Reflections on Visit #1

January 31, 2009 by Jen

Well, it’s over. Round one, anyway. The interview was less painful than I expected. 
However, there is something about visiting graduate schols before they decide to admit you that makes me sympathize with the little frogs in a biology laboratory, except they might be more fortunate, because they’re dead and don’t have to hear people comparing the size of their eyeballs when removed from the sockets.
*Reassuring moment* my eyeballs are still in my sockets.
I’m serious.  Am I walking crooked? Maybe they want someone who walks a little crooked. All the students here cross their right leg over their left. I’ve been doing it wrong for years!!!! I picked meat instead of vegetables at lunch. Would I be more acceptable if were vegetarian?  I yawned during one of the classes I sat in on – how dare I! Was I funny enough? Was I serious enough? Was I enthusiastic? (Okay, so I left the pom-poms at home…stupid, I know.) 

In a sense, I felt as though each person I met was holding out a giant letter of acceptance – just out of reach, but curiously shaped like the number 42 – and all that prevented me from snatching it was my inability to think of the One Great Question About Graduate School. 

When the final dregs of each conversation turned all eyes to me, it always came. The dreaded words: “Do you have any other questions?” 
“You ARE the weakest link. Goodbye.”
(Drat. I knew I should have asked why the beds were designed for people four inches shorter than me…Or burst into song: “How do I live without you?”)

But the visit wasn’t entirely without highlights. Along the way, I found further proof that Plato’s doctrine of forms was on to something. The form of the brilliant professor is becoming ever clearer in my mind. 
  • Glasses are a definite. 
  • The voice is key: a feathery, rather opaque tone in the upper register blending to a gravely base, as if to demonstrate brilliance by encompassing everything in the world, lithosphere to atmosphere. 
  • A rhythmic step-dance for lecturing unique to the individual: four steps forward, four steps back, or three to the left, one to the right, and a little hop (so maybe the hop is an exaggeration). 
I’m still working out the rest. Right now it could still be confused with the form of a Richard Harris doing a line dance in between Harry Potter scenes. But give me time…
In the meantime, it’s back to the daily grind.  And I, a wiser, sadder woman, will now begin designing a new world to rival this one in order to calculate that elusive One Great Question About Graduate School. 
Stay tuned for the flying flowerpots.+
++alliteration mega-points.
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