End of an Era

I started the pursuit of graduate education about a year ago.

Through the intervening 9 months I’ve learned a lot about myself, about what interests me, about what things have animated my intellectual development my entire life long, about the unique and coherent thread winding through my educational history, and yes, my friends, even a little bit about human nature.

I spent most of last Spring and the summer preparing for the GRE. In the fall I wrote the LatinVerb library and re-drafted a paper “Against the Anthropic Principle” in an effort to impress those with sway over my admissions process.

Ancillary thereto, I became involved with the Austin Ruby and Rails communities. I met the across-from-me-sitting Mr. Clinkscales, got a Twitter account, became active on Facebook and spent many hours at Sodade.

As winter closed in, I went through scores of drafts with my lovely editor trying to assemble a compelling presentation of my educational history and future plans all within a terse, LaTeX-formatted, 2-page bundle.

I asked people I respect to take time out of their busy days to put ink to paper describing me and commending me for graduate work.

But, like a wedding, it all came down to one moment, when you lock in the fruits of months, or years, of effort.

This was it:

submission confirmation

I admit, I’m a bit cagey about admitting and showing this because, there’s the “what if:” “What if you don’t get accepted?” This is a very real possibility, though all my kindly-minded friends try to encourage me with “you’re smart” or “that’s just so you.” Well, let’s be honest, the school in question has quite a reputation, and while I may be devoted to learning, “wanting it bad enough” doesn’t have a field on the application, I’m sorry to say.

But I want those who read this to know my results: come Hell or high water. I also want to officially absolve you from saying “that’s too bad,” or “you can just try again,” etc. If I get rejected, I’ll take my lumps, I may appreciate offers of alcohol or Mexican food, but I’ll take my lumps. And do you know why?

Because I am proud of my application. It is absolutely, 100% me. It’s me through and through. If they don’t think that person is a fit, if the story I told of my intellectual development doesn’t jibe – well, then we were not meant for one another. It’s only by this act of radical honesty that I can truly feel comfortable facing the possibility that they may reject me. I advise this same approach to anyone seeking dates online as well.

Obviously, I hope they don’t reject me. I hope they can see my passion and my love for the material, I hope they can see that twisting path as adding up to someone chomping at the bit. I’ll confess I have fantasies about the fat envelope, I admit I dream of walking among the Rodin sculptures. I allow that “Pizza My Heart” and that special expanse of the Bay Area call to me…

But if I live in the maybe-yes / maybe-no zone I’ll go cuckoo as I await the verdict. At this point, though, it’s out of my hands.

So for those friends who’ve not seen me since before Thanksgiving or for those people I didn’t call back or email back, I am now coming out of my retreat and am trying to get me life back into order. First order of business, Thursday night dance at The Fed.

With Spring coming, I propose a picnic day out, where the various circles of my friends might mingle. Big park, blankets, picnic, mild Austin, Spring. I know some of you have new children whom I’d love to see in a sunny setting.

Any ideas?