jedusor: (seattle gay pride)
It's been a long time since I gave LJ a general rundown of how my life is going, hasn't it?

I don't think I ever updated here about the UChicago thing. I let them fly me out and woo me, and the program seemed really excellent; I would definitely have done it if they'd given me full tuition and stipend, like the program I actually applied to would have. I'm not going to go into further debt, though, and it would have been expensive. But I did have a spectacularly productive conversation with the director of the program! This program shoos a whole lot of students off to Ph.D. programs, and so they see a whole lot of acceptances and rejections, which gives them data about things like GRE score cutoffs. This guy went through my application and told me what exactly I need to improve on and how. He also told me what the admissions committee liked, and which parts of the application they don't actually care about. It was immensely helpful. If I'd had all this information in senior year of college, I might have my doctorate by now.

So I'm retaking the GRE this fall, and adjusting a few other things on the application. I'm also pulling together a journal article on which I will be first author, which I'm hoping we can get submitted in time to put on my applications. I've been doing some soul-searching about what exactly I want to accomplish in my life and whether grad school is something I need for that, and I've concluded that I could potentially live a happy and fulfilling life without a doctorate but would really rather have one.

In less pleasant news, Pi and I broke up. Not because it wasn't working out--god, we worked so well together--but our long-term situations weren't ever going to align, and she needed to be able to start setting up the life she eventually wants. It's the first time I've ever broken up with someone when everything still felt right, when I still really desperately wanted to be in the relationship, and that was hard. It was really hard for a while. She came to my birthday party and picked up the variety cryptic Mike made me and quietly got the hang of it right off the bat while helping me color in posterboard for the giant Set deck, because understated brilliance in the midst of efficiency is just her, and my heart hurt a whole damn lot. But I'm okay now, mostly. It had to happen, and I guess I'm glad it happened now, because I was only ever going to get more attached to that girl the longer I was with her.

Mike and I are at six years now and still doing great. We took a road trip to California last month to see my grandpa, who's not doing so well. It was really good to see him; I got to know him pretty well the year I lived there as a teenager, and I miss his subtle humor and habitual kindness. He's hard-of-hearing, so it can be difficult to talk on the phone. We visited a few other people in the Bay Area I hadn't seen in forever, too, and that was awesome. I've always thought I wanted to end up living there if I could, and I do think I'd be very happy there, but... we came back after a week and Seattle felt like home. I have never loved a city like I love this city. Dr. K's been pestering me to apply to UW again, and even though they've rejected me twice, I'm considering it.

I've been skating two or three times a week since April, and can't see myself getting sick of it. Actually, I think I'm addicted--if I go more than three or four days without making it to the rink, I start feeling antsy and crappy. I'm looking into hockey gear, and I have two road trips to Vancouver planned for NHL games this upcoming season, assuming I can get tickets: one to see the Coyotes by myself in November, and one to see the Penguins with friends in February. Hockey will be the death of my bank account.

Besides the hockey, though, I've been doing okay at money management. The last few months I'm averaging over 40% of my income put toward savings and paying off my student loans, and I'm almost ready to start a personal investment account. The kind of fascination I have for finance right now is the same kind I usually experience with fandoms. It's interesting to examine because that kind of fixation almost always comes with a dollop of guilt for not doing more productive things instead, whereas stuff like obsessively calculating a plan for paying off different student loans on different schedules that overlap based on a combination of balance and interest rates is just about the most adult, responsible use of my time possible. So I'll get lost in this for an hour and resurface automatically going "oh man, what time is it, I should be..." and then realize that no, there's nothing I should be doing instead. It sort of makes me question the guilt I feel about watching movies or reading webcomics or whatever, because... you know, it's okay to do things that make me happy. And yet somehow that's instinctively difficult to accept.

I'm still watching kids for a living. It's not my ideal career, but it's still going fine. There's actually a lot of opportunity for applying psychological concepts and thinking about preference and decision-making in the process of wrangling little kids. They're both great kids, and the two-and-a-half-year-old has been turning into a super awesome little person lately--she has shitpiles of grit and she's getting pretty good at things like negotiating for things she wants and chasing down follow-through on promises.

Other things... I've gone to a couple Mariners games, and started learning and appreciating baseball, which has been fun. I've taken a couple of really cool geology field trip courses, and learned a lot about Washington's geological history. I recently finished a "Welcome to Night Vale"-related audio project I'm very pleased with, and am impatient to release. I've been vidding a bit; the one I'm most proud of is the Nathan Fillion one (NSFW). I'm working on some non-fandom writing projects, slowly but surely. I'm working PAX again in a couple weeks, at a booth I think will be a lot of fun. I made a local fannish mailing list and started hosting fannish dinner parties a little over a year ago--haven't had time to do one in a few months, but I love doing them and I've met a bunch of amazing people through that group.

Overall, life is going really well, and I'm grateful for that.

Phew.

Oct. 26th, 2009 03:23 pm
jedusor: (ventromedial prefrontal cortex)
680 verbal, 710 quantitative. Won't find out about the analytical writing section for a while yet, but I don't think I bombed it.

Could be better. Definitely could be worse. I'm well above the cutoffs for the schools that have cutoffs on their websites, so that's a relief.

Jesus. I might actually get into grad school.
jedusor: (ventromedial prefrontal cortex)
Can't take cell biology because it's at the same time as physics. Grr. But I think I came up with a schedule I'm happy with anyway:

Intro to Physics I
Intro to Chemistry I
Brain and Behavior
Human Anatomy
Senior Honors in Psychology

I've completed almost all of my degree requirements, so this is mostly preparation for grad school. I'm going to have to take an art class next spring to satisfy the last Learning Perspective requirement. My biology minor isn't done yet, but Brain and Behavior and Human Anatomy both contribute toward that as well as being good for grad school prep. And the honors will be conducting my thesis experiment and writing it up.

Brain and Behavior used to be called Neuroscience II, while my current Biology of the Brain class was Neuroscience I. Dr. Kennedy had to change the titles because--and I am not kidding here--people didn't know what "neuroscience" was.
jedusor: (pintsize duct-taped)
I just got a letter from the dean saying I've made First Honors on the dean's list because of my 3.93 GPA. This is different from the honors I've already got in that I had to apply for the psych honors program, and that was based on my personal statement and recommendation from a sponsor; this honors is pure grades.

It looks like Clark isn't taking my Penn Valley GPA into account at all. It's not even listed in my student records. I wonder whether I'll have to submit transcripts from PV and SCC as well as Clark when I apply to grad school. It would be nice if I didn't, especially if I can keep my Clark GPA up.

The letter also informed me that my hometown newspaper will be notified. I'm kind of curious as to what they think that is. The hometown they've got for me is Penngrove, which is tiny and doesn't even have a newspaper as far as I'm aware.
jedusor: (conjugate)
I just created a new Twitter account for GRE vocabulary words. Some of the words I'm planning to post will be holiday-appropriate, some are words I like that I already knew, and some will be words I didn't know before I started studying for the GRE, or words with alternate meanings. I'll probably just use definitions from the GRE book [livejournal.com profile] mammothali gave me, but I might add to some of the ones that are just synonyms. I'm going to try to post daily, although I make no promises.

This is mainly to get myself to spend a little time every day riffling through the flash cards I spent five hours making in the Chicago airport last month. I won't be following anyone else on Twitter, but you're welcome to follow me if you like. The username is didacticdross.

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