Archive for the ‘My Life’ Category


Off to the Sunshine State

June 15, 2007

I will be attending FSU in the fall on a fully funded assistantship! I am still in shock that this is actually going to happen. I am finally going to grad school. I will eventually get to teach my own classes. I will eventually have a PhD!!! Still hasn’t sunk in.


My Next Adventure

May 24, 2007

As of May 12 I am officially a Rice alum! I’ve moved out and said goodbye. Now I’m living in Germany for 10 weeks and then traveling around Europe for 2 weeks. This is the craziest thing I’ve ever done. I’m working as an au pair in a small Bavarian village, Vilsheim, and trying to get by with my non-existent German. I’ve met some great people so far and even went to a party at the university in Landshut, the nearest city of 60,000 people. I’m loving it here and am highly amused by the obsession with American culture. Almost all of the music is American. When watching television most of the shows and movies are American shows dubbed with German (they even have Law and Order here!). Any product they can they slap “American-Style” on here sells much better. I can hardly believe it.
So I am back in Europe, ‘where the history comes from,’ and can’t make up my mind what I want to see. I need to explore Landshut and Munich since they are close by. Prague is definitely on the list of places to see, as is Berlin (especially for the zoo to see the baby polar bear and baby jaguar). Other than that I have no idea where I would like to go. I can fly anywhere pretty cheaply so I’m up for anything. Any suggestions where this adventure should take me?



May 4, 2007

I am finally done with college. I was supposed to be done on Wednesday at noon, but a concussion last week and lots of vicodin made that deadline impossible to meet. I got extensions on everything and now I’ve gotten my grades online… AND I”M GRADUATING! My thesis advisor gave me an A which means that I will be graduating with honors in political science. Whoo hoo! Now I just need to catch up on sleep, pack and move out, and figure out what the State Dept did with my passport.

I leave for Germany on May 16. I’ll be working as an au pair outside of Munich until August. Then I’m spending a couple of weeks traveling around Europe before returning and hopefully going somewhere for grad school (yes, I’m still waiting).


More Waiting

March 19, 2007

Since my last post I have received rejections from all of the other schools I applied to. That makes me 1-8, but I have applied to 3 more schools that accept late applications. Hopefully I will get into one of them because the school that accepted me gave me an awful funding package. I knew that they didn’t give out stellar funding, but this is ridiculous. When you take cost of living into account I would need to take out over $40,000 in loans to pay for the FIRST YEAR!!! They don’t give assistantships in the first semester, so I could possibly get one in the spring, but that won’t make much of a dent in the $40K. I could also get work-study, but even if I could manage a full-load AND an assistantship AND work study I would still be drowning in loans. So unless by some miracle they decide to offer me any additional funding I don’t see how I can accept. ARGHHH!!!! I finally get in and then they burst my bubble by giving horrible funding.

GRAD SCHOOL ADMISSIONS SUCK! but I’m told that it doesn’t get much better once you get in. Why did I want to go to grad school? Oh yeah, because I am a huge nerd who enjoys school and research far too much. Keep your fingers crossed that I get in to one of these last three places (hopefully with some funding– not likely).


I’m in!!!

February 28, 2007

After my complaints in my last post… I got into a PhD program. I emailed to make sure that my application was complete (because I hadn’t heard back in a month) and I got the following in return:

Dear Sarah XXXXXX,

Greetings from XXXXXXXXXXXXX! Let us be among the first
to congratulate you on your recent acceptance into the program of your
choice. If you haven’t already received it, please look to receive your
admission packet within 2-4 weeks. Your admit packet will contain
information on your admission status and the next steps you should take
to accept XXX’s offer.

We look forward to welcoming you to the campus shortly. In the meantime,
please feel free to contact us with any additional questions or


Admissions Staff

So I am still waiting to hear about funding, which is the real deciding factor, BUT I’m not a total loser. I got into a PhD program. This makes me feel much better after getting rejected.


So maybe I won’t be going to grad school…

February 22, 2007

I haven’t updated in forever due to the most evil things I have ever encountered, grad school applications. I got them all in before the deadlines and thought that I would get in to at least a couple of schools. Apparently I was incredibly naive about the American grad school admissions process. Here is what I have learned in the last few months:

1. Grad School Admissions are completely RANDOM!
When a school receives over 300 applications (about normal for my field) and then only accept 18 people it has got to be random. Obviously most will have great GRE scores and amazing GPAs and stellar LOR. Then you have those that have research interests that “fit” well with the faculty of the department. Since applicants don’t usually apply to schools where they don’t “fit” then you have far too many applicants for very few spots. There will be those spectacular applicants who automatically get in, then you have everyone else. This is the point at which the admissions are random. If only I had known.

2. Grad Schools have hidden wait lists
I was completely unaware of this practice until I found out on a grad school forum. Apparently some schools admit their top choices and then hold onto all the other applications (except some of the outright rejections) and as the admits send in rejections of offers the schools will admit more people. This means that people are left waiting at the mercy of the other applicants to reject the offers in a timely manner. I have heard that the polite thing to do is once you have received 2 offers of admission, reject the offer you don’t want and continue doing so until you hear from all of the schools. This makes sense because if you aren’t willing to accept then you should be courteous to the department and the other applicants waiting by turning down the offer. Unfortunately, some people will get admitted to several schools, but keep them all until the deadline. Thus, screwing over all the people waiting (because there is a uniform deadline of acceptance).

3. Some schools won’t notify rejections until weeks after the acceptances.
This is distinct from the unofficial wait lists. Since there are many more rejections than acceptances, schools will send out acceptances fairly early on and then take their time sending out rejection letters. This causes panic among the other applicants who have not heard by the time the first acceptance is posted on one of the many grad school acceptance tracking websites. Flurries of posts appear on forums and livejournal communities asking if anyone knows anything. Probable rejection is assumed by many because the exact practices of each department is usually unknown.

4. Schools accept in waves
Grad schools will accept students in groups, with weeks between the groups. This is incredibly nerve-wracking due to practice 3. Since the admissions process varies significantly between schools and even departments, students are unsure whether to categorize silence as rejection, unofficial wait list status, or possible furture acceptance.

5. The application deadline in no way corresponds to the date of notification.
As I have learned from both my experience and from others is that you cannot predict when you will hear from schools based on their deadline. The first school I heard from was the first I applied to, but the next notification was from a school with a deadline a month later (and was received 2 days after the first notification). One poster in an online community said that he might have to wait 8 MONTHS to hear from one school he applied to. One would think that in less than half that period of time they could evaluate applications and send notifications.

6. You cannot always trust online postings of acceptances
Many prospective grad students rely on websites such as Yuster, Grad Cafe, and Who Got In to find out about acceptance and rejection notifications. You can look at the date, manner of notification (email, phone, postal, etc), and even the funding packages offered. This can be helpful so that you can estimate when notifications will go out (based on previous years) and if schools have begun notifying yet. However, there are people (who are possibly more evil than the application process itself) that will post hoaxes on these sites. At the beginning of February one such post said that the individual had been waitlisted by Harvard, Columbia, Chicago, and Washington. However, none of these schools had sent any notifications.

7. Nine schools may not be enough
I applied to 9 schools. I have heard definite rejections from 2 and have probable rejections from another 3 (because they sent out acceptances and I don’t have one). 1 school I applied to over-admitted last year and are taking fewer this year to compensate (and received more applications this year). So I am left with my 1 safety school (if there really is such a thing in graduate admissions) that doesn’t fund, 1 nearly impossible to get in school (10 out of 300+ apps does not bode well for me), 2 reach schools that I wasn’t sure I could get into anyway, and 3 that are most likely rejections that I will receive in the next month or so.

This is what I learned from grad school admissions this year. The application process was hard enough since I had no assistance from advisors or my department. Now I find out that I probably didn’t have a snowballs chance in hell of getting in at all. So does anyone have any suggestions for what I can do next year when I don’t get into a single school?


Rice is going bowling…

November 25, 2006

for the first time in 45 years!!! Today’s win over SMU clinches a bowl game for Rice. It also broke our little streak of having one point games at Rice Stadium. Now we just have to wait and see which bowl we’re headed to. I’m really hoping for the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth because it’s closer and I think that a lot more of our fans will come to a game in Fort Worth over New Orleans or Birmingham (especially over Christmas break).

On a side note, I can’t believe that I’m actually into football now. Well, college football at least. I actually watched an entire episode of Sports Center. This is very strange for me since I’ve always hated watching football. However, I’m still a much bigger basketball fan than I think I’ll ever be a football fan. Growing up when the Rockets were good made me love basketball. Growing up with the Oilers sucking made me hate football. It’s amazing what a winning season of Rice football can do.