I currently am in the library working on a paper, and I am reminded of how much I have missed access to university libraries’ troves of knowledge. (Unlimited JSTOR access also doesn’t hurt. I burned through my (non-student) limited allowance of reads very quickly each month while I was out of school.) Although I do feel like a troll emerging from a cave each time I leave D-Level and venture back into the human world, it is that weird kind of caffeine-induced feverish academia which gives me a rush. A leisurely stroll through the stacks results in a rather lengthy reading list growing in my arms. A panicked hunt for a much-needed volume for a paper (when I look like an idiot while waving my arms at the lights’ sensors to prevent the stacks’ lights from dimming) reminds me of the privilege and pleasure it is to be able to study. A click of my touchpad and I can order a volume from any of several other universities’ libraries along the East Coast. One is on its way to me from Harvard as I type this, and another is coming to me from Yale. If I am in the mood for less frantic studying and reading, I can cozy up in the Atrium or the Hut and spend many hours growing my brain and refining, or even challenging, my world views. Truly, libraries all are magical, but a university library is a special kind of happiness.
The paper I am creating now is my very last for the summer semester. I can’t believe that I already am nearing completion of my first semester of graduate school. I have survived mountains of readings, carpal-tunnel inducing papers, and feelings of inadequacy and imposter syndrome for three months. I’ve learned so much in such a short time from both professors and students. I’ve fallen in love with Charm City and couldn’t be happier to be a Blue Jay. I don’t know if I will be staying at Hopkins for the doctorate, but this feeling of reassurance that I belong in school and am making the most of this opportunity will stick with me always.
My thoughts now turn to the upcoming doctoral admissions cycle. I’m terrified, to be quite blunt. What if I don’t receive an offer from one of my top choices? What if I don’t receive any offers? There are many great schools in this country, but I will be applying only to a handful of them. Not just my background but my ability to be a good fit will be on the line, and the reasons I could receive a rejection are significantly higher than they were for the master admissions cycle. Some of the programs where I will be applying accept fewer than five applicants out of at least a few hundred hopefuls. I am fortunate to have a great advisor and to attend a school with lots of resources for this adventure, but I still could not be more anxious or frightened.
I don’t know how much I will be blogging about the admissions cycle. There are a finite number of ways to express the emotions I mentioned previously, and I don’t want this blog to become a cesspool of stress and anxiety. I want to remember all the wonderful things about my time at Hopkins, however long it may be. I want to remember my favorite study haunts and the regulars I see there. I want to remember the regulars I see at the rec who have given me tips when I was training alone. I want to remember the magic of walking onto campus for the very first time. Even if a doctoral program elsewhere is where I go, I want to remember that I always will be a Blue Jay. #gohop.