Thursday, June 2, 2011

Untitled # 1

If insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results, then doing the same thing over and over again expecting the same results is just masochism.
This is to say that I am considering applying to graduate school, again. And there is a huge chance I will get rejected to every school I apply to, again. And that may or may not be a form of masochism, depending on how you see it.

After next semester I will have an MA in Philosophy, and I am vaguely considering going for a PhD either in Philosophy, or in Comparative Literature. If that is the case, I better start doing some research during the summer.

If you know me well, and are my friend, I know what you are thinking as you read this:

“But I thought that you were frustrated with philosophy Carolina!”

But, if you really are my friend, you also know that I was ALWAYS frustrated with philosophy, and that I may never be NOT-frustrated with philosophy, and that I am pretty stubborn. If anything, such frustration is good. It has helped inform my ideas.

The only reason I am vaguely considering putting myself through the hell of the application process a SECOND TIME, is because I would like to get money: I would like to get funded for doing philosophy, and because I think I would be an awesome philosophy teacher in the future, and I am more than happy to teach both at an undergraduate or at a community college level, making a contribution to society somehow. I know. I know this is cheesy.

On the other hand, I am not interested in using philosophy to feel superior to others, to justify my shitty or unethical behaviors, or to get laid, nor am I using Philosophy to hide from the real world while my life goes by and my relationships are left unattended; although I am probably guilty of all of these things.

I have a real job already, I like it. I have a skill. But, if anything, being around youth of different backgrounds has informed my philosophical ideas, and given me all the more reasons to stay in the field of philosophy, to try and communicate and justify my perceptions, and to critique the false narratives and universalisms based on culturally limited intuitions that are harming, rather than aiding our task of creating more meaningful communities, identities, and lives.

So, I think I want to do philosophy for the right reasons. But, now I have to convince a graduate program of this. And I was never good at selling myself.

I do think that my chances of getting accepted may be higher now that I will obtain an MA, have presented papers at two different graduate conferences, have a stronger writing sample, stronger letters, and will hopefully beg a couple of journal editors to publish my mediocre book review by the end of summer. See? I can sell myself better this time.

But the real question is: do I really want to spend even more time than I already have stressing about Philosophy? Do I even want to bother having to answer this question? And also, remember Carolina? There are 300 hundred applicants for the average schools and only 5 of them get picked. Do you know what that means? That’s just like winning the lottery. That is just putting yourself and your life plans at the mercy of luck and chance. Do you really want to waste your time again? Can’t you just be happy with what you have?

This morning, I was looking up a philosopher who teaches at Yale, but Google directed me to the “Graduate CafĂ©” instead, this is a website were applicants post their acceptances or rejections to graduate schools in Philosophy. I looked through the site for a few minutes and it brought back memories of anticipation. I remember going through this website a lot two years ago as an undergraduate student, when I was waiting for my acceptance or rejection letters to arrive. I guess I got a sense of community by reading about others who were just as anxious as I was. I saw that one particular guy who had gotten rejected from Yale, wrote this:

“Yale. Rejection letter. This means that I'm 0/17. I hate this world. Sometimes, cutting myself is the only thing that makes the pain go away. Since this was the last school I had to hear from, there's really no point in going on. Why apply next year? I'll just get rejected again. So tonight, or maybe the next night, I'm going to take my whole bottle of Adderall and wait for the darkness to come.”

Wow. That’s all I have to say.

But then again, why am I laughing at this guy like I am so different and less dramatic?

Some of my students act like this often when I give them a B. They have written e-mails to me of this sort. Some high school students I've taught are also applying to schools such as Yale because they are all unique, because they are so self involved in their own drama and poetry, and they don’t realize how similar they all are; always thinking that they will be the next David Foster Wallace. Some of my high school students have the maturity of this undergraduate student whining about his rejection in a blog, exactly the way I am whining in my blog about the sole thought of getting rejected again, and one has to wonder if graduate school is only contributing to lowering my maturity level even more.

But, I am trying to remind myself that I am not the same person I was two yeas ago, that this city has changed me, that I am older, that I look older, that I can handle things better now, that I can handle cover letters and rejections, that I have mentored people. But, I may be fooling myself. This process may go further than the insanity parameters into the field of masochism. I just don’t know. This 1,000 word blog entry is obviously proof that I am analyzing things too much, that I am being dramatic. That, in fact, I haven’t changed that much. I am going to go take my strawberry niquil now, and wait for the darkness to come, thank you very much.