Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Where I Stand

In the message informing me that I have been waitlisted, I was asked to let Potential Advisor know where I stand. I did not respond at 1am when I saw this message, because I could not trust myself to type anything more substantial than a blog post. 

What I wanted to say....

Variation #1:

Where I stand is on a stack of rejection letters from schools whose programs I spent the last 3 years of my life pursuing, and I have just been told by the one program I really believed I would be accepted by that I have been waitlisted. 

Variation #2:

I stand in a position of knowing that if my remaining 3 (2?) programs reject me and by magic I am accepted into your program, that I will forever know that I was not your first or even second choice when it came down to the wire. I will always wonder why I wasn't good enough, and I will always know that I wasn't the grad student you really wanted and believed could succeed. 

Variation #3:

Where I stand is wondering what my next step in life is. I did everything I was told to do, I did it well, and now I sit here suppressing the urge to act like a spurned lover and beg you to tell me what they have that I don't have. 

Variation #4:

I stand wondering what the fuck I'm supposed to do with a 4yr degree in psychology that will pay the bills that isn't goddamn sales. I walked away from a management opportunity with a great company because I was in school and that was more important to me. I'm tired of throwing all of my weight and effort into pushing against what turns out to be a concrete wall. 

So you can see why I waited to respond. What I ended up saying was something along the lines of "this is disappointing news, blah blah blah, no other offers right now, blah blah blah, I will let you know if anything changes, blah blah blah."

6 comments:

Psych Post Doc said...

I hope you also said you were still very interested in their program and would really love the opportunity to work with potential advisor.

Becca said...

Clearly, they waitlisted you because they were prioritizing students who they thought they could get. You are hot-stuff, so they assumed you'd have better offers. In fact, you would have had better offers any year but this one (even graduate funding sucks if the economy is bad enough). This is definitely your cue to tell potential advisor that if they make you an offer, you will probably come.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

I stand in a position of knowing that if my remaining 3 (2?) programs reject me and by magic I am accepted into your program, that I will forever know that I was not your first or even second choice when it came down to the wire. I will always wonder why I wasn't good enough, and I will always know that I wasn't the grad student you really wanted and believed could succeed.

NONONONONONONO!!!!!!

This is so completely the wrong way to think about things. You have no idea why you were waitlisted rather than given an offer right off the bat. And regardless, if you really want a career in academia, you are going to have to get over yourself. All that matters is whether you do or do not get the opportunity to prove yourself.

When I applied for faculty positions, I sent out over seventy fucking applications. I got about a half dozen interviews. And I got three job offers. You think I gave a flying fuck whether I was first choice or not for any of that shit!? No fucking way! Give me a fucking chance, and I'll *prove* myself.

That's how you need to think about this shit, or you're gonna drive yourself crazy.

Finally, what Becca said: make it clear that if they make you an offer, you *will* take it. When they go to the waitlist, they don't want to dick around; they want to make an offer and have it taken.

Sack the fuck up! You're still in the fucking game!

JLK said...

Oh, Becca. I love you. I originally tried telling myself that, but the other rejection letters keep whispering "You wish.....you wish...." Apparently the university budget cut down the number of grad students the department thought they were going to be able to take. This doesn't really make sense to me because of what I read on other blogs about how lab and grad student funding works - PA has plenty of grant money, and I thought the only factor the university played was in teaching assistantships. But maybe psych works differently....

@CPP - you said:

"That's how you need to think about this shit, or you're gonna drive yourself crazy."

I have already driven myself crazy....I thought that was clear from the past 5 or so posts. LOL Did you miss the one about wanting a monkey that randomly appeared in between rants? Only temporary insanity can explain where that one came from.

You also said:

"All that matters is whether you do or do not get the opportunity to prove yourself."

You are absolutely right. Thank you for that. I AM still in the fucking game and I somehow keep forgetting that. I tend to be a worst-case scenario kind of gal, and I've moved into the grief stage of not getting accepted anywhere prematurely.

Thank you guys. I promise the whining and self-loathing will soon stop.

Toaster Sunshine said...

Concrete walls make Toaster very angry. Whenever I come butting up against one, I'm usually able to ignite that anger like rocket fuel to give me enough momentum to smash through it, or at least sputter over it. I let that anger fill up all the space that would otherwise be filled up with doubt, whining, and self-loathing.

Hang tough; even pawns can become queens.

leigh said...

self-doubt will eat you alive in science. i'm gonna say that again, because it's important. it will EAT YOU ALIVE. you have to externalize, because all this internalization will suck the life out of you. you are going to run against this shit repeatedly. what was wrong with me that i couldn't find a compatible lab after 5 rotations? external: nobody had enough funding to take another grad student. what was wrong with me that i couldn't get along in the lab i joined? i had an evil arrogant sob from a legend-lab postdoc position who weaseled his way into faculty for my boss.

what landed me under my current boss's wing? not luck. my actions. i laid it out, boss gave me a chance, i proved i was worth taking the chance. i scraped and scratched my way up to demonstrate that i was worth my salt.(4 years later, the dir of grad studies tells the boss what an incredible change i've made.) you gotta get into this mindset.

you gotta remember. you are not directly, personally responsible for everything that does not go your way. it's not all on you. go ahead and get pissed off. but use that energy to do something useful, every day is experience you should be learning from, learning how to improve yourself as a scientist, as a grad student and RA position candidate. this isn't gonna get a whole lot easier, but you get more practiced at it.

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