Hi, friends! I submitted my last grad school application yesterday. I expected to feel celebratory, but instead I feel like I did at the end of running a half-marathon, as though I limped across the finish. This is tied in part to my writing a really great essay on Friday, thinking that I had a 5,000-word limit, which seemed long but explicable given that the school was UC-Berkeley. Turns out the limit was 5,000 characters. Ouch.
Nevertheless, I’m done, unless I am rejected from all of the schools and have to begin a new round of applications in the spring for programs with late deadlines. Any rational person looking at my application would say that I will get into at least one of these programs. I harbor small doubts.
I registered for my prerequisites for next semester, statistics and anatomy/physiology. I had been registered for microbiology until I realized that I needed anatomy/physiology first, and now I am ridiculously sad that I don’t get to take it. I wanted to learn about bacteria because of its possible links to allergies. I could take it after I finish the master’s program, but that seems unlikely. On the whole, I’m much happier than I was a year ago and now wondering why I waited so long to start this back-to-school plan.
I’ve read a couple of good books recently. I finished “The Pleasure of My Company” by Steve Martin last night. It’s about a man with OCD who spends almost all of his time alone in his apartment but imagines potential relationships with neighbors and acquaintances. It sounds like it couldn’t possibly be interesting, but the character is written in a tender, funny way. Maybe I sympathized because I am borderline OCD about certain aspects of life, such as my bedtime ritual.
Before that, I read “A Man Called Ove,” by Fredrik Backman. I tend to be reluctant to read these feel-good books that have thousands of positive Amazon reviews. I like to discover books rather than following the herd. Also, I suspect the book will be too simplistic if that many people are fawning over it. The first few chapters, I really disliked the curmudgeonly Ove and considered quitting the book. By the end, I found Ove endearing, and though the story was a bit predictable, I still found it touching. Now that I think about it, these two books have a lot in common. Both have loner protagonists who lack the ability to change their life courses.
What else? I took Eleanor to the Texas Book Festival yesterday to hear Katherine Paterson, the author of “Bridge to Terabithia,” which was my favorite book growing up and is also a favorite of Eleanor’s. The talk was geared more toward adults, and I think Eleanor was bored, but during the Q-and-A at the end, an audience member asked Paterson about her inspiration for the book. Paterson said that when her son was 8 years old, his friend was struck and killed by lightning. She wrote the book to try to help her son make sense of a senseless death, and she never expected it to get published. I started sobbing. There was something about her giving meaning to this boy’s death through this beloved book and also about hearing this author who had such a big effect on me when I was a child.
That’s all for now. I’m hoping to get back to more writing now that I’m not spending all of my time composing essays about my future.