I received an acceptance to a masters program (applied PhD). I’m assuming that I was rejected for the PhD program. This is disappointing, because I was especially interested in this program. I was competing for a small number of spots (limited solid number), competition including people who are masters students there already. The decision making process (I’m still waiting on the third application) is going to be a little difficult because of the following reasons.

  • I prefer the second school (calling it school B) to the first one (school A).
  • Whether it makes sense to try for admissions again next year. School A I can get a doctorate definitely; school B, not sure. I’d have to re-apply.
  • Money. I’m awaiting financial aid info for school A. School B has given about half tuition scholarship and there may be opportunities for other fin aid. Since school B would be a doctoral program, I can use the scholarship I used to fund my undergraduate and masters for that; for school A, I more than likely cannot.

Lots of big decisions to be made.

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Since I finished my homework for the week at last, got some research in, I feel like I really have reclaimed my life. February (I know it isn’t over yet) as been a pretty bad month for me. I’ve been on pins and needles waiting to hear back from grad schools (nothing in either direction, and it’s been frustrating to say that when the few well-meaning people I’ve told I applied have asked). Schoolwork has been a bit overwhelming, partially because I’ve spent a lot of time in my lab. The stress has caused me not to sleep well. I’m trying to figure out what class I want to take next quarter; I already have figured out one, which is my thesis research credit. My bus pass was confiscated last Friday, because the transit authority accidentally disabled some of my school’s bus passes. In short, it has been rough.

And to top it all off, I had the dumbfounding discovery I don’t know how to dance. I mean that I do, but I spend so much time worrying about perfecting technique vs. letting loose that I find it rather hard to think up my own combos and choreography. I know that I’ve written about trying to choreograph. I think I attributed my issues to lack of inspiration in life or music, but I now think it has to do with the amount of time that I’ve spent doing drill-like stuff to get my technique down solid.

I think my concentration on technique stemmed from hearing people talk about Middle Eastern dancers wanting to dance and perform more than understanding technique, hence seeing sloppy dancers. I don’t want to be a sloppy dancer, so I’ve been working (not this month too much admittedly) on that. However, I think I’ve lost meaning or the big picture. Although clean technique is very important, having that emotional connection and not worrying about being perfect is so critical to Middle Eastern dance or performance in general. It is really what sets one dancer apart from another.

I also think the focusing on technique is about my time. It’s a lot easier to drill 30 hip drops on the right and 30 on the left than it is to think of a little combo incorporating that. There’s no originality in the former, whereas the latter requires more thought, like how to link move A to move B.

I am going to continue my technique drilling and such, but I’m going to work on feeling the music and combining moves. I also hope I have some happy news and less stress soon.

Slowly around now, the joys and sorrows (acceptances and rejections) are coming in. Somewhere someone must have some weird sense of humor, because it is very easy to worry when you know decisions on the next 4+ years of your life are being decided but you have work to be completed. I would love to tell everyone I don’t worry, that it hasn’t somewhat affected me, but I also try not to lie. Thank goodness my midterm in EM is almost done and that the library is full of good sources for my paper (according to a fellow grad student).

*sigh. And it is very hard not to cave in and check repeatedly about schools. I already did :), but I highly recommend you do not. The good news is that I haven’t been rejected, the bad news is I’m waiting.

Bad News
I’m sick again. We went to Wicker Park a week or two ago (when the weather was nice but windy), and I think we just got sick from the rapidly changing weather and walking around outside in the wind. I have an earache, my nose is running like it’s in the Olympics, and my head aches.

Being sick also puts me a little behind in starting research. While I cannot do a lot (a syringe that’s needed to added the particles went missing in the mail), I could technically do something.

Good News
I finished my applications! A minor victory, since the infamous and nervewracking waiting game begins. Luckily, I think I’m going to enjoy my research and my schoolwork, so I have something to fill my time.

Additional good news is my research advisor is really awesome about me not being able to begin and Sonya is accepting new students for private lessons, so I can begin that.

I begin school again on January 5th. The reality hit me when I realized that I needed to order my textbook last night to ensure I receive it in time for class. I have to admit, I wouldn’t mind a little more break. It has been relaxing, even though I have been working on many things.

I am getting like everyone else and looking at everything around me. What I’ve done, what I need to do, and what the future has in store this year/quarter. Because I’m feeling a little short-sighted, I’vew been thinking about this break and how good it was to do so little. I originally wanted to choreograph, make costumes, etc., but I needed a break more than anything. I’m glad that I did that.

In terms of the present, I really must have my applications completed by the time school begins. Although I probably can complete them during the school year- why chance it? I’ve been steadily re-editing my personal statement, and that will be completed by today, at least the bulk of it. Although I enjoy writing, personal statements are not my forte. I’m so glad I began early with mine. I knew I would keep editing until the bitter end.

Another task at hand that I must complete is reading all 48 papers for my research/thesis. The ones from earlier times (1920s or so) were very tedious to read. Stylistically- I can’t figure out what, but they were difficult to read because of that. As the decades progress, the papers are much easier to read (and also more enjoyable). I have completed 12 of them so far and I would like to have completed all 48 by the time school begins. When I have had the time and motivation to read, I have read 4 papers or so in a sitting, so I’m optimistic that this will happen.

My TA schedule- I have to admit, I’m not looking forward to it. I suspect it will be easy (intro labs only this time), but I also prefer something new. Intro labs are a challenge, since many students are not interested in physics, but I feel like I have done a pretty decent job in motivating them to be vaguely interested. I like the labs this quarter, though, since they involve optics. I’m a sucker for light and color, and I think most people are, too.

What I look forward to most is beginning my research. I love doing research, and I am pretty excited about playing with equipment. Table top experiments are exciting, since you can actually see (on some level; you might need a microscope) what’s going on. They always seem more hands-on to me. I also have not worked on a table top experiment, except for labs (and I don’t regard those as experiments), so this is going to be a very new and exciting experience.

I hope the weather behaves itself from now on, though. It’s hard to be excited or motivated by much when it’s so cold out.

A few seconds ago, I just sent off my application to one of the schools (a Dec. 15 deadline, ouch). With that out of the way (and the worrying begins, along with the dash to finish off other apps), I need to pack for Vegas and get out of the cold Chicago weather!

Have a good weekend. I’ll be back on Tuesday.

When looking at grad schools, I have a list of priorities I want to keep in mind. Among those are that I want to be able to dance where I go next. I have been screening places not only by selectivity and where they are and what they offer but also by what kind of dance scene there is. It may seem shallow or like I have misplaced priorities, but a good deal of my happiness is reliant on dance and being happy means I’m more productive and learn more.

And hey, you have to have some fun criteria thrown in there 🙂