Life as an Extreme Sport

Notes

* calling your father in tears basically insures three things: 1) your mother will contact you later at night 2) said conversation will include some encouraging story about how someone had to apply to same insane number of schools, but then got in and is now incredibly successful, and 3) your parents will insist you look for masters programs still open for applications, so that they can pay your fees and give you the best possible chance to go somewhere * I’ve picked up Dorothea Brande’s book on writing. While she’s talking about fiction, it’s applicable to research papers because she’s talking about the psychological things that stop us from writing and how to get around those, not telling you how to structure papers. It’s from the 1930s, and utterly charming in its tone – she’s sarcastic and sharp, and not at all dated. It’s something that makes me smile,

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Pervasive Gloom

I am basically overcome and overwhelmed by a pervading depression. No one wants me. No one likes me. I’m basically a huge fucking failure. Sure, the retort is that I just applied to the wrong schools or that the schools are idiots, but if I applied to the wrong places, then the failure is still with me. It’s still my fault. I can’t even succeed at anything – at the moment, not even finishing my degree. Who the hell cares about finishing a thesis that maybe three people will read? It’s just going to sit on a shelf getting dusty. Might as well just do a performance piece – “Goth Moping” – and get it done. At least more people would probably see it. I made the mistake at looking at job listings last night, and have realized that I really can’t do a damn thing with my degree. I’d

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UTMB

So what I alluded to in this post is very simple: when I checked email Monday upon waking up (I can’t really say Monday morning, because it was more like Monday early afternoon), I had a letter marked “urgent” from the graduate school coordinator at the University of Texas Medical Branch. It seems that the director wanted to have a phone interview with me the following day (Tuesday, for those keeping track at home)…! So my Monday afternoon was spent talking with my adviser about what to expect, and trying to stay excited and not slip into nervous. Tuesday afternoon, I called UTMB and spoke with the director…and found out that several professors also wanted to talk with me…! On the whole, it was a very positive experience. I got a sense for the program and professors, enjoyed speaking with them, and felt comfortable in conversation. They largely wanted to

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At Least I Amuse

The GRE’s spanked me. I’ll retake ’em in a month… [edit: I’ve been told by several people now that I’m actually at 93% for verbal, and not to bother retaking, the math bit won’t matter… I’m going to see what the official score is, not rough, and make my decision then….] …but, I am amused, for my writing options? Something I don’t remember, and then a statement saying that “History is pointless to learn from, and we make none of our important decisions today based on it.” I was born (well, okay, at least have been trained for the last two years) to write that essay! What do you mean I only have 45 minutes? I can’t regurgitate CHID 390 in 45 minutes! Shit! Okay, I can tag Darnton, White and Foucault, that ought to be good enough….and oh! Kanye West and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake! Okay, okay, GO!

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Walking the Talk

For all my talk of the ease of cold-writing professors (and academics in general) after doing so a few times, it really never does get any easier, in those few seconds before hitting send. But, I cold wrote one professor (at Notre Dame) to ask about some things in his book, and see if he had any general recommendations for places to look at humanistic studies of social network theory. I also wrote a professor I’d been talking to back in May, and then lost contact with because I suck, and dropped off the face of the planet in end-of-quarter panic. Perhaps not the best thing in the world, given that I’d like to study with him in graduate school. Oh well – at least with him I was able to keep a casual, conversation tone, based on our prior mails (which largely focused on who we thought was going

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