Minnesota

Had my interview today. It was a tour, the interview, some panels. I started off pretty headstrong, like I was an awesome applicant guaranteed to get in, but then the faculty who interviewed me — who used to serve on the admissions committee — saw that I didn’t have work experience. I’ve never had a job. Every category, GPA, standardized tests, volunteer work, etc is judged on a 1-10 scale and if you don’t have anything, then you get a zero. So even if all you did was babysat, you’d still get maybe a 3 or 4 for that category. It’s too late to do anything about that, so I’m getting over it. I figure that maybe work experience won’t be weighted as heavily so that I’ll still have a seat once the math is done. After all, they didn’t drag me all the way out here to tell me that they didn’t like my application.

They do rolling admission, so they interview a lot of applicants, and they accept a lot of those. At each stage, a bunch of people decline, so they end up accepting over 70% of the people they interview when you include the waitlist (they usually accept the entire waitlist). And I’ve applied rather early, so the chances are better.

That’s the tradeoff with rolling admission. You can apply early (September) and have some better statistics because all their seats are open, or you can apply later (February) but be more competitive because you’ve done stuff in that time and have a more complete application.

Either way, I find out in three weeks.

Half the people there were from California, and half were from in-state. The girl who sat next to me was cute. But then again, it’s hard to tell because everyone is dressed up, you have to see what she naturally chooses to wear before you can judge that. Her name was Ali (an atypical spelling for a female). She went to a religious school nearby.

People are marginally better-looking, but nobody has a fashion sense. It looks like 2003 fashion-wise.

Edit 27 Oct: I may have made this sound a bit nonchalant. It’s not. Every day you think, “what if I don’t get in?” And a lot of people around you will encourage you, they all say that they think you’ll get in. But no matter what happens to you, they’ll live their lives nonetheless. The failure is on your hands, and so it’s not at all nonchalant as you’re being haunted by the questions of what you’re doing with your life should you not get in. And yes, this is only one chance of many that will present themselves, but when you have nothing at all, you’re so nervous for anything — because having just one school secured is an entire world of security different from having two or three. It gives you a security about your life and lifts this massive burden.

Edit 28 Oct: Some days, you’ll just sit there staring into space, wondering what size package will come in the mail. You’ll know just from looking at the size of the envelope whether it’s the rest of your life knocking at the door, or just some other faceless institution rejecting your application number through its arbitrary acceptance math. You’ll know that on the same day, dozens of other people are getting those same envelopes and until that day, people across the country will be dreading that future as it creeps its petty pace from day to day.

We were in the placenta together.

Today I’m writing about Marie. We weren’t really friends in high school, but we did know each other and get along relatively well. High school had cliques, but they weren’t exclusive. She was more into the whole popular scene (student leadership, varsity sports) and I was more in to the nerdy scene.

A few days ago, I was studying for a quiz shortly before it was being held, and I remembered Marie. Sophomore year of high school, we sat together during Oceanography. Before a particular quiz, she was studying for it. She was going over her notes out loud, and she made up mnemonics for it on the spot and we both took it and got perfect on that quiz.

Everybody thought she was extremely pretty, but I thought she was average. Well, not average, I guess, but not top 10 percent. Or something not as shallow. Eh.

One time she came up to me and she was like, “Hey, Apathyfactory. We’re twins. We were in the placenta together.” It was really weird.

She was close friends with my roommate and another guy who came to this school. They all wanted to come here, but in the end, she was rejected. She contested, but still no dice, which sucks because she really wanted to come here. She was just as smart (well, more or less. Maybe a little less. She has ambition and dedication) and hardworking as I was. Her SATs were a bit low, but she had other redeeming qualities. My roommate has been chasing her since middle school.

Trashgirl, part II

Today they went over the syllabus in class. Turns out that Audrey the TA’s subjective opinion is worth 20% of your grade. Trashgirl immediately started kissing ass.

Everyone just kind of quieted down to eavesdrop better. I think everyone kind of has the same opinion of her: she’s an okay person to talk to, but she does really fucked up stuff sometimes and she’s really self-interested. Typical pre-med student fare, doesn’t really match the atmosphere of our sorta relaxed major. She’s useful though. It’s nice to get gossip about other people, because a fundamental part of the pre-med culture is knowing your competition, and she’s useful for that. You just have to be academically secure enough to tango with her one-on-one. Academic gossip (specifics about GPAs, class grades, midterm grades, etc require a sort of trust. It’s a major faux pas to outright ask some about their grades in a detailed manner. It’s acceptable to ask, “how did you do on the test?” but you’ll be met with “I did ok / not well / average, etc.” In order to get detailed information, like “I got a 108 on the midterm and an A- in the class” you have to be willing to offer your own information first.) So you have to be academically secure and willing to go there, in order to collect information about others. Academic information symmetry is a universal right.

I’ve actually known her for a long time. I met her in sophomore year, first semester, in organic chemistry lab. She sat across from me. I didn’t hate her or anything, but she didn’t act like complete trash then. I never really talked to her even though she was in a bunch of my classes. We don’t really have too much in common, but I somehow still think that she’s a really cool person. Probably because she pisses off her parents as much as I piss off mine.

Audrey Hepburn

I have a TA who is somewhat Audrey Hepburn-esque (in superficial appearance, maybe a little goofier from studying science for a long time) for a lab class. On the first day she chewed me out for advocating a less robust statistical analysis. Maybe I should be flattered, because it was like shanking the strongest guy there in order to prove your dominance. Anyway, trashgirl (does coke and other drugs, extremely trashy, lip piercing. But she IS an honors student and gets good grades) is sitting there during lab downtime and ranting about how poorly funded the lab is and how horrible the entire experience is, while Audrey is standing a meter behind her just milling around and taking it. Audrey knows better than anyone how poorly funded the lab is, but she’s really dedicated about it.

The lab is meant for ten people, but it has to accommodate thirty, and there’s just not enough equipment for it, so it takes forever to get everyone through simple steps. The undergraduates complain about it, but I’m actually thankful, which is weird because I’m usually a negative person.

I’m quite grateful. Because Audrey the PhD student makes less money teaching than she does working in a lab. She gets there way in the morning and leaves late at night. The class goes from 1 to 5pm, twice a week. Sometimes we’re there past 5pm, but she always has to stay even longer than that, cleaning up the lab that a bunch of undergraduates have just torn through. She has to be constantly vigilant over those four hours to make sure the undergraduates don’t do anything incredibly stupid with the expensive equipment. I was the last person out of lab one day, and I was a little annoyed by it, but then as I was leaving, I turn around to say bye, and the image of her hunched over having to clean up all the crap that the class did that day really made me realize that for all that crap I have to go through, she has to go through more.

Miss Girldouche, part 2

So, I didn’t think about miss girldouche too much after that. Yeah, she’s a douche. No, it’s not a big part of my life.

Anyway, we’re doing interviews for club leadership, and she sits down in the hot seat. She looked completely different so I wouldn’t even have recognized her until she told me that we were in lab together. My fellow interviewers didn’t like her either.

Edit: Her spine exploded and she withdrew from school.

Miss Girldouche

I had a lab, and I worked with these two Asian girls. One of them was pretty laid back, but the other one was a giant douche. They’re friends. Girls aren’t usually douches, they’re usually bitches. Guys are usually douches. But this chick was seriously a giant d-bag in a very masculine fashion.

She tried to lead our group even though she clearly didn’t know how to do anything, and wasn’t apologetic at all when it became obvious when she was wrong. And she kept on dragging our experiment out when she didn’t get the results that she wanted to see. I mean, science is fucking science and if I run the experiment ten times and everything is right and get the same fucking result, that’s the fucking result. I seriously wanted to punch her in the face.

The main problem is that there are a bunch of lowerclassmen in that class and they’re all completely retarded.