Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This is Bullshit

I've been waitlisted at program #4 where I interviewed. Fucking waitlisted. 

All I want to know is, WTF about my application isn't good enough? WTF about ME isn't good enough?

I really just want some answers so that I can figure out what my next move should be. I don't think I have it in me to keep working my ass off just to get to that next step. I've worked so hard just to get HERE. I was really, really looking forward to my life finally moving ahead on a different path than it's been on.

I don't know what I'm going to do if this doesn't happen for me. 


Juniper Shoemaker said...

I wish I could say something that won't sound stupid. I know I will. I'm fucking floored. Judging by your report, it just doesn't make any sense. Maybe #4 doesn't like nerds or something . . .

I'm not laughing at you. I'm really sorry. I know you'll make it in the end, though.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

I don't know what I'm going to do if this doesn't happen for me.

If you want this as bad as you say you do, then you're gonna do your best to figure out how to improve your "package", and apply again next year. Also, you're gonna accept that applying to selecive grad schools is a statistical process, and you're going to apply to more than just a handful of programs.

Psych Post Doc said...

Have you looked into Experimental MA programs JLK? This is another option (from taking an RA position) than can help improve your package. Some of them really are cash cows and not worth it, others offer TAships or RAships that pay for tuition and a small stipend.

A MA degree could help you 1. show that you can do graduate level work (didn't you say your GREs are lowish?) and 2. increase your # of publications (which always, always helps).

And I'll remind you that we are a long way away from the April 15th deadline and you still have 3 (?) schools that haven't made a final decision about you.

Hang in there. It's not over yet.

Mrs. CH said...

I'm sorry to hear that - my heart is breaking for you :( It's a frustrating experience.

How many other places do you still have to hear from? Do you know when you'll hear about the RA position?

leigh said...

what CPP said. also, i'm sorry they don't see what you're capable of.

Isabel said...

Maybe I'm paranoid, but perhaps they recognized what you wrote about them in your blog. It was not very flattering and was somewhat ungracious (complaining about the mattress etc -that's how grad students live).


JLK said...

@Juniper - thank you. I'm thinking that maybe they just don't like smokers, because I was definitely the only one there. lol

@CPP - I'm sure that you're exactly right. BUT, I've got a mortgage to pay and there's only so much I can do before fall to improve my package without getting paid to do it. And the idea of going through this again gives me the chills. I will need to wait until this is done so I can think clearly about what to do. But I applied to 7 programs this time around. I don't know how many more I could even afford to apply to - it cost me around $700 already.

@PPD - I've been thinking of doing exactly that. Problem is there are only 2 of those programs within driving distance from me, and I'm pretty sure their app deadlines have passed. So either way, I don't think I can do anything until the fall unless I pay to take grad courses and I really, really, really don't want to take on anymore student loan debt.

@Mrs CH - thank you. There are 3 more schools, one of which appears to have not even looked at my application because one of my recommenders fucked up sending in his LOR. So I'm thinking it's really only 2 more. In terms of the RA job, I don't know how academic hiring works, but in the private sector you generally don't hear anything at all unless they want to meet you. I'm not holding my breath, but we'll see.

@Leigh - thanks. I'm thinking that either I'm not capable of what I think I am, or I just really suck at conveying it to others. I'm hoping it's the latter.

@Isabel - The chances that they figured it out are so very small, I really don't think that's it. Also, if they somehow did, and they found it that unflattering I find it hard to believe they would waitlist me instead of just rejecting my app. But on another note - camping air mattresses on the floor are decidedly NOT how grad students live. And my point in that description was how off my game I was during interviews because of lack of sleep - not that I didn't like the school because of my sleeping arrangements.

If the last of my programs are going to reject me, I really just want to know NOW so I can stop holding out hope just to wind up crushed. If one of the outstanding decisions wasn't coming from a school I really, really, really want to go to I think I might be much more sane right now.

Psych Post Doc said...

I would definitely look into the MA programs, their deadlines are usually later than PhD programs and some of them have rolling admissions.

I think you need to keep applying for any relevant RA or other research positions and keep moving forward. Know that grad school might still happen but that you have other things in the pipeline if it doesn't happen this year.

That is the only way I got through applying 3x!

Isabel said...

>But on another note - camping air mattresses on the floor are decidedly NOT how grad students live.

I don't know what happened to my other response to this....what I meant was (obviously) not that they don't have proper beds just that most (at least that I know) don't have spare bedrooms to offer guests. Some might,but with high priced housing and typical said it wasn't what you were expecting, and the description sounded a bit disparaging. Why didn't you just close the window?

JLK said...

@Isabel - I was hoping for, but definitely not expecting a spare bedroom. I expected a couch. The window wasn't open, it was broken. Apparently they normally have tape on it, but had forgotten that it had come off, and kept the heat off because it makes the air dry. The second night was fine after they turned the heat on and gave me an extra blanket, but you have to remember the fiasco with the flight in and the ride there. I was so stressed out and exhausted by the time I arrived and it just magnified the sleeping situation. The problem was that the entire clusterfuck of the trip out there made it much, much harder for me to be on my game the next day when it counted. It felt like one thing after another just kept making it worse. Had it just been the sleeping situation, for example, I would have been totally fine.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that one aspect of the trip did not negatively impact my experience, just that overall it was a very stressful and trying experience because of the combination of everything.

Isabel said...

Well okay, they should have made sure you were warm. But as you yourself point out, everything was okay the next night. Sleeping on an air mattress a night or two is not a big sacrifice, and air mattresses are also a big space saver for people in small studios. A couch takes over a lot of space that often can be put to better use.

Also I agree with everyone else who said it is probably not about you, it's probably just the economy, and even if it is you can't spend time worrying about it, because you can't afford it, and worrying will never come to any useful good. To me, the crazy thing about this experience is the amount of time you are expected to perform in some way is non-stop: interviewing, teaching, leading seminars, mentoring, convincing people to be on your various committees, preparing for and taking qualifying exams while still TAing and taking classes and also starting your research and going to conferences and building connections with people in your specific area of research... the percentage of those times that things go as planned and I feel on top of my game is very small, especially as the levels of expectation keep rising steeply and also because there is so much to do I often can't prepare properly, then sitting through the criticism afterward is an added indignity. For a perfectionist type like many of us are this can be really maddening.

I may be more introverted than you, and you do seem to be going in with much more experience in the ways of academia,but it seems the other, better prepared grad students around here are often stressed too (as the students you met probably were, if this really is a top program- it's hard to imagine that at least most were not 'nerds'). Since everyone is going through the same thing together, people are usually pretty supportive. Don't worry - you will soon be getting PLENTY of feedback. And it really is an amazing experience.

I would spend less time reading books and websites and seeking advice on the subject of applying to grad school and focus on building relationships with specific professionals and academics in your field that you would like to work with. But you are probably doing that. I suspect people come off as more whiny than they are on their blogs because it seems likes it's a good way to vent. Good Luck!


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