Inspiration Engine 11 – PhD, Stories and Maps

This is a weekly post I do to highlight blogs or bloggers who have inspired me in some way during this week – another car on my imagination train!

As you may or may not know, to make the most of my interest in relationships,to stimulate the research corners of my brain and to give legitimacy to my findings, I have been trying to get into a PhD program for the past two years. I have been turned down from 18 programs in total, both in social work and in social psychology, and I’m bummed.

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Job (In)stability

I’ve actually been thinking of writing about this lately, and then today’s Daily Prompt asked: How do you feel about your job? Do you spring out of bed, looking forward to work? Or, is your job a soul-destroying monotony of pure drudgery, or somewhere in between?

I am a social worker with a Catholic agency in north St. Louis, and I work with homeless addicted and mentally ill people.  My patience and enjoyment of the position has fluctuated over the years, and maybe that’s normal.  When I first started in this position, I was happy about the work and wanted to try new things, explore different ways of helping the clients. Then I started to see the same people again and again, the revolving door, and anytime I tried something new, I was met with resistance. Later, I started graduate school, and I spent a lot of time focusing on research and macro-level intervention, something I really wanted to get into.  I had hoped to find a job for after graduation (nope) or get into the next PhD cohort (not happenin’).

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What is “mojo,” and why do I want it back?

I’ve been silent for the past several weeks, not trying to write or respond to prompts like I usually have. On Sunday night, I got my last three PhD applications in. I did eight in all, and am still considering applying to Oxford or the London School of Economics.

I’ve been working on this for several months, although I wish I had gone longer. Crash studying for the GREs and figuring out how to describe my research interests, seeking out scholars, trying to figure out what I want to do. Making sure all the scores and transcripts and references are sent in the particular format the school requires. And writing. Writing. Writing. Making my personal statement sing, or at least warble, enough that they will want to hear more. Then suddenly, with a “send” to UC-Santa Cruz…

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Personal history statement – with wine!

I’m in the midst of doing my PhD applications right now, writing my essays, hence the radio silence and lack of progress on my NaNoWriMo project. I have four apps due on Sunday and three of them are good ones in California, (where the future would be good for me and Cohiba). So I really wanna do well on them.

One of the schools to which I’m applying is Berkley, and part of their application includes a personal history statement, and it’s clear they’re looking for things about diversity. But I’m pretty WASPy.  I grew up in West County (and if you know St. Louis, that’ll mean something to you.)  How can I talk about diversity?

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Lucky ’13

Lucky ’13, I called this year, choosing not to look at the “bad luck” connotations associated with the number 13.

I didn’t get into any PhD programs, I’m still doing the drug and alcohol thing for work.  I’m so frustrated about that, but getting to practice having faith and trying again.  I wanna be smart about my decisions. There are going to be several things that make me more attractive to programs this go ’round.

Yet there are other promising things as well.

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Vein of golden ore

Today’s daily prompt : When you started your blog, did you set any goals? Have you achieved them? Have they changed at all?

When I started my first blog, Mixing Chicory, a few months ago I did it as a lifeline to get through the burnout of my current job. I had been getting rejected from one PhD program after another, and I thought that writing this blog may satisfy my longing to conduct research. It has intentionally kept me connected with my field and kept me questioning relationships and theories. The positive vein of golden ore that I did not expect to find is that, by keeping up Mixing Chicory, I’ve been feeling as though I’m still working towards my ultimate professional calling, though I’m not beginning PhD just yet.

This blog, I Didn’t Just Wake Up This Morning With a Craving, is meant to be a more fun one, one through which I can answer daily prompts and with which I can be more creative, like a word canvass.  Thanks for reading!