Jan 26, 2009

graduate woes.

I'm not feeling good about my graduate school prospects right now. 

All applications are submitted, potential graduate advisors contacted, and the outlook is bleak from my point of view. I just am feeling right now as if no one really prepared me for what was expected of me beforehand. I feel I've gone out of my way to contact scientists whose work excites me, I wrote essay after essay, filled out a million different forms, and I feel as if it will go to waste. 
In science, your graduate admission completely depends on a laboratory and it's leader accepting you as your graduate advisor. They help you come up with your thesis, conduct your research, etc. Most importantly, they pay your bills - tuition, fees, research costs, and your wage. It's your job. But apparently for my field, marine biology, it's tough. It's competitive. And mammals are worse - everyone wants to work with something with a cute, snuggly face. I was told this going in, but I was also told I'm an exceptional student with work experience within a research laboratory and that these schools should come courting me, and not the other way around. 
So when it came to applying for fellowships to help take the burden off of the school and my potential graduate advisor I consulted my professors and my father. I was told not to worry if I didn't feel I could complete a competitive application now. I could apply for them within my first year of school once I had my research ideas planned and could write a competitive proposal. 
They were wrong. It seems every email I receive back from a potential advisor just tells me that I look like a great student, but they have no funding. I need to come with a fellowship. It's too late for that. Either I don't qualify for the one's still available or the application deadline is passed.
It's partly my fault, I know. But I feel misinformed by people I trusted. I feel slighted by these graduate advisors whom I tried to contact earlier to help me develop a research proposal but didn't get back to me until now. Until it was too late. 
It's a bad feeling. I graduated Summa Cum Laude in 3 1/2 years. I shouldn't be having this trouble getting into school. I'm a great student, a great scientist, and a fast learner. 
Right now I'm thinking I should've gone with something easier. Just plain zoology. Who cares if being a marine biologist has been my dream since high school? I would be happy working with any animal. I think my mom was right, I should've just been a vet.

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