UPDATE: Gunman Killed, 3 Injured at Shooting in Strozier Library

katie avagliano:

I cannot believe we had to write this article. I’m proud of my magazine’s efforts to report the facts of the case while it is happening. Last night I stayed up until 4 am with one of our writers as he drafted the original post of this terrible event. The atmosphere at Florida State University is indescribable right now. Classes were cancelled. People are angry, or confused, or sad, or frightened. Students and faculty have gathered for vigils and prayer throughout the day.

You do not measure the strength of a university by it’s football record. We are not Unconquered because of the points on a scoreboard. Today, we are Unconquered because we do not allow ourselves to be shaken by events that have rattled the ground beneath our feet.

I am proud to be a Seminole.

Originally posted on The Last Word:

A sad, shocking, senseless act of violence.

Those are just some of the words used by university professors in emails to describe the shooting incident at Florida State’s Strozier library, a symbol of academic pursuit at FSU, where around 350-400 students were gathered as they worked on projects, studied for exams, and were busy catching up with their reading assignments.

florida-state-university-shooting-ap617093239755

But at around 12:30AM, multiple shots were heard at FSU’s Strozier Library. Eight minutes later, a “dangerous situation” was reported by the Florida State University Police Department.

Cassidy Nicholas, a sophomore who was in the first floor at Strozier near Starbucks as the shooting occurred, described the chaotic scene to The Last Word.

She initially heard 2 gunshots, describing them as “sounding like fireworks.”

“People began to frantically run, I got my stuff and my computer and held the door open for 20 people since I thought it was a…

View original 521 more words

The Care and Keeping of an Extrovert

Until I was in college, I could have sworn I was an introvert.

I had never taken a psychology course, but because I liked to spend five or six hours a day reading and writing, I just assumed I was introverted (I had the same problem in grammar school, where I assumed that because I liked “nerdy” things and bad-ass female characters I had to be a tomboy, when really dresses and makeup are so much fun to wear.) Never having learned the difference, I assumed extroverted people liked loud, CW-channel-type parties. I always wanted to stay home and have one or two friends over and play board games with my siblings.

For those who don’t know, the difference between being an introvert and an extrovert is that an introvert draws their energy from within, usually by spending hours or days alone to “recharge,” and extroverts get all their energy from other people. When I heard the definition my sophomore year of college I was like, “Oh, wait. I’m the second one. Really?”

You see, by then I had discovered the internet. And the internet is not kind to extroverts.

Don't know why wanting to be around people means that I don't love Harry Potter or Elizabeth Bennet but that's the vibe I've been getting recently.

Don’t know why wanting to be around people means that I can’t also love Harry Potter or Elizabeth Bennet but that’s the vibe I’ve been getting recently.

 

I’ve never been one who cares much about what people on the interwebs think about my personality type, but lately (read: since college) I’ve felt more needy than ever. One of my friends says this is because I grew up in a big family, but neither of my sisters or my father are extroverts in the slightest; me, my brother, and my mom are. Which leads me to believe that I was born this way.

Lately I’ve been feeling attacked by all the introvert stuff that pops up on the web:

tumblr_m1vpu0dOmY1qfd0k0o1_500

Or this or this or this.

The bigger problem is that just about all of the friends I’ve made in college are introverts. And I’m the worst kind of extrovert–I want people to stay with me all day and let me write and read and talk and watch Netflix but I don’t want to go to clubs or bars to meet new people. So the friends I’ve found are the ones I’ve got, and I try to be mindful of their introverted-ness.

But man, it sucks sometimes.

The Big Deal here is that, as the one in constant want of people, I’m the one always reaching out to friends. Let’s do something. Want to get together later? Lunch tomorrow? What are you up to this weekend? I’ll cook if you watch shows with me. Let’s go to the movies. I’m really feeling a book store right now. (I’m reading the texts I’ve sent in the last week. All of these conversations were initiated by me.)

NECESSARY ASIDE: The comment I don’t need right here is, “but you should learn how to be alone.” I hate being alone. It drives me to depression and anxiety. I am a wonderfully normal, stable, happy, garrulous person as long as someone else is breathing the oxygen around me. If introverts can have their solitude and insist on not being harassed for that, than I can have my company.

NECESSARY ASIDE #2: Needing people doesn’t mean I’m not a fully realized individual. I know myself. I know I want to be a writer, I want to teach, I want to do good in the world. I know my stance on political and social issues. I know all the captains of the star ship Enterprise. I am just as fully-formed as any introvert, with just as many thoughts and feelings and a heart that can be broken.extrovert-vs-introvert

Which is why I’m writing all of this. The world may be made for extroverts, but I feel like, increasingly, college is not. And what do I do when an introverted friend breaks plans? I immediately try to make new ones. I apologize as if it’s my fault for wanting to hang out. I feel bad for monopolizing people’s time when I get the impression they’d rather be on tumblr than listening to me stress about grad school applications.

What I’m saying is that being an extrovert is not easy. Not that being an introvert is bad, and not that I’m trying to make introverts into extroverts, but extroverts need people to unwind–all I want to do after a long day at school or working on applications is eat dinner and drink with my roommate and talk to her about my day, and up until the moment I do it I’m afraid she’ll bail or another friend will bail and I’m left alone again. Because we need people so much, I feel like I’m always the one putting more into relationships.

For example, I’ll do anything to head off an argument, because I’ve found that with my introverted friends, if they’re mad they’ll just disappear. And they’ll say it’s to get back in the right headspace, that they just need some time to recharge, but while they’re recharging I’m crying myself to sleep because I’m feeling abandoned and used.

So when all of these “respect your introvert” or “benefits of being an introvert” articles pop up on my Facebook, I start getting frustrated. Is it so difficult to ask to “respect your extrovert”?

And I don’t mean one person has to hang out with me 24/7 (although that would be nice) — extroverts don’t get to be college-aged without figuring out how to schedule away their free time, partitioning days between friends and family and significant others. It’s the little things introverts can do that would help extroverts immensely.

This makes extroverts sound like we have the emotional maturity of clingy four-year-olds, but a little of this wouldn't hurt anyone, I guess.

This makes extroverts sound like we have the emotional maturity of clingy four-year-olds, but a little of this wouldn’t hurt anyone, I guess.

Like, if you make definite plans (yes, I’ll be over tomorrow night to watch football) then don’t break them. Or, if you have to break them, send a text or call or send up a smoke signal. I don’t know if this is an extrovert thing or a me thing, but I always assume that if we have plans and you don’t show then you’re dead in a ditch somewhere.

Like, answering texts. Again, this is the “dead in a ditch” thing. Also a “I feel like I need you more than you need me and are we still friends” thing. Even an emoji will do.

Like, if you have to be alone, or you feel like your extrovert is being too demanding for god’s sake just tell us. Don’t disappear. Say, “I need a week alone.” Then I won’t text you and wonder if you hate me. I’ll text other people and wonder if they hate me.

(Okay, this has already gone on too long. Wrap it up, Katie.)

Of course, I am 100% stereotyping here. I don’t fit into all parts of extroversion, and if you’re an introvert you may or may not do the things I’m describing. (If you don’t know if you’re introverted or extroverted, or other parts of your personality, try taking this quiz.) But if you are an introvert, take just a little time and think about the little ways you can ease the blow for your extrovert, because we love you and can’t wait to hang out. We’re the dog to your cat. We don’t want to exhaust you, but it hurts to think that you find interacting with us exhausting. A little bit on understanding on both sides might make us all into more communicative, rational human beings.

And all of this was sparked by this lovely buzzfeed post that said in very cool memes what I tried to say in uncool words.

 

 

 

5 Places To Apply To Instead of Creative Writing MFA Programs

Buried neck-deep in MFA applications, I have distracted myself from the very real possibility (probability) of not getting in to any graduate program by having back-up plans up the wazoo. Here’s a list of the best places to consider if you feel compelled to take a gap year between undergraduate and graduate programs. Or if you’re applying to programs with a less than 8% acceptance rate, like mine.

1. Teach for America: With the  goal of making an exceptional education available for every student, Teach for America puts driven recent graduates in underprivileged school districts. Quoting the statistic that only 8% of impoverished children graduate college as opposed to the 80% graduation rate of their more privileged peers, Teach for America aims to stop the cycle of poverty through education.

The program requires a two year commitment and a rigorous application process that includes an online and phone interview in addition to a full-day interview session, but of all the options for a gap year(s) it looks like the most rewarding and the best paid, with teachers receiving a salary between $21,000 and $51,000 a year.

2. Disney Professional Internships: In the spring i’m joining the Disney team as part of the College Program, but there are other Disney career paths available for undergrads and recent graduates. Placing interns in every department, from marketing to gaming to horticulture and everything in between, there’s a job application for everyone.

Disney has a long-standing strategy of hiring from within, so a professional internship is a great way to network and perhaps find a job within one of the top companies in America.

3. The Peace Corps: The long-standing alternative to finding a career right out of college, the Peace Corps has been a leader of international development for over 50 years. Working oversees with communities to fight the big problems of today–climate change, disease, food, education–the Corps has over 200,000 current and former members.

The Peace Corps requires a 27 month commitment and places members in communities where they have to learn to operate independently in a foreign place very quickly. Therefore, it is definitely not for everyone. However, if you have a passion for volunteering, for living abroad, or for building relationships within communities, looking into the Peace Corps would not be a bad idea. (Note: this is the only thing on the list I have not personally applied for, so if you go through the Peace Corps application let me know how it turns out!)

4. Fulbright Scholarships: What you actually receive if you go through the Fulbright program is a grant to travel abroad and work on a study within a community. You can be an assistant English teacher abroad (though this usually requires fluency in the language of the country you’re going to be in) or someone who specializes in public health in Africa; you can be a part of the Fulbright-Clinton program, serving in a foreign embassy, or get a STEM grant to be placed in a leading science institution abroad. There’s grants for everyone, but the application process is notoriously tricky.

The best part about being a Fulbright Scholar is that it sounds great on any resume and it’s the experience of a lifetime, but once again you’re working basically independently and trying to immerse yourself in a foreign community. The application process is almost over so if you want to try for a Fulbright, apply sooner rather than later.

5. AmeriCorps: Technically, Teach for America is a section of AmeriCorps. Known as the domestic Peace Corps, AmeriCorps is a 10 month program that places college aged young adults in impoverished communities to work on projects. This could be anything from helping victims of natural disasters to being a tutor in after school programs. AmeriCorps participants live together in groups of 10 to 15 people in living situations that could vary between camping and living in a private home.

AmeriCorps is a good option for those without a passport or who want to stay in the US, but it has the least amount of compensation available for time served.

Having a couple of backup plans takes the pressure off the MFA applications, and a couple of years of experience might be just what a writer needs for their stories to be more real.

…says the girl on her way back to her MFA applications.

How to Procrastinate Writing a Thesis

Three weeks ago, I sat down to put my thesis together.

It should be noted that I’ve been writing my thesis for over a year. It consists of six short stories, all written during my time in Tallahassee. I’ve re-written every story in the collection at least twice. One or two were completely deleted only to be written again. So when I say that three weeks ago I sat down to put everything together, what I mean is that three weeks ago I opened twenty word documents of every story that I’ve written since getting to college and started reading for a common theme.

The six stories that I picked made it into my thesis because they were the strongest pieces and because they all fit around a common theme of families and relationships and alliances within the family unit. Or at least that’s how I pitched it to my committee.

But some of these stories were written three years ago, and needed work. Worse, two of them were written less than  a month ago and needed a ton of work. I read them out loud to my friends and got their feedback and ignored it and tried to write it my way and then went back to their advice. It was a long, tedious process of trying to fix my stories without losing the threads that had made up the originals. The biggest lesson I took out of it is that, when you revise enough, you no longer know if you’re helping your cause or hurting it. Which is why you need frequent breaks.

The smoke from the fireworks covered half the stadium in smoke at the Clemson game, which FSU won in overtime.

The smoke from the fireworks covered half the stadium in smoke at the Clemson game, which FSU won in overtime.

Break #1 came just after I got accepted to Disney, on the day of the Clemson game. It was supposed to be a great game, not least of all because our first-string QB had been suspended. So we had all these plans for parties and pre-gaming, and I wasn’t going to miss it for a thesis. It literally drove me to distraction, and to drink.

We won the game, so obviously it was totally worth it. That was also the day we figured out that the two-mile walk to Waffle House wasn’t so bad now that Florida’s finally cooling down.

We left football on for the rest of the weekend and I tried to revise a story that takes place during WWII. Football metaphors ended up in it, for some reason, but other than that I had one story down.

Luckily, because it’s my Senior year and there’s thesis and application craziness, I’m only taking five classes that only meet Tuesday through Thursday. Which means, yes, four-day weekends. All the more time to write. I got another story done, this one about smuggling diamonds into New York. Two down, four to go.

Mom and I got a private boat tour because it was "raining"

Mom and I got a private boat tour because it was “raining”

Mom came down. It rained, because the weather always knows when my mom has off. We still managed to do fun outdoor Tallahassee things, but it was raining and that colored the weekend. We spent a lot of time reading and eating. My mom gave my friends life advice. I pretended I was embarrassed by her tendency to try to fix everyone. It was a whole weekend of not looking at my thesis, which was great for my mental health, terrible for the state of my stories.

All of that Tuesday was spent with this one piece about a band trying to make it big in Asbury Park in a time after bands stopped making it big. I liked it while I was writing it, but now I think it’s juvenile and obvious. At least there’s a beginning, middle, and end. I put that away and went over two of my shorter pieces. Pizza delivery guy tries to stop being an asshole, eight pages, easy character arc. A son realizes he doesn’t actually know his father when the local paper publishes questionable pictures. Easy emotions, my first FSU story so I can’t even be embarrassed by it. It’s the bar by which I measure growth.

Which means there’s one story left. It was being workshopped on Wednesday at 7pm. My thesis was due Friday at noon.

The hardest part about revising is this pesky thing called writer’s block. Also stubbornness. A workshop is meant to offer constructive criticism, and it’s a mark of maturity to not immediately feel defensive. I am not a very defensive person, but I still like to give myself a cooling-off period after a critique, usually a week or ten days where I don’t look at the story at all. I had six hours before I had to go back to the drawing board.

Wakulla Springs. A perfect de-stressing spot.

Wakulla Springs. A perfect de-stressing spot.

I won’t describe the re-writes, deleted pages, moving chunks, and frustration of that Thursday. It ended with margaritas and comfort food, which is really all you need to know. On Friday, I made the boy I was seeing walk with me through the pouring rain to drop the thesis off in my teachers’ mailboxes. Then he bought me lunch.

Strangely, the worst part of writing a thesis is this terrible wait between turning it in and defending. Ten days, where I wake up every morning and think about how much better my stories could have been.

I was so stressed the evening I turned it in that my roommate asked me if I wanted to pet puppies. Obviously the only answer to that question is yes. We spent the weekend in a state of being half-braindead. I petted puppies and read outside. We watched many episodes of Bones and Gilmore Girls. We didn’t talk about school. I didn’t try to write anything.

I’m starting to feel better. I’m not all that anxious about defending my thesis, because I view the whole experience as an opportunity to learn what I need to change before I send these stories off to graduate programs.

Still, I thought Senior year was supposed to be a little easier than this. I don’t mind the work, but I’m in a constant state of waiting for other people to decide my future. First, waiting to hear back from Disney. Next it will be graduate schools and the other programs I’m applying for–a London position, Teach for America. Right now, I need to hear if my professors think I’ve worked hard enough on my thesis to graduate with honors.

Luckily, it’s a beautiful day out. I’m going to go read.

 

I’m Going To Disney World

Yesterday morning I woke up to an email saying that I’d been accepted to the Disney College Program. For the record, this is the best thing to wake up to. I called my dad, I called my sister, I made a Facebook post.

Not only is Disney a dream come true–I’ve wanted to be a cast member since I was old enough to know they were called cast members. I grew up in a theater and thought that Disney being a huge, well-orchestrated show was so cool. But it’s also the only thing I applied for in the Spring. I’m graduating early just to work there. If I hadn’t gotten in, I don’t know what I would do.

The girl part of the family at  Pooh's Corner in the Magic Kingdom.

The girl part of the family at Pooh’s Corner in the Magic Kingdom.

I know that I’ve gotten “Attractions,” which means I could be operating any one of the rides in Walt Disney World. (Which is really cool just by itself.) The only other job I would have wanted was working at the boutique, but it’s probably a good thing I didn’t get that. I never even put on lipstick before college.

So in the Spring, I’ll be working in Disney World. Hopefully on a really cool ride, like the Jungle Cruise (other people who worked at the Jungle Cruise include John Lassiter, the director of Pixar movies like Toy Story and A Bugs Life. Now, I think he’s the executive producer for all of Disney/Pixar. He’s not a huge idol or anything.) Or the Great Movie Ride. What can I say? I love talking to people.

Now, to clarify, getting into the College Program wasn’t a given. I didn’t get in last year when I applied. One of my best friends, who’s also a Disney junkie, didn’t get in this year when she applied for the third time. They receive a lot of applications and can take their pick. So it wasn’t a shoo-in. I probably should have applied for more places in the Spring, but I was hoping to go to Orlando because it’s Disney and also because it’s only four hours away from my friends who will still be here in Tallahassee. Hopefully they can come visit me, I can go visit them, and the post-college separation will be easier to take.

Christmas with the Mouse

Christmas with the Mouse

For the second time in four years, I’m getting the amazing opportunity to, as my mom put it on the phone last night, meet “all new people.” Which is really exciting, because I love meeting new people. But it’s also really scary, and sad. In high school, I thought I had the best friends I’d ever know in my life. In college, I’ve added to that group of people, witch more of the best humans on the planet. If the trend continues, I’ll meet even more funny, intelligent, amazing people. But I keep thinking there’s only so many times someone can get lucky.

Every time I remember that I got into Disney, I get incredibly happy. I can’t believe college is almost over and I have to leave my girls, but I get to receive MFA rejections in the Happiest Place on Earth. I get to work for a company I’ve always admired. I get to have a job that’s literally designed just to make other people have the time of their lives.

This hasn’t been the easiest week. The work of applying to ten graduate programs while writing a thesis is starting to get to me. Friendships that I thought were solid seem to be slipping through my fingers and I don’t know why. I’ve spent a lot of time crying and eating chocolate and taking my frustrations out on the gym. But whatever happens, I’m going to Disney World.

I’ve been blessed with having an amazing college career. It started with eight months in London and three months in Florence. I’ve had ten wonderful girls as roommates. I’ve had two years of Girl’s Nights and too many nights of Netflix. I’ve been published, and invited to participate in a graduate workshop, and told that “I’m not kidding myself” for thinking about getting into graduate school. And I get to top it all off with this new experience, with all new people.

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things because we are curious, and that curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." --Walt Disney

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things because we are curious, and that curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” –Walt Disney

Workshops and Womanizers

Let’s start this story with the funeral.

Last week my friend Ari texted me and said that a friend of hers died. He was a little older than us. She knew him for a summer. She needed someone to drive to Georgia with her for the funeral. I love road trips, figure any adventure is a story, and so I said yes.

Friday night I made a playlist and we drove through the most beautiful Georgia countryside you can imagine. I saw my first cotton field. There were horses and hills. We talked about life on other planets, and what existed before the Universe sprang into being 14 million years ago, and whether or not we had this conversation before in a different lifetime. And then we got to the funeral.

Rain at a funeral. Cliche, but true.

Rain at a funeral. Cliche, but true.

I won’t bum you out with the details. There were hundreds of people and one casket and a crying fiance. We cried in the car and the rain pounded on the roof. We went out for drinks, because it was the fiance’s birthday, because of course it was.

I wore a black dress and we drove to Steak and Shake and ate our feelings and I stole Ari’s pajamas and fell asleep in her bed under piles of blankets. For some reason, neither of us could get warm.

Saturday morning I was at Ari’s house. She made me breakfast and we chatted with her roommate and they complained about their thesis. I promised to be an extra set of eyes for Ari, and I’d swing by the film school on Sunday. But first we had Game Day.

If you didn’t go to a big Southern Football school, then I don’t know if you can imagine home football game atmosphere. The game was at 7:30 and there was no parking by noon. You could hear the game from half a mile away, which is where we were to “watch” the game.

It was raining or else we would have gone in person. We thought we could stream it, but apparently there’s a blackout of the game if you’re in the same city the game’s being played in. Which meant we could see the stadium but we couldn’t watch the game on ESPN. Whatever. We were playing Citadel and it was a boring win.

Pause for Feminist Stuff: (skip ahead if you’re not in a feminist mood)

We were at our friend Jules’s apartment. She was excited to have us over, so she could set us up with these boys down the hall. She met them at a bar. One was “nice.” The other kept hitting on her after she said she had a boyfriend.

They came over during the game, with Cards Against Humanity. And one was nice. Intense, maybe, but generally harmless and occasionally funny. The other was not harmless.

It’s strange to see harassment acted out in front of you. This particular douchebag zoomed in on our friend Erin (only after he hit on Jules so hard core she had to actually push him away from her, and remind him over and over that she was in a serious, committed, long-term relationship.) So this guy started pushing drinks on Erin, who had gone to the game and was in that post-game flush and drank one shot, two, and when he handed her a third and she said no, both he and his friend said, “go ahead, you know you want to, don’t be that guy.”

To which me and Kat immediately responded, “you don’t have to drink anything you don’t want to.”

Erin, trying out a new look to repel assholes.

Erin, trying out a new look to repel assholes.

Erin put the cup aside.

We played the game. Kat and I had stopped drinking hours before, but the others were “drunk,” which is of course no excuse for this guy putting his arm around Erin, even though she scooted away, and telling her she was cute and pretty and he could walk her home even when she had made it clear she wasn’t interested.

Anyway. They left (after giving out hugs and soliciting our numbers and generally being slimy) and Jules turned to us. “What do you think?”

“They came on strong,” I said, diplomatically.

“I didn’t like it,” Erin said, and now with the lights on and just us it was obvious she was drunk, too drunk to have been able to string the right words together to have told the asshole no any more firmly than she had.

“You should have kicked them out,” Kat said.

“I didn’t want to make a scene,” Jules said defensively. “You should have said something. I thought you guys wanted boyfriends.”

We left.

I won’t go into the long conversations we had about this. It may not sound too bad when you see it written down, but seeing my friend be made so uncomfortable, to see this guy call and text her, to see how persistently he was pushing drinks on her, made me sick.

End Feminist Rant

On Sunday, as promised, Erin and I went to see Ari’s short film and gave critiques on it that were apparently “helpful.” More on that after the film airs in a couple of months.

Oh, and I went to this Harry Potter thing and got sorted into Ravenclaw. Because of course.

Oh, and I went to this Harry Potter thing and got sorted into Ravenclaw. Because of course.

On Monday, I decided to apply for graduation. Because I have to apply before the 12th. I wanted to see if there was any information on my Disney College Program Application. They said they’d be making most decisions in late October, but I thought…hey. Why the hell not.

So I checked my dashboard and my application is gone. The 2013 application (which says “no longer in consideration” which gave a heartattack) is still there, but 2014? Gone. After an hour or so of freaking out, I found a phone number to call and was put on hold. The hold music? The Twilight Zone. Do do doo do. For someone who’s already feeling incredibly anxious, you can imagine how this made me feel.

I finally talk to a person and they say, “don’t worry, this happens all the time.”

All the time.

Awesome.

(turns out I had the wrong username. Oops. My application now says “in progress.” When I know, you’ll know.)

Also on Monday, we had people over to watch the Giants play the Lions. I’m a Giants fan, and I made food to bribe people to watch it with me. Because I made a big deal out of it, of course they lost. We drank beer and ate chicken dip and Girl Talked through the evening. Patricia met Liz. Everyone gave opinions on the Asshole. It was a good night.

And then I had to go get workshopped. Basically, someone who isn’t emotionally attached to the story (or, in this case, seven someones) reads it and then rips you apart. “We’re not saying it’s bad, it’s just not good.” Unfortunately, they’re almost always right. Points can be belabored. Things can be repeated. Overall, you get the idea that you’ve written the trees and forgotten about the forest. Back up and try again. Always a useful and humbling experience.

So now I have to stop talking about myself and start getting my characters in order. They’re more interesting, anyway.

Senior Stress

So a couple of big things happened this week. We’re going to start with Sunday.

Last Sunday, I filled out the application for the Disney College program. Basically, at any point during your college career, and for up to a semester after you graduate, you can go to Walt Disney World or Disneyland and work in the theme park at a store or an attraction or character or janitor and you get almost no money and you get to be at Disney and say you worked there. I’ve wanted to be a Disney Cast Member since the first time I went to Disney, when I was maybe four years old. Mostly because they’re called cast members. I’m a sucker for a good show.

I planned my college career around this. I’m graduating a semester early so I can go to Disney World and be in the Happiest Place on Earth when I get rejected from graduate schools. This was a smart idea, except I have to actually get in first.

(i can just imagine mom interjecting here with of course you’ll get in and I say I didn’t get in last year. It’s not a shoo-in kind of thing)

I applied on Sunday–fill out your resume, your general information, have you ever been arrested. By Sunday night, they sent me an email asking me to fill out an on-line questionnaire, which was fifty of the usual suspect questions. Are you cheerful? Are you usually a happy person? Would your friends say that you’re generally optimistic?

I’m a happy person, so I passed the questionnaire. On to the phone interview, which was scheduled for Wednesday. Which meant I had to talk to Patricia before Wednesday.

(for those just joining this story, I met Patricia during my first semester in London. She’s a year older, and when we got to London she had just come from the Disney College Program, where she was a skipper on the Jungle Cruise, which is basically my dream job. We became instant best friends. If everything in our lives go to plan, we will end up living like those old guys in the Muppets, heckling school children from the back row of the theater.)

On Tuesday, Patricia and I went out to lunch, and I bought her onion rings and picked her brain about the phone interview for about ten minutes before we devolved into Girl Talk. We had a whole summer of gossip to catch up on, after all. But she was helpful, and I went back to my dorm with a notes on a napkin with suggestions of how to make a good impression.

(to tell this story in chronological order, or just logical order? I feel like this is my constant struggle.)

On Wednesday I had my phone interview. It went well. I assumed, because everything else had gone so fast–progressing from stage one to stage three of the application process–that I’d get an answer relatively quickly. This is not the case.

ME: “When can I expect to hear about the job?”

NICE WOMAN WHO INTERVIEWED ME: “Oh, definitely by the end of October.”

ME:

NICE WOMAN: “That’s okay, right?”

ME: “Sure. Yes, of course.” Lies, all lies, I hung up and hoped that she’d call back immediately and offer me a job.

So now I get to wait! I guess this is practice for the Spring, when I’ll be checking my email constantly and biting my nails.

Other cool thing that happened: on Tuesday night, late, we were sitting around drinking wine and watching Dexter when my phone rang with a number I don’t know. No one calls anyone any more. I communicate with my friends through texts, with my teachers through email. The only calls I ever get are from my family. So I answer the phone. It’s 10:00 at night.

It’s my creative writing professor. I took his workshop a year ago and he’s my thesis director and he’s a very straight-forward person, which is the perfect person to be looking over your writing.

PROFESSOR: So Katie, I was wondering if you’d be interested in taking my graduate-level creative writing course instead of sitting through the undergrad course again.

ME:

PROFESSOR: It’s on Wednesdays at 6:45. You’ll be with some students in their second and third year of their MFAs, but I think you can handle it.

ME: Wow. Thank you. I would love to join your graduate class.

Internally, of course, I was screaming. I want to go to grad school (I hope I’ve made that clear by now?) and this will give me some idea as to whether or not I can hack it on that level. Plus, I took it as a huge compliment that my teacher thought I could do the work and took the trouble to single me out. (He also, very sweetly, called me on Thursday after the class to make sure I wasn’t too intimidated. I was, but dad always said to fake it til you make it so.)

Those were my big life moments from last week. Lesser ones include a really awesome guitar teacher, a Senior seminar in history that is going to give me nightmares (crimes against humanity. If anyone has a favorite genocide tell me about it, because I need to pick a topic ASAP) and a head start to tutoring.

We spent the holiday weekend playing mahjong, watching movies, and having sleepovers so that it feels like last year (Erin hasn’t left the apartment.) And The Last Word is getting our act together. If you want to read an article about the FSU football game against Oklahoma State (the one we tried to lose) then just click the link here. TLW is a huge part of my life here at school, so I’m excited to jump back into that tomorrow.

But now I have to write a paper about the Bataan Death March. I have a feeling I’m going to need chocolate for this.