Friday, May 27, 2005

Graduation

I have practically no idea who reads this blog. Strangers no doubt, but I wonder if there is anyone who reads it who knows me but has not told me they read it because they don’t know me, you know? But for my own reasons I feel compelled to be grossly self-indulgent and post something straight. No third person, no fudging the details or even making shit up. Just me typing.

I’m what you might call precocious, what others might call a “resident genius child.”
I received my high school diploma when I was 16. I graduated from community college shortly after my 18th birthday.

I played in two musical ensembles. I worked at a tutor in the math and science department.

Professor M thought I was one of the brightest students in his organic chemistry classes. Professor B had me play first chair despite my objections. Professor S called on me in Calculus to find his mistakes in the problems he worked out on the blackboard.

I walked with highest honors.

Am I bragging? Yeah, maybe a little bit.

So why don’t I tell you about when I transferred instead.

I got all Bs my first semester at the University of California. B is for Berkeley, B is for biochemistry, B is for behavior, animal. However, B is also for physics and chemical ecology.

B is for blow, to the ego.

I was working harder then I’d ever worked in school, I stayed up all night studying for the first time in my life. I wanted an A so bad but all my tests came back with Bs on them. If I didn’t have class or work I would go back to my dorm room after getting back exams and if my roommate wasn’t there I would sit on the floor leaning against my dresser, thinking about how I was disappointing my parents and cry until I could hardly breathe any more.

My second semester I was disheartened. I didn’t try as hard so it would disappoint so much when the tests came back with their mocking 85s in red pen. I took some interesting classes and I met some people I liked. I got to go hiking every Saturday, bouncing in the back of a black jeep up winding roads. I couldn’t help grinning and feeling a little less disheartened with the wind whipping by smelling of cigarettes and the prospect of four hours of academically sanctioned playtime outside ahead of me.

Imagine my surprises when my Bs had partnered As at the end of the semester. I worked less and did better. It didn’t make any sense, but in a good way. And the trend continued.
I got the grades for my final semester the same day I got my second (and last) response from the graduate schools I had applied to. All As, but… no thanks.

Oh I can’t claim I’m surprised or even disappointed really. Sure, it leaves you feeling pretty shitty to get rejection letters and the fact that I wasn’t notified until nearly June kind of leaves me up the proverbial creek. But, my interests are so far from where they were 5 months ago when I applied for the program that really, I can’t hold it against them.

This makes my life harder. I want to go to grad school, I crave the life of academics, but at the moment I’m not sure what interests me. If the two schools that rejected me were to contact me to tell me they’d made a mistake, I don’t think I would be any better off then I am now. I seek a mentor but nobody has time for a recently graduate 20 year old with no idea of what she wants to do with her life. Oh woe is me, anguish, pain, torment.

So I’m left feeling empty but relieved. On the one hand, I have to structure my own life instead of relying on a graduate program to do it for me but on the other hand, I can structure my own life instead of relying on a graduate program to do it for me.

But fuck me.
Now I have to reapply.

1 comment:

Feralnerd said...

You know, a big part of grad school admission is laboratory work. If you want some pipette slinging, I can pull strings for you and get you some amazing research this summer. Just say the word, and it's done. You are far too bright to let this get to you.
-Rick