Friday, November 21, 2008

"Serenity Now.....Serenity Now...."

So I took the advice given via the comments on my blog and I called Professor #3 this morning. I happened to catch them in their office. Conversation went like this:

"Hi Dr. X, it's JLK. How are you?"

"I'm good, JLK. How are you?"

"Good. But I have to admit, I'm starting to get a little nervous because I haven't heard from you."

"Yeah, I got your email but I haven't had time to respond. I thought I had sent you an email awhile go explaining that I was going by the deadlines of your applications. You're not the only person I'm writing for, and your apps aren't do for awhile. I wasn't going to start working on them until after I post grades for my current students."

"Actually, Dr. X, the reason I'm calling is because the first app is due a week from Monday, 12/1. The letter I included in your packet listed all of the schools in order by deadline."

"Oh. Well, I think I can probably make some time next week and do it. I should be able to mail it by friday."

"The problem is, Dr. X, that this particular letter and one other has to be sent in with the rest of my application materials. I noted in your packet that I would need to pick it up from you in advance of the deadline."

"Oh. Well I don't know when you're going to be on campus seeing as it's break."

"Dr. X, I would be more than happy to drive down to campus and pick it up whenever it's ready, that's not a problem."

"Hmm.....I can probably get it done by wed or fri. Actually, you'll need it on wed, huh, so you can get it about I email you and let you know when you can pick it up?"

"Okay. Thank you, Dr. X."

Seriously, I'm gonna have an aneurysm. 

Now, if I had fucked this up at any point along the way, I would have no problem dealing with this because it would have been my own fault. But in this case, I know that I did everything right. 

I asked Dr. X for this recommendation back in May. They agreed at the time to write them. 

I re-confirmed Dr. X's willingness to write the letters in the beginning of September. It was confirmed. 

I provided Dr. X with the packet of materials including a personalized letter with instructions and information about all the schools including deadlines, target faculty members, and form of letter (online, mail, mail in one packet, etc.), personal statements, all necessary forms, SAS envelopes paper clipped with their respective forms, copy of my CV and unofficial transcripts. 

I provided Dr. X with this packet almost 8 weeks ago. Dr. X sent me an email to confirm that they had received the packet, would look through the materials, and work on them in order of deadline. I thanked Dr. X in advance for the millionth time. 

Dr. X apparently either never looked through the packet at all, or somehow missed all of the pertinent information. Dr. X apparently thought that none of my applications were due until January. Dr. X is wrong, seeing as 7 of my applications are due in December. 

Needless to say, I am wicked super pissed right now. Dr. X kind of had a bit of an attitude on the phone, and I have never heard Dr. X cop a 'tude before. I like Dr. X a lot, but right now I feel like I want to kill Dr. X. 

And now I'm nervous that Dr. X's letters won't be very good, whether because Dr. X is much more scatterbrained than I had ever imagined, maybe Dr. X is a little pissed off at me right now thinking that I am a nag, or maybe Dr. X is so forgetful that now they don't remember anything about any of our interactions or my time spent in class with them. 

I have no other professors that I can or even would ask to write a letter for me, especially 2 weeks before final exams. Especially since the first deadline is next monday. I never had any reason to believe that Dr. X would not come through for me, and now it seems that they have absolutely dropped the ball. 

Come next wednesday, I may have to make the decision of whether or not to send the application packet without letter #3, and maybe include a note to explain the missing letter...? Or I may have to wait until friday, and if I don't hear back from Dr. X I may have to pay the extra $$ to have the packet overnighted. I may have to do that anyway. 

The only other person who I can ask for letters is my boss, who certainly has never written a grad school recommendation letter before. Problem is we all know this will put me at a huge disadvantage. And the online apps (which are all my top choices) require that you drop the name of one recommender in order to register a new one. Which means that if Dr. X comes through at the last minute, it won't matter. 

What the hell do I do if I don't hear back from Dr. X next week?? I have invested so much time, energy, and money into my applications not to mention my undergraduate career - all riding on my admission to a graduate program. 

I so can't take this added stress right now. It's completely out of my control at this point. If I don't get in because I only have two letters instead of three, and that's the only reason, I will seriously lose my shit. 


Professor in Training said...

Aaaargh ... crap like this just makes me angry. Well done for calling Dr X. I would give him/her another call on Monday or Tuesday asking if you can pick up the letter on Tuesday afternoon and specify a time that you'll be at his/her office. Be prepared to overnight your application to the grad school if necessary.

PhizzleDizzle said...

I"m so sorry to hear about Professor X....I think if it comes down to it, you can probably just send them separately, with a note explaining in the first packet. Universities usually can understand if you have it all together but this one prof has not got their shit together becuase it happens all the time with journal/conference deadlines, etc.

Then, if you do have to send separately, make sure the separate envelopes make it VERY CLEAR that they are for you - probably the reason they want it all together is so they can keep one applicant's shit together without getting them all mixed up. So if you get it from Prof. X in a sealed envelope, put the relevant info on the envelope: Recommendation for JLK from Dr. X.

Good luck. Don't have an aneurysm. That would be sad.

leigh said...

don't lose your shit, you're gonna need to hold it together for the phd long-haul.

consider this a preliminary test- you will spend the next several years being tested. patience, sanity, ability to not scream at people who need to be screamed at but can't be due to professional conduct restrictions...

good luck, jlk.

Anonymous said...

chill out, everything works out in the end. it's good that you bothered to remind Prof. X AGAIN. pat yourself on the back and move on. :)

if you think this is stressful, wait until grad school.

Anonymous said...

I gotta say, you rocked that dude. way to make him your bitch!

4 stars. I'm putting your little transaction in my Hall of Fame examples under "getting academic dumbfucks to do shit NOW."

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