My commitment to posting new entries here on my blog has certainly not been stellar. The last time I spoke with you I had just submitted my comprehensive exams. I am happy to report I have passed, and now must simply finish my final paper for my independent research project and I will have a MA degree in my happy little hands.
I've been keeping myself busy working full-time at the vacuum shop, researching my project, and working on a PhD application.
Yes, that's right folks I said it. I have been working on a PhD application. The girl that declared two weeks into her MA degree that she would not be studying for any further degrees has changed her mind.
Graduate School played quite a trick on my self esteem. In the early days of study I became convinced that I was not smart. I would listen to fellow students speak in class (some of them 3rd year PhD students at that point) and easily came to the conclusion they were the smart ones, not me. I became convinced I had absolutely nothing worthwhile to add to class discussions. On a number of occasions I sat in class on the verge of tears “trying to think of something worthwhile to say.”
I had never in my life been afraid to speak up in class. This was completely new to me. It was in this wounded state of academic self esteem that I decided that academia was not meant for me.
I was particularly tormented by the idea I was meant to create knowledge and not just learn it. When it came to thinking of ideas for research that would add to an academic field of study – I simply froze. The pressure got to me, to put it in sports terminology, I choked.
So—what changed? Why do I want to study for a PhD now? Well friends, I found something. I was working on a research paper for class and I found something that added to academic knowledge that had not previously been discovered. It’s like someone suddenly turned the lights on and I realized, “hey – maybe I am still smart, maybe I can do this.”
My confidence began to return and I contemplated researching my finding further. I have been working on an independent research project this semester expanding my study. My initial findings have held up – and there is still plenty of room to research further in hopes of explaining my results, etc.
This brings me to applying for a PhD. I must admit my initial instinct is to hide the fact I am applying from everyone – that way if I were to be rejected it would save me from having to tell everyone, “oh no, I didn’t get accepted.” What a silly way to live one’s life that would be! Can you imagine always being afraid to share your goals or dreams with others because you might fail – and God forbid someone would know you don’t succeed in everything you have ever tried? Lol. Time to loosen up and let go if you ask me.
So, here we are, I have submitted an application for admission and scholarship electronically to the University of New South Wales, last Thursday. I have also sent hard copies of the application to the university via UPS which should arrive to the UNSW (in Sydney, Australia) by next Thursday.
Normally, when applying for a PhD it is wise to cast a wide net and apply several places. However, because I was late in coming to the conclusion that I would like to continue my studies (and I wish to study in Australia which is under a different academic calendar than the United States) I was restricted by which schools were currently accepting applications. I am applying to begin studies in Semester 2 which begins in July in Australia. The trouble is, though many universities will allow you to begin your studies in Semester 2, they will not allow you to apply for a scholarship at that time of year. UNSW was an exception to that rule, which just so happened to work out for me, as I was most excited about what they had to offer in the first place! They seem to have a considerable amount of research dedicated to the field I am interested in.
So, here I stand with all my eggs in one basket, a predicament most potential PhD candidates would avoid like the plague. Not me though. I have always been rather fond of putting all my eggs in one basket. Besides, there is always next semester to cast a wider net, if need be.
All in all, which ever turn my path takes – if I am accepted and funded, or not – it won’t make or break me. Wait, I take that back, it could have the potential to “make me” but certainly, not break me – as I will go on to try another day! Lol.