Jan 28, 2006, 9:06 PM
Post #21 of 6294
Re: [stephkarto1] The Waiting Game...Have you heard yet???
I, and I'm sure hundreds of other people as well, absolutely understand how you feel. At times I give in to my anxiety too, and pace up and down, and vividly, meticulously imagine the committee members shaking their heads and No, this guy sucks; next one! Or, in overly optimistic but equally unjustified reveries, I see the faces of faculty members saying, We want this guy now! What a great writer!
But you've said it in your post: there's nothing you can do now about that. As hard as this may sound, you have to try to forget about the application process for a while. "Trying to forget" is obviously a contradiction, but you can do things that you find exhilarating -- go for a run, get together with friends, go surfing, hiking, skiing, whatever will draw your attention and enthusiasm. And if you can't stay away from it, at least make it productive: write. Another academic paper, another poem. Or (obviously!) read. Of course, easier said than done, and as a matter of fact it's Saturday night and I too find myself checking the Speakeasy forum, which betrays the fact that I'm thinking about these applications too. But hey, I'm going surfing tomorrow, and I know that the first couple of waves will knock me down because I'll be thinking of all these schools, but after I've swallowed enough salty water I'll get pissed and want to defeat the frigging waves, and then for the next couple of hours I will have forgotten about this whole application nightmare, hopefully riding beautiful waves. And then, of course, there's this girl who's deciding whether she wants to be with me or not, and that sucks too; but -- I say to myself in my most pathetic moments -- at least this takes the pressure off the application process. I guess I must have "transferred" the anxiety from one area to another. Damn! You don't seem to have that problem, though :)
As for your worries about committees wanting you to join their Ph.D. programs, I know dozens of cases (literally dozens) of people who are completing their Ph.D.'s at very good places after years of being out of school. So don't worry. I'm one of those cases, for whatever that's worth. Now that I have a little bit of "insider" information, my advice would be: try not to guess the way the committees will think of you and your work. There are so many factors that enter the evaluation, that it's simply impossible to guess what the outcome will be. Being rejected doesn't necessarily mean you're not intelligent or smart enough to get in -- it may just happen that the year you applied your profile didn't match their search criteria, however good your writing sample may have been. And don't worry about your intelligence intimidating people. That won't happen, on the contrary -- at least, that's my impression from inside a Ph.D. program.
OK, now go get that silly movie that cracks you up whenever you watch it, or that book that captures your attention completely and makes you forget about the world, or that friend that always manages to cure your emotional sanies. As for me, I'll go for a run, and listen to Jeremy Irons reading Lolita -- that's what's doing it for me these days. (Those CD's are fantastic).