(First, a bit of housekeeping: Since I blog infrequently, and occasionally hear from people in the real world that they check the site regularly for updates, I thought I would point out that this is not a necessity! For one, since I DO post so infrequently and know that it is a shame, I try to diligently post a link to the blog with a notice that something new has arrived on my Twitter account, which also updates my Facebook status. Thus if you already follow me on those sites, you “won’t miss a thang” as Aerosmith would put it. However if you are not quite up-to-date with the 21st Century, there is a nice, old school way to see if I have updated my site without actually clicking through to it or typing in the address: RSS. See “What is RSS?” if you are unfamiliar. To subscribe to my RSS, simply go to this link: http://www.matt-cook.com/feeds/posts/default or add that to your RSS reader. That’s your technology time-saver of the day.)
Now on with the post.
My life has been a real balancing act lately. Don’t get me wrong; it’s nothing compared to last semester’s terror of balancing all the preparation necessary for graduating (as a Scholar, no less!) and getting married. But still it’s been interesting, to say the least, that my “mentally relaxing” year off from school and education to prepare for grad school has turned out this hectic.
First of all are the health problems. (In case you missed it, I might have Crohn’s disease or something else unpleasant.) It’s cost time, money and productivity. There have been plenty of days where I haven’t felt like doing a thing at work, other than put my head on the desk and wait for my stomach pain to cease. Those were fun days. Fortunately, I haven’t felt nearly that bad in two weeks. Unfortunately, after over a month of seeing Dr. Nuako I still don’t have a diagnosis. (This is in no way his fault, of course. My symptoms aren’t playing nicely. He said yesterday that this would be easier to figure out if my symptoms were worse.) Instead, I have four or five potential diagnoses, and a handful of expensive tests that should figure it all out. So we’ll see where all that goes. I tell you what, though, if I’m not reeling in pain I’m less inclined to bother with all the tests. Dr. Nuako himself said that he didn’t really think all of the tests recommended by the pathologists were necessary. So for now I continue on in “wait mode.” Like I said, as long as I’m not throwing up in pain and I don’t have tuberculosis (yeah, I’m being tested for that, too), I’ll be ok.
But that’s just one part of the balancing act. Then there’s work. Ah, work. I’ve been pushing very hard to finish Phase I of my project over the last couple weeks, and did so successfully. After a meeting with the boss and others this week, it’s now time to turn to the longer, more excruciating part of the job: video interviews with students. I don’t know how easy or hard this will be, in all honesty, but I imagine it’s going to be hard work to coordinate. The big picture deadline is a looong time away, fortunately, so there’s lots of time to get this done.
The third and final part of the balancing act is the colossal grad school application project. After four days in Wisconsin and Minnesota over fall break, my work ethic on this front has had a new fervor. The looming deadline of Nov. 3 is drawing nigh: the day on which I take the GRE. (It’s named the Graduate Record Exam, but you could also call it the Great Reckoning of Eternity. Kidding, but only slightly.)
Most people have said not to worry about the GRE and to just get some sleep before hand… but are you kidding me? I’m studying as hard as I can! My reasoning is pretty solid: I’m shooting for as high a score as possible, given that I’m applying to four top-10 geography programs and the odd-ball Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP!) program, but even that is at Virginia Tech. All of these applications consider the same key things: GRE scores, undergraduate record, letters of recommendation/statement of intent, and compatibility with faculty. So the GRE is one of four key components. People apply to these programs with perfect 1600s. So what number do you think I’m shooting for?
Just one more reason my life is a balancing act.