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Wednesday, Mar. 10, 2004 - 12:46 p.m.

A warning: this is perhaps going to be the least fun Measure entry you have ever read. If you are not my friend, maybe you should go back and read some other entry; this one consists mostly of me feeling sorry for myself in a not-at-all-entertaining way.

I expected to be detailing silliness and adventure this break, but instead I havenít been detailing anything. This is because my vacation got off to a crummy, crummy start. A few days ago I heard from the PhD program I was most expecting to get into, and they said I wasnít among the first wave of accepted applicants. As people refuse their offers, thereís still a chance Iíll get a spot, but at present Iím some kind of alternate. Iím too heavy to be an Olympic gymnast, but theyíll hold me in reserve just in case Ms. Rettonís shin snaps in half or something. And the worst part is that I wonít know until after mid-April or so whether Iím going to get anything at all. So here we go with at least another month of waiting, this time with hopes much lower than before.

And because this was the program I was most certain about, the program that was telling people far and wide they were excited about me, I have little hope for the more distant programs with which I have had no contact. It looks like thereís a good chance I wonít be starting a PhD in linguistics this fall.

I cried a bunch on Monday when I found out, then drank a bunch, then felt sort of spacey the next day, then got mad. Add to the disappointment some kind of seasonal allergies, a new brand of birth control pill, and the minor medical procedure Iím having done tomorrow, and I feel all kinds of weird. Today I woke up perky but kind of empty-feeling, and I canít decide what to do with myself. Iíve been going for a lot of walks and spending a lot of time on the stupid internet.

So Iíve mostly been searching for what could have caused me to not be accepted, and that could become a dangerous obsession. Was my personal statement not inspiring enough? Was I too modest? Was it that I withdrew from Introduction to Badminton as an undergraduate? Did one of my recommenders write something damaging, either intentionally or unintentionally? How could someone else be better suited to working on a PhD in linguistics than I? This hurts, and I donít know what to do about it. I havenít talked to my parents about it yet. I dread going back to my third-floor office Monday and talking to everyone who will ask whether Iíve heard anything yet. I donít want to talk to my old advisor, to everyone who wrote me letters. I donít want to see my friend who just got into UMass.

And most of all, I donít know what Iím going to do now. I donít want any more temporary jobs. I donít want to sell any more clothes at JC Penneyís or draw any more blood or put together any more webpages for the school. I donít want to teach freshman writing classes unless itís a path to something greater, something I love moreÖbut with only a masterís degree, English 101 is an end in itself. I donít want to spend the summer sweating in my Target-brand business clothes as I drive back and forth to temp jobs. But Iím going to have to do something. So I wander around the neighborhood and sweep my floor and wonder about academic publishing and copyediting.

Chris and L have been wonderful about making me feel better, and my old and new bosses have, too. I ate sushi and watched a movie last night with L, and I felt pretty good. But aside from the comfort and the tiny hope I should hold onto, thereís not much to be done for me until I figure out whatís next. Iím always obsessed with What To Be When I Grow Up, but now I have to actually decide to some degree.

Yes, do feel sorry for me, express disbelief that Iím not everyoneís first choice for graduate study, but also know that this is probably good for me. Iíve never not gotten into a school I applied to. I am still bitter about one of the only jobs I interviewed for and didnít get, and that was just at a health food store years ago in Durango. Of course, Iíve often set my goals rather low. This time I didnít. It sucks. My spring break sucks. The cat is pacing and yowling incessantly, itís too cold to go sit outside, and band practice is cancelled tonight. The last thing I want to see is a freshman paper, but there is a large stack of them on my desk. I went to the branch library earlier this week and could not find one single book I wanted to read Ė what the hell is that? A doctor is going to scrape around inside me tomorrow, and my health insurance is not going to pay for it. I am twenty-five years old and I feel like a teenager, with self-esteem and stringy hair to match. And I have no snappy end to this entry Ė just a general frown upon the week of March 8-15, 2004. Suck me, March.

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