immediate future).

Last night the director of the Medieval Studies program at Cornell called my house; I got back to my room around midnight to an instant message from my dad saying, "CALL HOME." When I did, I got the news that I'd been admitted, but I don't know anything beyond that (other than the surmise that the English department transferred my application to the Medieval Studies Department based on my research interests). After looking at the program's website, I'm actually really pleased: it will give me a (forced) opportunity to do more language work, perhaps teach German (!), and to work interdepartmentally with the Music, Art, Language, and Philosophy faculties, all while keeping the focus on English Lit&Lang that is the backbone of my interest in the time period. Like I said, I don't know anything else yet, but I will after about 1:00 when the director is calling me to tell me details.

All I can say is that, until last night, I was pretty much despondent, and not just because I felt like I had no control over my situation. I've put a lot of effort into being studious, into focusing my interests and honing my writing skills over the last few years, and to face the widening gap between my aspirations and my educational reality, well, it's something I knew all along had a great possibility of occurring, but not something pleasing to feel nonetheless. Of course, I'm still interested to see what will become of my other applications, but in the same sort of detached-interested sort of difference you feel when watching someone give a public oration and giving one yourself. I feel like I can be a bit of a spectator again; it's a wonderful feeling.

So, an update:

Cornell: :)
UVa: Implicit rejection; after checking the online status, I realized they'd never received my UM transcripts. I'm not completely upset, as Bruce Holsinger focuses on my main area of interest, but I have to admit I'm not overly keen on his writing.
UCLA: I haven't heard anything yet; people have been accepted, but a lot of people have been rejected. Either I wasn't worth emailing, or I'm in an internal purgatory/waitlist. This would have been painful at this time yesterday, but like I said, I have the luxury of spectating at this point.
Harvard: Nothing.
Notre Dame: Nothing
UMich: Nothing
UPenn: Nothing
Columbia: Nothing
NYU: Nothing

I may email/call Notre Dame and tell them I'm no longer interested, but I think I'll wait until after the phone call.

Anyway. I didn't get to sleep until about 2:30 last night due to the excitement, but I also had to get up early to write an essay for my Norse tutorial this morning. I'm running on about 3 hours of sleep and no caffeine. It's worth it. :) :)


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 16th, 2007 01:24 pm (UTC)
Congrats on the early positive feedback! I went to Cornell for undergrad, and it's also where, after I graduated, I turned around and started taking grad classes in medieval topics and first began to explore the field seriously for my own profession. From my experiences, the department is very vibrant and a good place to be. I still wish I could replicate the winter medieval performances event here.
Feb. 16th, 2007 01:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I was sort of shocked to get a response from the MedStud department, but definitely not upset. I don't feel like a potential vagabond anymore. What are your future plans?
Feb. 16th, 2007 04:13 pm (UTC)
My plans are modest ones (grin): to finish my dissertation and get a tenure-track job. As I just started writing the diss this semester, I've got a haul in front of me.
Feb. 16th, 2007 04:38 pm (UTC)
Where are you at school right now? And what is the focus of your dissertation? I just noticed your posts about teaching Donne... which sounds marvelous.
Feb. 16th, 2007 05:02 pm (UTC)
I'm at Fordham in NYC, in English, specializing in late medieval literature (especially sequels and continuations) and book history. The NYC area is great for medievalists because there are several colleges with programs in the fields, so there are a lot of public lectures and medievalist groups.
Feb. 16th, 2007 05:05 pm (UTC)
Oh, and to clarify: the diss is about late medieval (and a couple early modern) sequels and continuations, read through the lens of hypermedia theory on interactivity; I'm looking at how nonlinearity and immersion reflect and are used to construct reader experiences with the texts.
Feb. 16th, 2007 06:27 pm (UTC)
That sounds fascinating! What texts are you focusing on, if you don't mind me asking? For a while I was sitting on the fence as to whether to call myself a "medievalist" or an "early modernist," and for the moment I'm happy to be in the medieval period (though I think periodization is a small load of crap). And the idea of nonlinearity in texts is particularly interesting, especially in narratives that contain embedded lyrics; I love looking at poems-within-poems in regards to reception theory.
Feb. 16th, 2007 04:35 pm (UTC)
Congratulations! I'm only just beginning the grad school process and it's already quite scary. I have to say though, it would be cool if you went to UCLA, becuase from the looks of things, I may very well end up in California myself (so many good bio schools there! T_T), maybe even UCLA itself.
Feb. 16th, 2007 04:43 pm (UTC)
UCLA would be a good place for me, but the California Public School System is notoriously short on cash/stingy (pick one or two), and as much as I have a desire to go West for once, I actually enjoy snow. :) And, like I said, a lot of acceptances have gone out already, and I probably won't get in anyway.

So, tell me more about your grad school plans! Isn't the whole thing excessively terrifying? And what programs are you looking into? Are you going to work towards evolutionary biology or biochem or what? I know you used to work with snails, but I don't know if your interests have changed.

Anyway, if I remember correctly, you'll be an awesome applicant. It's hard not to hear the Doom Song while working on apps (and even harder while you're waiting to hear back), but the Jen I remember is incredibly naturally talented (supposed "decreasing powers of memory" notwithstanding), but also a creative individual who ought to be able to call on her multifaceted talents to create an outstanding application.
Feb. 16th, 2007 09:59 pm (UTC)
you praise me too much, my friend! ^_^ but I've actually managed to narrow my research preferences to animal behavior; which, unfortunately, is itself still a very broad category. But I'm specifically interested in the evolution of behaviors, and I think the actual physiological mechanisms of behavior (genes, hormones, etc), because that after all is what evolution really has to work on. So I guess I'm kind of trying to straddle macro and micro, and I don't know how it will turn out.

So obviously I'd prefer a school with a behavior program, though most usually have a sort of integrative biology program in which you have people doing behavior related research. But that's good too, because I may not want to stay within the traditional bounds of behavior research anyway. Though my lack of a very specific focus does make me nervous about personal statements and the like.

Yes, it is excessively terrifying. I haven't even begun to think about money yet, I'm just trying to get a handle on the quality of the academic programs right now. But I think most of all I'm embarrassingly fearful of going somewhere far away all by myself. I've gotten used to being with John all the time, and I don't particularly want to get used to being away from him for a goodly number of years. But if you can go to England all by yourself, I'm sure I could manage it.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )