My Fellow Web-Browsers,
I don’t know how a State of the Union address sounds, because I never watch that stuff. I’m always like, “Come on! Ed is supposed to be on! Why do I have to listen to your boring face, and on all channels?!?!” Then I eat some yogurt peanuts and pout. But anyway.
I just wanted to check in with where I’m at regarding my grad school applications. Because remember I said I was going to get my crap together and apply by February 15? Okay, reading back I can see that I didn’t give you an exact, specific date, but there it is: February 15. I’ll be applying to Hollins University and Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Both of the applications require several things from me: first and foremost, a piece of creative work, but also a personal statement, a critical essay, and a resume. I was able to bang out the creative piece with little problem once I got the initial inspiration. I’ve always been big on writing about the Russian Soup Mafia, so once I formulated my amazing story (with the title of Lies, Guys, and Russian Spies, I know, awesome, right?) the draft and subsequent edits weren’t much trouble. Although maybe I should be less glib about it!
As you may have noticed, I can write about myself for hours on end without running out of material (this is not a strength), so the personal statement wasn’t difficult either. The critical essay I was a little bit worried about, but in a flash of inspiration I decided to write about the way Phyllis Reynolds Naylor addresses touchy youth issues in her Alice books. Last Monday I got my book, The Grooming of Alice, in the mail–thank you PaperbackSwap’er who sent me the mint-condition book in record time–read it that day, and drafted the essay the next day. As it turned out, my outline would have produced way too long of an essay, so I had to cut things down a bit. No problem. My resume was, you know, about as much of a headache as a resume is to write. Awful, but the pain only lasts for the five minutes I’m recalling my paltry few accomplishments.
The real trouble was getting my letters of recommendation.
One of my favorite teachers from college, bless her soul, I’ve had lined up since last October when I first got the inkling that I wanted to do this. Writing her an e-mail was difficult for me, as I’m allergic to personal interaction with pretty much anyone, but she responded positively and I was relieved. The trouble was, I needed two more recommendations. Which was, in itself, difficult, since I had only had two writing teachers in college.
I settled on asking my creative writing teacher and another teacher who had advised me in my creative writing final project my senior year. Since it was an independent study, she hadn’t taught me, but I had no other options.
So I sent out e-mails and heard nothing. This was the worst, because it meant that I was going to have to call them. On the phone. In real life.
After betting a pfennig with a very frustrated and annoyingly supportive Jarrod (hmm, Wednesday post?) that I wouldn’t call the teachers before he got home from work last Friday, I picked up the phone and dialed, my heart pounding in my ears. And–no response. Apparently these teachers weren’t reachable in their offices, either. Which, let me be clear, I am not knocking. I’m sure they’re very busy people, and with ye olde fashioned landlines, you can only catch a teacher when he or she is actually in the office, by the phone.
Anyway, after several days of fruitless phoning, Jarrod called up his mother to get ideas about what to do next. This was on Wednesday night. On Thursday morning she contacted a friend who is a professor at the college, who in turn contacted my two reference-hopefuls that very morning. By noon, the situation was worked out. I had a verbal “I’d love to” from the one and had received an e-mail from the other. Life was, once again, good.
What’s the lesson to be learned in all of this? I guess it could be, “People! Check your e-mail and clear out your inbox!” or maybe just, “When the going gets tough, ask for help, Emily!!” In any case, now that I’ve got my letters of recommendation mostly in the bag, a new worry has taken residence in my mind. Not regarding whether or not I’ll be accepted–though probably I should dwell on that before I get ahead of myself. No, my worry is this: how in the heck am I supposed to pay for grad school?
Well. Things will work themselves out. They always do.
P.S. I think I should clarify what I mean by “annoyingly supportive Jarrod”. Jarrod has always been supportive of me achieving my goals in writing, so much so that it becomes ridiculous sometimes. In retrospect, I’m always thankful for his support. In this case, without him to push my butt along I would still be dreaming about grad school and nowhere close to applying.