My Pursuit of Graduate School Part 5

I perhaps have never been so pleased to be able to write on the subject of my graduate school prospects for I have good tidings to share!  After applying to six different schools, I have received word back from five thus far and the response has been shockingly good!  I am truly humbled by it.  My tally is 2 no’s and 3 yes’s!  What grand miracle it is!  Once I hear back from the final school I will weigh out my options and decide on where I plan on attending. 

I must first bestow thanks to a professor of mine who assisted me in the application process because as with anything else, I was bumbling about like a fool and was in desperate need of some guidance.  Allow me to gush for a moment.

So my professor is probably one of the coolest people on the planet.  How cliched, a student who completely loves their professor, what shall I say next, that exams are hard and life as a student is financially difficult?  Such stunning revelations!  Sarcasm aside, I am very much in debt to him and his help (which he had no obligation to give) was really the difference between me attending graduate school and me not continuing my education.  In addition to being insanely smart and accomplished in his field, he’s just cool to hang out with and I genuinely like him solely as a person.  Definitely in my top ten favorite people.  Okay, I will stop gushing already and finish with the fact that I can finalize this blog series at this post thanks to him, for I have at last accomplished that which I so fiercely set out to do.

This post is dedicated to you, Unnamed Chemistry Professor of Utter Awesome.  The world works because of people like you. 

And to my Blog Reader Friends, may your day be as good as mine has been, and may all of your efforts come to fruition!  Apparently there isn’t anything a little hard work can’t achieve. 

Yours Always,

ze Tsarina

 

My Pursuit of Graduate School Part 4

This will likely be my last post in this series for a good bit.  Things have been moving pretty fast (as they should considering the semester begins next week) and good things have rolled in like waves of water at high tide.  After some back and forth passages of emails, I have been given the green light to take my first graduate course this coming semester!  Though I’m not officially admitted into the program, it is my first official step into graduate school.  My extremities tingle in joy, I almost want to dance!  -cue Tingle from the Legend of Zelda-  If I do well in this course, my chances of admission raise considerably.

I will only be taking one graduate course (it was hard enough to accomplish that, and I didn’t want to push my luck), but it will be Fundamentals of Heterocycles, an online class.  Oh how I love online classes, I can be smelly and greasy sitting in my bra and panties while my mind feasts on all the wonders offered by a college course.  No judgment from anyone else except possibly my pets, but they don’t care either as long as I make sure they are fed timely.  What’s not to love??  As long as I score well enough on my assignments and test, it’s as anxiety free as I can possibly get.  Plus since I will still have to head in to school three days a week for my undergraduate course, I won’t get too lonely and cut off from the world.  How fantastisch!

This Monday I will need to head into school and get signatures from various people to get full permission to take the class, but that should be theoretically straightforward.  I’m so pleased with this turn of events, my skin feels luminescent!  It seems like all of my hard work has finally placed me exactly where I have aiming, the next trick will be not allowing my anxiety or depression to squander all of it (like it has been prone to do time and time again).  Perhaps if I increase my yoga and exercise routine, it can keep me on the straight and narrow.  I think I have that power within me?  I mean, after all, even if only by the skin of my teeth, I have made it here, haven’t I?  I would say that’s a hopeful enough sign of good tidings.

-puts on spandex and flowing red cape then thrusts right fist into the air-  “Onward!  Upward!  Onto the next big hurdle and beyond!  I CAN DO THIS!”  -billows of smoke pool around feet as I slowly launch into the air like a space shuttle-  “The next battle is ours to win!  See you in Valhalla!

Your Painfully Geeky Friend,

Ze Tsarina

My Pursuit of Graduate School Part 3

I am somewhere between laughing hysterically and sobbing, which undoubtedly is a bad state of mind when sitting down to write, but I was unable to resist the urge to update on my pursuit of graduate school.  I found out two hours ago via email that, the perpetual gnawing and gnashing of my teeth for the past four months, combined with numerous awkward moments with professors and administrators was basically for nothing.  Since I am still an undergraduate (with only one more class left), at my school, all an undergraduate needs to do to take grad courses is to simply complete a form that is approved by 5 or 6 people.  A form.  A formA FORM!!!  A form.

Here is a rehash on how this gross miscommunication even occurred.  My official academic adviser, who is a chemistry professor in the department, is a miserable prick who quite literally never gave me a single shred of valid advice in all of the years he “advised” me.  I could not switch advisers, and I had to meet with him in order to register for classes.  He considered the purpose of his job to be to look over my plans, assess that they were in line with my degree program, and that I didn’t schedule two classes at the same time.  Wow.  You see, I actually did pass general chemistry amongst others…  I think I can follow a fucking checklist.  I digress.

After a bad judgement call on my part, I met with another professor who explained out my options to me, and bluntly told me that I would be stuck right here where I am, Spring 2014, and shy just one class from my BS degree.  But he said there was a light at the end of the tunnel.  If I was a good little girl, and if I was accepted into the chemistry graduate program, I could take graduate courses Spring 2014, at the same time as my final undergraduate class.

Like an atypical “man on a mission” or a “dog with a bone” (probably more like the dog.  I’d like to think I’m slightly cute, but maybe a little furry too? I’ve been called a bitch several times as well) I went after this goal tenaciously.  I put my heart and soul into being a good girl and getting that chance to start on graduate courses.  Turns out, my terrific unofficial adviser didn’t have all the facts.  Consequently, I did all of the things I needed to do, or thought I needed to do, and I have had two administrators bend over backwards to help me, but it turns out it was all for naught.  Just a miscommunication.  I feel awful for all the trouble caused on my behalf, and feel like I need to get these two awesome people a small gift of some kind.  Otherwise, they may kill me in the school hallway or something else drastic.

Wow.  It’s a funny situation, in a fucked up kind of way.  I will sleep on this and hopefully, things will unfold even more favorably tomorrow.  In the meantime, I desperately need to hit the gym and release some of my steam.

Thanks for listening to my rant…

Yours,

Ze Tsarina

My Pursuit of Graduate School Part 2

I feel as though it has been ages since I last posted, but final exams roared through (So engrossed was I that rent had accidentally gone unpaid!  A first for this creature of excellent credit habits).  This was immediately followed by my graduation ceremony which was utterly surreal.  Since I am still one class away from my official undergraduate degree, the full effects of graduation were lost on me.  Oh well, it was nice anyway I suppose.  Finally, after much delay, I am able to return to my keyboard once more!  “Yippee!” *spoken like Irritating Small Child Anakin Skywalker*

So here is the situation, as played out by many tense stomachs, clenched jaws, and embarrassing flatulence on my part.  (Anxiety.  It’s just a bitch.)  Despite my application being one month late and without the final recommendation, I was able to play email tag with the graduate program coordinator and he told me that he would give it his full consideration!  This is such welcome news, and realistically, all I can ask for.  Now I just sit and wait on that letter in the mail.  My future will unfold from there.

I should be celebrating and utterly overjoyed at all of these wonderful things, yet I can’t help but feel weighed down by other considerations.  First of all, my final grades for the semester were dismal and brought down my already floundering GPA.  Usually I try not to sweat it, it is what it is, but I’m so disheartened that despite my valiant attempts for high achievement this semester, that nothing much came of it.  I accomplished copious amounts of studying, I did not sit on my ass the entire semester.  I just don’t know what happened there…  and I feel upset about it.  Every time I think of my final grades for this term, a dark sickness stirs at the pit of my stomach.  As if there is a real potential for vomit if I dwell on it enough.  Eh, I should just repeat my mantra, “it is what it is,” and think of kitties and other cute animals.  Seems to work well enough.

Secondly, after going through all the jumps and hoops to finally make it to graduate school, and obsessively researching every angle so as to be as prepared as possible for what is to come (my MO), I have come to realize something.  I am completely terrified of the prospect of graduate school.  With my anxiety, this is not unordinary, but it’s still a big hurdle I will need to pass if I wish to actually make it.  For the past four years, it’s all I have been seeking.  And I love chemistry and lab work so much, I know it would be a good fit.  But the prospects of playing nice, teaching undergraduate lab, achieving those perfect grades and not being an awkward mess sounds so daunting, I just don’t know if I can hack it.  In the end, I bet will force myself into it, shaking and resisting to the very end.  I assume I will thank myself later for it.

After I receive the ultimate news from this application, I have Plans B, C, and D lined up and ready to go.  I have this next and final semester to enact them and see how those will pan out.  And if everything utterly falls apart, I guess there is always this “housewife” gig I have going on.  But I think I would rather be one of those kids with a four year degree and flipping burgers full time rather than to resort to that.

Time is on my side and it’s just more of the waiting game at this point!  I’m so happy to have made it this far with such good fortune, but we’ll see where life takes me from here.

Yours,

Ze Tsarina

My Pursuit of Graduate School Part 1

As it currently stands, this semester that is drawing to an end is my final complete semester of my undergraduate studies.  However, due to a really shitty academic adviser, I still have one class left to complete next semester.  While that was playing out, I was told that taking graduate courses, assuming that I was admitted to the graduate program at my school, was a possibility, assuming I minded my P’s and Q’s.  Which I have done to the best of my abilities.

This was all last year.  Now, it’s do or die.  And the fate of my future rests on what happens in the next few days to the next few weeks.  And I’m positively drowning in anxiety.

Here are my pros and cons as a prospective graduate student:

Cons

  • Low GPA.  We’re talking, barely scrapping a 3.0 here.
  • Completely absent social skills.
  • Low effective communication skills at times.
  • Not so good GRE score.
  • Let’s face it, I’m just weird!

Pros

  • Spectacular recommendations.
  • Enthusiasm for chemistry and learning in general.
  • Very determined.
  • Strict adherence to lab technique and etiquette.

So I’m not exactly first string, but then again, I would consider myself a viable candidate.  Oh, I forgot to mention, I also had a minority tuition scholarship from the American Chemical Society (which I’m also a member of).  Brownie points?  Minority being, I’m Hispanic, or, as I prefer, I’m “brown.”  Apparently there aren’t many Hispanic, African American or Native American chemists in the United States at this time.

The current state of affairs is this.  My application for the graduate chemistry program at my university is completed, but it’s not fully submitted because one of my professors is playing drag ass, and hasn’t submitted my recommendation yet.  And it’s past the deadline for completion.  I asked my recommender about the issue, to which he keeps assuring me it’s not a problem, but I’m not thoroughly convinced that it is.  This may mean that my chances of being accepted are already a big fat zero.  I guess I really have no way of knowing though until maybe the end of the year.

I can feel the blood surging through my veins, elevating the pressure.  The pit of my stomach is lost in a flurry sickness, nerves, stress and uncertainty.  My mind is frazzled and unfocused.  Every muscle is taunt.  My jaw is hopeless clenched like a case of lockjaw.  As far as an outward appearances go, I look like anyone else.  Calm, unmoving, normal.  Yet a terrible storm rages inside and I’m so scared; lacking any direction.

This is how I feel when anxiety hits and sets in.  It’s not a good state and it can cause me to do irrational things.

I’ll try to calm myself and see what all I’m capable of doing to put things back on path or at least get some answers of some kind.  I find the best solution to times like this is to try to fix the issue that is causing the problem, and to wear myself out with exercise.  These things usually work for me.

Wish me luck!

Your Fabulously Silly Tsarina