Ah, Bradley has hit just the note I needed to re-open the gates of blog world to me. See, even though he didn’t write me a recommendation letter, I am one of those people he is talking about–which I haven’t been all that forthcoming about on this blog, as I usually become the silent type when it comes revealing things I’m trying to do in my life, and when 90% of what I think about outside of work has to do with something I am hesitant to reveal, that does tend to cramp the blogging. I am a PhD applicant waiting to find out if I am going to become a PhD student. So, for me, February has gotten off to an anxiety-ridden start. My summer strategy of just not thinking about all the potential for heartache in my life has started to fail me, and I find myself having palpitations every time I open my email or the mailbox. During January, it seemed that I was still a pleasant ways off from hearing anything, but now it feels like open season, and worse, it feels like every day that passes is one day closer to doom. One more day that School X was not so excited about my app that they decided to email informally ahead of sending a letter (this happened to one of my friends last year). Advised against padding my list with “safety” schools, I applied to fiercely competitive programs (I know they all are, but I think these especially are). So, the chances of me not getting good news are pretty high. Actually, higher than the chances of getting good news if you go strictly by probability.

Added to the stress of the waiting “game” is the stress of applying for new librarian jobs as the end date for my one-year position nears. Added to this stress is the stress of knowing that I might have avoided this had I been able to commit to taking an extension on the current position, but as I was gripped by a now or never fervor, I told them that I was applying to grad school and couldn’t make any promises. So, I might get no thick letters AND have forced my husband and myself onto the worst job market in our adult lives so far.

I have to keep reminding myself of one very important thing: I signed up for this. All of this. This is the preferable alternative to letting my fears about the future continue to boss me around. At least I’ll have tried, and if I fail, I think I’ll be able to approach my current career path with a more open mind.

And of course, I didn’t start this process without plans B, C, and D. Although my determination to enter the PhD admissions lottery may end up costing me another year in my current job, there’s a good chance it might not. And there’s a decent chance that if I’m not working here, I’ll be working somewhere else–maybe not as awesome, but somewhere in a library. There’s still positions that haven’t been canceled, and at least I’m applying to them with a year of professional experience rather than as a new graduate. And if I find out that getting rejected by all of my ambitious graduate program selections still doesn’t settle the question, I would not rule out a re-do next year with a more realistic list. At least I won’t have to take the GRE subject exam again!!! (Which, by the way, I rocked. I rocked it almost to the level that I feel it might work against me, like “well, clearly she studied for this thing way too much, what a loser, she should have worked on this writing sample more instead”–but don’t worry, I did work on the writing sample rather obsessively.) And D is finishing his graduate work in accounting, so if I don’t find something, maybe he can find something. And if neither of us can find something, at least we live in Iowa, where 400$/month rent is not unheard of and we can both get jobs at McDonalds to hack that and walk to McDonalds if necessary.

But keeping my eye on all of those positives while I take enough deep breaths to put one foot in front of the other sometimes threatens to take all my energy. And I haven’t even begun to address all of the other things I need to be concerned with now that I no longer have MFA thesis revision as an excuse, like actually submitting stuff places. Oooph.

*The title of this post is blatantly ripped off from the title of a mix CD that AH sent me a couple of springs ago. Which proves there is only one tried and true method for surviving months such as this one, and that is having friends. Good friends who make you mixes, listen to you rant on Gmail chat, don’t freak out when you have a borderline insane Facebook status message because they know you are mostly joking or know that you have a right to be a little unwell once in a while, advise you to mix yourself a drink, and most of all never hold back on sharing the crappiness and coolness of their own roller coaster months.

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14:

March 13, 2008

the number of flyers received from lawyers in the past three days, all offering to help D avoid the consequences of the speeding ticket he received on his way to the mechanic to fix the check engine light which turned out be just a loose gas cap.

Good reads via Seacoast

February 18, 2008

It takes a lot to make SJ smile on a day in which she experienced what she calls a “Double Shot of Adulthood”–1k in dental bills predicted for hubby and a check engine light in the new (!?!) car. Fortunately, there’s good semi-colon news today, and Emily totally scooped me on that story, and pointed me toward a good piece on American aspirations and the phenomenon of workplace and school shootings. So do check it out, if you haven’t given this blog up for dead.