Monday, January 28, 2008


For the sake of doing what I set out to do, I'm obliged to report some potentially bad news early in the game. Northwestern is the only school to which I applied where a telephone interview is granted to the finalists. Thanks to Livejournal and its wonderfully addictive who_got_in community, I know that some requests for interviews have gone out today. Generally believing the Internet (as I already put it in a comment on that community) to be a thriving black petri dish of speculation and rumor, I decided to call up Northwestern's English Department to get something approximating the truth. The very helpful graduate coordinator informed me that some requests had indeed gone out today, but seemed to think that not all of them had. And although this jibes well with the fact that only one person watching that board seems to have gotten a request, and that a scatter shot pattern of information manifested itself last year, with some hearing three or four days later than others, this announcement is forcing me to deal a little earlier than I wanted with the fact that plenty of clever people with test scores as good as mine or better don't get into graduate school. Like most Americans, and, if psychologists are to believed, most of the world, I tend to think that I'm better off than I really am, that the pieces of life will eventually arrange themselves into a coherent pattern if only I have the ability to discern it--that, in the final analysis, everything will be just hunkydorey. Lately I've had a lot of cause to question this, and as an aspiring critic and novelist find myself attracted to plots motivated by coincidence that looks like artifice only in the eyes of an observer. Which leads me to my back up plan, should it come to pass that I'm deemed unworthy of any PhD program in English: I'm going to write that novel.

Posted by Shannon Chamberlain @ 5:48 PM