28 February 2008

Time for therapeutic chocolate

Posted by Jessica Ball

So, the first notice that I haven’t been accepted to a graduate school has arrived. To be perfectly honest, I was prepared for this one; I was warned beforehand that competition for funding spots in this department was stiff, and that the profs I was interested in working with might not have space for me. (Actually, I was told that some students are considered for this program years in advance, which I think is completely nuts. What’s the point of asking people to apply to your program if you’ve already handpicked your grad students before they’ve even graduated?) As it turns out, only two students were asked to join the volcanology group this year, out of what was undoubtedly a large crop of qualified applicants.

It is disappointing, since this would have been one of my best opportunities to get into work in volcanic hazards – at least immediately. I do realize, however, that because I’ve decided to do a masters first, I can still apply again when I’m ready for a Ph.D. This is, after all, my chance to feel out what I really want to work on, and two years is not a very long time, put into perspective.

I’m also sure I’ll find work that I like at the other places I’ve applied; I’ve had very generous offers so far (including some smaller institutions that I might actually be happier at than the Big Well-Funded University in question). It’s just that…well, rejection is never a good feeling. In fact, it stinks. So I’ll stop by the gourmet food place and get myself a nice dinner, pack my bags (again) for my cousin’s wedding, and spend the evening watching comfort TV. And then I’ll go back to worrying about scheduling the rest of my grad school visits.

There’s actually a bright side to all this: I will not have to figure out how to schlep my stuff from the East Coast to the middle of the Pacific or afford rent in the middle of a completely overpriced tourist trap.