Applying to Grad School, or the Flaming Clown Car

“Do you remember as a child in cartoons how sometimes there would be a clown car in a race that as it approached the finish line would start on fire, have a tire or two fall off, and would make it across as a flaming out-of-control wreck? Lately, more and more, I’m becoming frightened at the similarities between my attempts to get into grad school and the flaming clown-car of the cartoons of my youth!!!” -Luke Alvin

My friend Luke posted this on my Facebook wall a while ago and it so perfectly summed up my feelings about the grad school application process that I couldn’t help but include it in a blog post. Luke is a geography major and professional writing minor who has applied to graduate programs in rhetoric and composition and is currently waiting to hear back. We often commiserate about how inept we feel, comment on the awkwardness of the whole process, and wonder aloud where on the map we’ll be next year. Only a handful of my friends are graduating yet, and of those, only two are applying to grad school. When we realized we were both applying to grad schools, we became kindred spirits. 

Examples of things you could overhear us saying to one another if you happened to be stalking us:

“Did you feel like a phony impostor when writing your statement of purpose?”
“Oh yeah. Big time.”
“Okay, good. Me too!”

“Explain to me again why we’re paying a $65-75 application fee per program. Is this even worth it??? What kind of program would accept us?”
*Nervous laughter*

“I’m thinking of skipping this whole grad school thing to become a housewife.” (me) 

“How would you feel about abandoning our lives here and going to live on Granddad’s Bluff? That wouldn’t be so bad. We could write a memoir and make some money!”

Yes, we are schemers. We gripe a lot, but in actuality we are both incredibly excited for graduate school.  

I found out over a week ago that I have been accepted to the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor’s School of Information. I heard back less than two weeks from when I applied, which was certainly unexpected and gave me a little boost to keep my energy up in this waiting game. Now that all of my applications are turned in, I am happy to busy myself for the semester. While it feels strange to not know where I will be come fall, it’s also exciting to know that all my options are open right now. 

Lately I’ve been getting blogger’s guilt — I am very behind on the blogging I would like to be doing. Somehow I have managed to keep putting this off,  even though I have been doing plenty of library-related stuff that could easily be blogged about.

I met with Anita Evans, the director of Murphy Library, last Friday and was able to learn more about her experiences in librarianship over the course of her career. Yesterday I met with Bill Doering, who is the librarian in charge of cataloging, digital projects and ILL (inter-library loan) — he’ll be putting me to work! I will be learning basic cataloging skills and later in the semester working on digitization projects. I couldn’t be more excited. I also shadowed Paul Beck, head of Special Collections, at the reference desk and got a taste of public service librarianship. Next week I’ll be interviewing my mentor and internship supervisor Rachel Slough for the blog, as well as Galadriel Chilton, Murphy’s E-Resources librarian.

1 comment

  1. Bri,
    You will be an asset to whatever graduate program you choose to attend. I know this time of waiting is really scary and awful, but I would encourage you to hang in there and remember that you are very supported. If you ever need someplace to vent, you know where my office is :)
    As always, keep up the awesome work!

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