Dealing With Rejection and Being a REAL ADULT

Like I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been doing basically nothing with my life over the past couple of months. Remember back when I was writing about applying to grad school? Well, that was a bust. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t actually expect to get into any of my programs. All but one were Clinical Ph.D. programs, and I just didn’t make the cut. I think in the end it was my GPA that brought me down the most, and that’s unfortunately not something I can easily fix.

I’m trying not to whine about it, I really, really am. But when I find myself curled up on the couch, bawling my eyes out because I feel like a worthless pile of nothing, I figure it’s time to write about it. The poor Significant Other hasn’t known me long enough to quite know how to deal with my occasional emotional outbursts, so I feel bad dumping all this rejection crap on him. So you lucky readers get to enjoy it instead!

I never thought I’d say that I missed school, but I really, REALLY do. Miss it so much, I’ve been looking over old class notes and textbooks when I’m bored. That’s a sad state of affairs to be sure. My boyfriend is going back to school in the fall (online, so slightly different from what I’m used to) and I honestly can’t wait to help him with his work. Except for Chemistry of Hazardous Materials. I feel like a derpasaurus even thinking about the technical knowledge that might entail. But I AM excited about helping him edit his papers, of all things.

I’m afraid that if I don’t keep myself immersed in academia, I’m going to go back to school one day and completely forget all the things I know about studying and being a decent student. I’m moderately good at researching, but that is a skill that can be lost without practice. Believe me, there’s not much researching going on in my life (unless it involves cats).

It doesn’t help that I’m feeling pressure to really DO something with my time spent out of school. My whole life I’ve been in school, been pressured to work, work, study, sleep, study, work, panic, work, cry. College life is constantly GO GO GO, much more than high school, which for me was all about getting into a good university. College came and it was still GO GO GO, but with even more serious consequences behind it, because it eventually must end with a job. Preferably a “good” job, one that’s salaried and with benefits (my dad always called this “being comfortable”). But I’m not in school right now and I don’t have that job. It’s twisting my image of adult life that’s been engrained in me since I could listen to adults talk.

Speaking of being an adult… what is a goddamn adult? I still view myself as a student, so therefore not a REAL ADULT. The Significant Other is a REAL ADULT (which is why I feel uncomfortable calling him “The Boy,” as I have others in the past). I find this incredibly sexy, but also terribly intimidating. He knows what he’s doing with his life, has known what he wanted to do since he was a kid, and does that. Going back to school is just a logical step to make just in case he does one day have to change careers. Maybe it’s that “career” thing. Will I feel like a REAL ADULT when I have one of those?

I’m so sick of being in limbo, of being stuck on a giant hamster wheel, plodding along and going nowhere. When will it end? How can I make it end? I know this sounds terribly childish, but I just don’t know the answer. Anybody out there feel this way too? Anybody got some advice for this struggling wanna-go-back-to-school not-REAL ADULT? Throw me a bone here!

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What Time Is It? Grad School Time!

If I haven’t said it before, I’ll reiterate, applying to grad school is like walking across a darkened room in which you know there are Legos scattered about, ready to tear your soles into tiny shreds, but you need to get to the other side because otherwise you know you’ll soon be sitting in a tiny cubicle with the spiked walls closing in a la Indian Jones and the only way to stop them is to rapidly translate the Voynich Manuscript before succumbing to despair. In other words, it’s one of the most anxiety-ridden things I’ve ever done in my life.

I started writing this post before I was done with my applications, so I was in the midst of stressing out over every little detail. But now I’m done; even with the ones due in January (I’m on top of shit).

But now it’s hurry up and wait.

I’m really afraid to spend my next 7-8 months in a state of limbo between having graduated and not yet going to classes again. I have a job, yeah, but only working 20 hours a week isn’t exactly going to keep me afloat OR entertained. I’ll need to get another job, if only to make sure I’m not bored and stagnant for all that time.

Yesterday was the last day of classes, which traditionally is a day for day-drinking, shenanigans, and overall shitshow-level drunkenness for all members of campus. It’s always spectacular to walk into your discussion class and your professor takes a long draw from his flask and says, “Ya’ll be safe now.” Work hard, play hard, that’s our motto.

Overall it was probably my best last day of classes I’d ever had. I celebrated the finality of my undergraduate career (yes I still have exams, shut up) without having to wake up feeling like death this morning. I did all the graduating senior traditions with another of my sisters, sat on my house’s condemned balcony, and got to dress up as a zombie and scare people in a Nerf game for a couple of hours. Good times, man.

But now what?I have to study for my finals, then I’m done with undergrad. For good. If one more elderly family member asks me where I’m going to be next year/if I’ve gotten my acceptances (HAHAHAHA) I’m going to scream. They don’t seem to understand that I JUST finished my applications (no matter how many times I remind them) and would really just like a consoling pat on the back for that alone. Noope. And why do I laugh so hard when acceptances are mentioned? Oh I don’t know, maybe because I’m applying to arguably one the hardest types of Ph.D. programs to get into across the board. The chances of my¬†actually getting in are extremely slim (across the board, <10 students in a cohort)./ 8/9 of my applications were for PH.D. programs, and only one for a Masters. Yeah, maybe that was a mistake, but why other wasting the money on application fees if I know what I want to do?

Speaking of, my judo instructor really scolded me (scolded me!) for wanting to go to grad school, especially directly out of undergrad. What if I don’t like my subject area once I finally delve into it? Oh, I don’t know…I guess I’m screwed! He legitimately made me feel like I was making the wrong choice. Of course, then I reread my personal statement and felt like myself again (thankfully).

Anyway. Grad school seems terrifying, but it’s really my only option given my double major in social sciences with useless Bachelor’s-level degrees. Oh well. Even if it turns out like this, at least I’ll be doing something I love. In theory. ;D

Senioritis And The Quest To Find Fun

I started writing this post in class, which really should be testament to how severe my Senioritis already is. I even like the class and it’s difficult to focus. Maybe that’s because Buddhism has absolutely nothing to do with graduate school applications, except for that they both remind me that life is a continuous cycle of suffering.

I have one semester left at my university, as I’m graduating early. Come December, my undergraduate career will be over and I will have at least 6-7 months in which to do not much of anything… Yeah I’ll have a job, maybe even two, but will that be fun? Not really, unless I get involved with some research project, which would be cool, but unlikely.

I have only a dozen or so weeks left, and since my class schedule isn’t particularly demanding (in addition to Intro Buddhism I’m taking judo), my duties as my sorority Treasurer are dying down, recruitment is largely over, and I can only work at my job but so much, I don’t have much to occupy my time.

Here, freshmen who are often used to being the big fish in a little pond back in high school, get thrown into an only slightly bigger pond with about 6,000 other big fish. Academics are the priority here, but having a high grade point average or SAT scores will not have the admissions committee swooning. Extracurriculars increase you chances of admission significantly; the more the merrier. It’s actually a little ridiculous. However, after admitting all of these eggheaded, highly competitive, and often socially awkward 18-year-olds, the school has to give us things to DO. Because, ya know, we’d be “bored” otherwise. And also probably go out and get fake IDs to drink away our academic sorrows at the three (now four) bars in walking distance. Hence the Activities Fair (which I’m sure all universities have in some capacity or another), which is held in our basketball arena (capacity approx. 8,000). Now you may be wondering why I’m telling this long, drawn out story about college life, but just bear with me.

At the Activities Fair, there are rows of tables laid out into many aisles, with each student organization getting its own table. As an upperclassman I’ve manned a few of these tables. It’s deafeningly loud, and there’s often a crush of bodies around you save for in the upper tiers where the less popular clubs (read: too lazy to get their reservation paperwork in on time) are sequestered. We claim to have over 400 clubs and student-run organizations on this campus – though I have to admit the “Collegiate Tea Drinkers’ Society” is pushing it a bit in terms of legitimacy. Freshmen idle and push their way up and down the looong rows of tables, entranced by the myriad possibilities in front of them. And so, as you may suspect, everyone signs up for everything. I think at my first Activities Fair I put my email on the listservs of upwards of 20 or so organizations. Science Fiction and Fantasy, Voices for Planned Parenthood, Pep Band, Society for Paranormal Investigation, multiple AIDS awareness and relief service trip programs, Amnesty International, Habitat for Humanity, our LGBTIQ advocacy group, Bhangra, Beledi, Japanese Cultural Association… I think you get the point. I had BIG plans.

Two weeks later I’m pulling my hair out in frustration because I get emails multiple times a week from every organization I even had a remote interest in. I’d never had this many emails in my life! And so, I learned how to remove myself from the listservs and pared my campus involvements down to about two. For three years, I had no problems with that, but now…

What am I supposed to do with my time that’s running out? I’ll never have an undergrad experience again, and I feel like I’m missing out on so much! I’ll never get a chance to help put together a magazine focused on promoting and destigmatizing female sexuality. I’ll never get to hand out cupcakes to promote awareness of starvation in Africa (Irony? I could never really tell). The clock is ticking and I feel like I have so much left to do.

And so, in an attempt to get involved with new and fun organizations on campus, another senior friend and I decided we would go to a club meeting for a group called Cypher. It was supposed to be a gathering of slam poetry, break dancing, free styling, as well as other forms of spoken word performers. My friend and I both love slam poetry, so we figured we’d go, listen, maybe learn a few things, then decide if we wanted to really get involved. So we show up (to the outdoor meeting place, sketch as fuck) and there’s literally three dudes standing there. Thankfully I knew one of them and we stopped to chat, see what was up. He told us that he and his crew were apparently supposed to perform (break dancing), but he didn’t know where they were, or if there was even a set of speakers available. Yeah. Super legit, amirite?

So we left. My friend and I were both embarrassed together, but also pretty disheartened. We wanted to get involved, but honestly, finding and meeting new people who have already established friend circles is pretty daunting. Seniors don’t really mix well with freshmen – it’s just a fact. We have totally different college impressions at this point in the semester. Seniors are generally jaded, and any advice we give to freshmen has to be taken with a grain of salt. And with that jaded outlook, we make it hard to open ourselves to new experiences again. We’re so afraid of graduation, of the “real world,” that we forget to appreciate the time we still have to live it up in college.

I’m not really scared of graduation so much as I am of missing out, and I’m not really sure where to turn except inward and focus on myself and my own academic pursuits. I guess that’s just going to have to be enough. So…

This is just gonna have to be the motto.

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