|If only you knew how much|
this reflects my real life...
Ok, that's probably too short to be a blog post, so I'll provide a little more detail. I majored as an undergrad in a field that provided pretty good job stability, while also teaching me
|This would have been me for|
between 20 and 30 years...
|No mother, I'm not gonna|
be a cop or a lawyer
So with only my close friends at work (and my family) knowing what I planned to do, I looked into what programs offered good degrees in the general Northeast area. I settled on applying to one M.S. program in Forensic Psychology, and one Ph.D. program in Criminal Justice. Both were relatively close to my and my wife's families (15 minutes and 1 hour 45 minutes, respectively).
|Hindsight is 20/20...|
Looking back now, applying to 2 programs was a horribly stupid mistake on my part, as I should have sent out 5-10 applications to ensure I was accepted into at least one school. I was pretty naive when it came to the whole 'grad school' thing, and so I figured I would have one long shot (the Ph.D. program) and one safety school (the M.S. program).
Once I settled on where I was going to apply, I contacted some of my faculty contacts from my undergrad program (two from the minor, one from my major) and asked them to write letters of recommendation. I was lucky enough to have not pissed off my professors, and all three agreed to write letters for me. I studied for the GREs and did pretty good (Word of wisdom: You WILL think you have failed the GRE when you finish it. Get the scores anyway). I compiled the various documents I needed (transcripts, etc.), and wrote my letter of interest.
|I apparently wanted to be a TMNT,|
because my wife was a hottie?
"Hiya Professory Peoples! When I look at my wife, I realize that I love her a whole bunch! So I want to learn about crazy/bad/criminal-type people so that I can protect my wife from them and *sings* "Save The Day!" I'm good with the words and stuff, and can also type on the computer! Let me in to your program and I'll be happy! Holla back, son!"
|Where they stored|
my application files
So once everything was finished, I sent out my application packages (with the check for the application fees, of course) and waited. And waited. And waited some more. My applications were sent in for a December 31st due date, and I didn't receive a letter from either school until mid-March.
|This was me, realizing I might |
be stuck at my job forever...
During the same time, I had also thrown in my resume in for a couple of different interesting sounding jobs, and had received an in-person interview (at my expense... cheap bastards) for a job that I realized only afterwards I was definitely under qualified for. (They wanted a senior level database/networking analyst, and I knew how to make a fairly simple database and use the Internets...).
|"F*ck yes I'll accept!"|
While I was waiting for the outbound flight to the job interview, I received a call from the Dean of the Ph.D. program. She said they would like to admit me, and were interested in flying me out for the visiting weekend! (At their expense! Bling bling!) I completely blew the job interview (but who cared at that point, right?), and prepared myself (and my wife) for the visiting weekend. Fast forward just over 6 years from the visiting weekend, and I had finished my Ph.D.!
So, what's the moral of this overly long story? Well, there are a few things that come to mind:
1. Know what you're getting into (more on this in future posts).
2. Don't mess up your future prospects by being a dumbass as an undergrad.
3. You don't HAVE to keep working the same deadend job until retirement, assuming you have the resume/skills/contacts/etc. in place to let you jump to another job or opportunity.
4. "I want to protect my wife because she's a hottie" is not a good framework for a letter of interest. (More about applying to grad school in a later post).
5. Have more than 1 long shot and 1 safety school, in case one implodes and the other isn't tricked into (somehow) accepting you.
6. If you develop a nervous twitch in your eye from stress, you should probably find a new job (or otherwise cut out what is stressing you out).
7. Related to #4, even a sh*tty letter of interest might be overlooked if the rest of your application is impressive for some reason.
8. Making simple databases and browsing the Internet effectively does not make one qualified to be a 'senior level database/network administrator'
Picture credits: Garfield Bored_Guy Dog_Butt TMNT Toilet Beaker Handcuffs Phone_Guy