Wednesday, October 26, 2005


White chocolate mocha latte. I probably shouldn't have spent the 3 dollars, but I've been tired all the time for a couple of days. I was an insomniac for two weeks, wheezing and overconscious of my breathing. Stress. Now that my body has acknowledged that it needs more than five hours of sleep in a night, it's making up for lost fatigue, cramping all of the sleepiness it missed over the last weeks into a few days.

Eric will shake his head at me later: bodies don't really work like that.

I feel much better today than yesterday. I've come to peace with the idea that if I don't get into my one PhD program, I can take a year off. It's okay. I'm in such a hurry to be done with school that I'm closing myself off to other opportunities. If I took a year off, maybe I'd allow myself the time to write fiction. I'm younger than most of the people I know who are entering PhD programs in the next couple of years. I'm not worried that I wouldn't go back to school.

I'm also not so worried that I won't get into the school I've chosen. It's a good school, but it's not Ivy League. And I know I'm qualified. Is this cockiness? Cockiness is confidence, blended. Isn't it? Blended with disregard for others, or ignorance, or stupidity. (The stupidity of only applying to one school, while systematically ignoring the possibility of rejection?) Hmmm. But I was talking with a professor today. I asked him if he would write a letter of recommendation for me, and he said he would be "honored" and would write a "stellar" recommendation. That I'm one of the best writers he's ever had in a class. It's hearing things like that that has made me confident.

But I feel bad about sharing that, like I'm bragging about how great I am. My students read an essay a couple of weeks ago, by Barbara Ehrenreich: "What I've Learned from Men: Lessons for a Full-Grown Feminist." She claims that women are culturally programmed to downplay their achievements, whereas men will unabashedly draw attention to their hard work and intelligence. I think that's an interesting issue: is it bad etiquette to admit that I'm good at something? Just because men get away with it doesn't mean it's not annoying.

On my list of reasons for applying to more than one school, not wishing to seem cocky is up pretty high.

The truth is, I really want to start working on my PhD next year. I'll accept the prospect of taking a year off if I don't get into the school I'm applying to, and maybe it will turn out to be the best thing for me. But I don't expect to be happy about it, at least initially. If I really thought I might not be accepted, I'd apply to more schools, just to have a safety net. But I can't keep myself from thinking that the extra 300 dollars I would spend on application fees and the GRE subject test would just be wasted. And I don't need the stress of taking an additional test. I hate feeling like I felt last night.

So one school, one application. Deep breath. Jump.


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10/28/2005 9:04 AM  

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