Got 2/3 of my recommendation letters lined up, and they’re not looking nearly so bad as I’d been expecting. I’d been worried because I’ve been out of academia for six years, and most of my undergrad professors wouldn’t recognize me now, much less remember me enough to write letters of recommendation.
I’m scheduled to take the GRE on November 15th, which is giving me fits because OMG I CANNOT MATH, and my high school self would die of shame to see me now, given as I went to a math-and-science boarding school. The verbal section I do fine on, until the critical reading questions, where it devolves into me yelling at the book and going “Your MOM is irrelevant to critical consideration!”
Although, interestingly, the analytical writing section is turning out to be right up my alley. (Interesting because I get the impression that most other people haaaaate that part.) But it’s like, here’s a topic! You have half an hour to write something persuasive about it! And I’m like, “On it.” It is, admittedly, testing me over the areas I’m weakest in (structuring an argument in a logical way and getting it done in a timely fashion) but I’ve been making great strides in both areas this past year, and it’s paying off. (Although — ohhh — I learned how to fight on the internet, and I’m having trouble reining myself in from grandstanding and ad hominem arguments.)
Also paying off is all the weird and random reading I do, because it’s left me with a huge range of people to quote and factoids to cite. Freakonomics on nature vs. nurture adoption studies? Robert Cialdini on “flip-flopping” as a dirty word in politics? Jared Diamond on man-made natural disasters? Dude, I can find something to say about anything.
And it is kind of depressing that my skillset is valued in-and-only-in academia, where there is no money to be had and nobody in the real world respects you. But whatever, it’ll be fun!