Wednesday, October 28, 2009

All Study and No Play Makes Jon a Dull Boy

I am a tired man. I'm working long hours and filling in the gaps with grad school applications and studying for the GRE. It's really too much to be taking on at one time, and if I were a wiser man I would have studied for the GRE when I worked 20 hours a week in Ecuador, taken the exam when I was home in the states, and applied for grad schools before I had a job. Well, I'm an idiot. You live and you learn, but hopefully you only need to suffer through this experience once.

Filling out all of the application materials for a grad school is painful, and it's as bad as you can imagine when you are applying to eight of them. They are all online now, and some of them even use the same "standard" application system. Yet though they are online and using the same systems, you still have to plug in the same information every time, which defeats the purpose. All of these personal statements are basically the same but questioned just a little bit differently so that you have to write them all over again, and edit them all over again just the same.

Obviously this hard work should go towards something, should really show that if you're willing to fill all of this junk out and take the GRE that you are serious about studying for a Masters. But it's not enough to get you in. It's just so draining that it really gives me respect for those who work full time jobs and then study at night school. I don't know how you could find the focus to sit in a class after working all day, let alone find the time to study, eat, do laundry, figure out bills, and try to have some semblance of a normal life. The hope would be that it will all pay off in the end. If it does.

I walk out of the office now and instead of going home with a skip in my step like every day is Friday before vacation, I'm simply drudging along to get home, change, and start studying again or filling out more applications. I eat a quick and usually unimaginative dinner of pasta because it's easy and quick to cook, and then it's back to the books. I feel guilty if I quit for a half hour before bed to unwind with some TV. This won't go on forever, and once I take the GRE in Buenos Aires on December 12th I can breath. Once all of the applications have been turned in by January (one in April) I can actually rest and start enjoying myself fully (with any luck).

My time here is going by quickly so far, mainly because I am so busy. I didn't intend to come down here and throw everything on the table like I have done, but it just kind of happened. It prevents me from doing more enjoyable during the week and makes me feel guilty on the weekend if I'm not making the most of every minute, but I have to believe that it will pay off in the end. Otherwise, it's been a good waste of time.

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