Saturday, March 14, 2009

grad school: the new frontier

we are almost at the end of an exhausting season of application review; my energy has waxed and waned, but i have done a lot of great work with the accepted student website so i am looking forward to yielding an amazing class, once again. because it's gettysburg and we Do Great Work.

i want to start visiting graduate schools. i haven't finalized my list yet, but i'm beginning with the schools where my favorite professors got their PhDs, and consequently are a recommendation in themselves. but what to go to school for? will i really spend the rest of my life talking about the 18th century? maybe. i could probably actually do that quite happily. but i would need to balance that passion with other fields, other directions–i hate the thought of getting a degree in something that doesn't apply to modern life, and one of my goals with my Phd would be to use the focus on social justice and communal responsibility in austen's literature, to apply to the world in which i live.

i wrote to a couple of department chairs at various universities to find out more about their programs, and of course now i'm kicking myself because i did the exact thing that more or less takes up valuable time when other prospectives do it–i gushed for a good six paragraphs about how much i love austen and 18th century lit., and how i needed an environment that was academically rigorous while cooperative. which i could have written in the application itself. but i didn't. i wrote it in a super-long email and hit "send" without thinking, as is my usual habit, and now have my big mouth to thank for the fact that said professor may very well think i'm crazy.

well, well. for what do we live but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?

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it's not just for the classroom!