Sunday, January 30, 2011

a sad little post

from 2007
(from 2007: when I lived here; when graduating from college seemed impossible; when I'd just dropped all my chemistry classes; when I felt like I do now)

I think I will abandon my original goal of making this a potentially family-friendly zone-- a place to build writing samples on lovely, light things in my life (when did I ever even do this?)-- and let it devolve into a straight-up LJ as it was always destined to be. Because, to be frank, the last time I was in this crappy place in my life, out of school with absolutely no plans or purpose, I needed a place to vent and this is where I did it for about five years.

Yes, I did it. I put it out there again. Those posts used to be a part of a blog that had regular commenters, comments obviously and picture links that worked but I moved it to wordpress because some people thought they knew me too well and it got rather sickening. I'm not sure why I'm linking to it, but it just seems like the right thing to do now. That is who I was-- and maybe still am-- even though it is embarrassing to read sometimes. Annnnd I took it back after remembering that this account is tied to my school email address.

Northwestern rejected me on Wednesday. I was watching the phones at work, in between running back and forth from the sanitizing room (I work as an assistant in a dental office), when I checked my inbox for the thousandth time and saw the nice email from Northwestern's graduate assistant. It had "with regrets" in the subject line so that the poor souls receiving it couldn't for a second be confused about its intentions. This was at the end of an hours vigil that began during lunch when I checked the gradcafe's results board and saw that someone had been called with an acceptance. Needless to say, I began checking my phone, email, and application status whenever possible-- and simply twitching like a little chihuahua. Really, taking into account my recent weight loss (I was never FAT but I wasn't skinny either) and the fact that I haven't found time to do my eyebrows since September (I usually dye them then wax; they are now completely invisible/white) I do look quite diminutive, and if I was tanner I would look irrefutably Scandinavian. But have you noticed that young swedish people tend to look very pretty while the older ones look like raisins? This is because they don't use sunscreen. I refuse to sacrifice my skin. I digress.

I had to share with my colleagues that I had been rejected because I'd shared the venture with them in the first place and it was quite obvious that something was wrong. This situation really cemented the fact that I am not a crier, which doesn't help me when I am pulled over for speeding, but was quite useful in preserving my makeup in this case. I sort of sucked it up and added extra time to my workout afterward at the gym in a haze of complete disbelief. I texted the news to my family so I wouldn't have to bring it up in conversation if they asked later.

That. was. it. Really? I mean, after all the work I put into the application? Northwestern was truly the only place I could see myself going. Quite apart from a certain professor I wanted to work with, and other academic motivations, I have close relatives who live in Evanston, I lived there a long time ago and my brother will be studying at NPU next fall. It seemed perfect.

And then it slowly washed over me that I'd felt this way before.

I applied to a LOT of jobs last year before and after graduation and I'd always put too much stock into the possibility of getting each job and what that would mean. At the beginning I was just so happy to have a B.A. to put on my resume that I felt that this was a time of possibility and that, despite the horrible job market, things would happen to me. Because, really, they had to. A few months of waiting in the summer led to the first wave of rejections (though many didn't even bother to contact me at all) and this feeling. There was something about me that was universally unattractive to employers and I soon started to approach the whole job search with dread, knowing that it would come to nothing. I never did get a real job. I work for my family's business now and, though they need the help, it isn't satisfying to me.

So, I now think that Northwestern is probably just the beginning of the end. I'd checked gradcafe's result board to see when English notifications started rolling in last year and I was eager to get out of bed in the morning to see if there was anything new in my inbox before this happened. Now I just sort of lay there, if I don't have to get up, because I'm certain that the rest of my notifications will follow suit.

I was aware of the competitiveness of the programs I applied to; all English programs are insanely hard to get into. But I let myself be fooled into thinking that I might have a chance. Literature, writing, reading, and curiosity is all I know on earth (and all I need to know?) and I can't imagine that my life will be much better without the challenge of being a part of an intellectual environment. Without graduate school (or with it maybe) I'll just end up being someone's secretary, if I'm lucky. I mentioned this to a TA last year who inquired about my plans after graduation and she, formerly a lawyer, said that she once had a very nice college-educated secretary. As if that made me feel better.

I'm not sure at all what I will do or could do if all my applications are rejected. A diminishing part of me feels like the openness and opportunities are exciting and that I could do whatever I want. The larger part of me knows that these things-- like traveling, my own apartment, a job that pays more than $20K a year-- will never happen because that would actually make me happy and some force out there seems to be bent on keeping me as downtrodden as possible. (Me, probably.)

The worst part is that in this free time, living at home with my parents (oh joy), I haven't been able to do the creative things I've been wanting to do for years and that I planned on doing after graduation, like reading "with abandon," crafting and baking. I just fritter away my time trying to make it...go away, I guess? Trying to just not fully realize the reality of my situation. I could easily exchange my activities for more fulfilling ones but I can't seem to do this. It is painful living this way.

At the same time-- I'm incredibly lonely. I don't need a lot of interaction with people, obviously, but my own elemental separated-ness from cultural norms and lack of meaningful relationships grates on me every once in a while. When everything is going well I don't think about it much, but now...I don't know. It would be nice to fall back on someone who wanted to take care of me, as so many people in this world are able to do to some degree. I think I have a better chance at getting into graduate school than having that happen to me.

Ну, беда никогда не приходит одна. Да?

At the risk of being melodramatic, this is the song that always comes to mind:


  1. Just to practise you Russian:
    Ты прекрасно знаешь русские пословицы, Катя. Но есть еще одна: "Кто ищет, тот всегда найдет!" Главное, планомерно идти к своей цели, соотносить ее со своими возможностями и не опускать руки. Тогда все получится, я уверен! Выше нос! :)

  2. Нет, нет. Я не знаю много русские пословицы. Недавно я была читать это сайт:

    и постараюсь помнить их. Извените мой плохо русскии. Я должна больше занимаюсь...Но спасибо за приятный слов! Я всегда изучаю новый слова от тебя.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. This blog isn't, of course, like, buuut:
    "Нет, нет. Я не знаю много русских пословиц. Недавно я читала этот сайт:

    и я постараюсь их помнить. Извини за мой плохой русский. Я должна больше заниматься...Но спасибо за теплые слова! Я всегда узнаю много новых слов от тебя."

    Now it's brilliant! =) Not all Russian can express their ideas so clearly. Personally, I think you overestimate my contribution to your vocabulary :Ъ

    Really, your problems are not so exceptional. But action is the answer. Don't waste your time and do something, try not to become problem-ridden.
    a lot of my witty ideas in Russian there :)

    And all your questions connected with the best sites to learn Russian or books - yes! MUST BE addressed to me! =) Hope everything will normalize.


    wow, just amazing! even for me =)
    I wish I could help you with your Russian progress! want, want! :)

  6. Yeah, my case endings are pretty bad and I wasn't sure how to express "have been". The endings are difficult in the first place, but then again I also don't have a chance to practice them in real life. I'm a lot better at just reading-- which I guess doesn't say much compared to my writing skills! Bah. I'm trying to stay positive about it as I've got a week of vacation coming up with a lot of free time. Thank you for the link!

    I broke down and finally made a twitter account (I'm way too prolix to use it) and I've sent you a follow request.