Saturday, November 26, 2016

Blues and All That Jazz of Grad School Pursuits (More of Blues Though)

It's a cold and gloomy and rainy Saturday morning and I am sitting here in a coffee shop listening to some Christmas songs being played in the cafe's speakers. Gosh, Christmas is just a few weeks away. In other words, the year is almost over but I am still here. It's as if I am still in the same place when the year started. There's no major breakthrough whatsoever. A lot of the people I know are already living their dreams but here I am. At this point in my life, I have only dreamt of one thing - that is to get into graduate school, do my PhD, and be a full-pledged scientist. It's very frustrating when I feel like I have already done so much but all my efforts seemed futile.

I remember, at the start of 2016 (literally on New Year's Eve), I began emailing professors inquiring if they have an available PhD position. A word of caution, it's not a good idea to do what I did. Do NOT email professors on a holiday! For the next couple of months I've been looking at different graduate programs in different continents. I wanted to do a PhD study on the molecular aspect of Alzheimer's Disease so I've been looking at a lot of neuroscience programs, emailing neuroscience professors, and applying to several Neuroscience Masters or PhD studies but to no avail. Two things: either the professors do not have a vacant position or I get rejected into my application. It's depressing to receive news like that. More so if it happens not just once, not just twice, but several times. It's like a never-ending cycle - inquiring, emailing, applying, then being rejected. I have to admit, it's so depressing, I get too emotional, I cry. I cry alone and I prefer it that way than cry on someone else's shoulder. Of course, keeping it all to myself is also not a good idea, so sometimes, I talk to some of my friends about it. I'm very selective, so I just tell it to people whom I know understands what I'm going through, or those who have been on the road that I'm into right now. Doing those two things really helped.

While experiencing those emotional ups and downs, I was also reviewing for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE is one of the requirements when applying to graduate schools in the United States. So even if I was emotionally drained, I had to pick myself up Halfway through the year, I realized there's a 0.00000001 probability of me being accepted to a neuroscience program so I changed my direction. I looked at molecular medicine programs, molecular biology programs, even back to plant molecular biology. Researching the programs while emailing profs while applying to scholarships while reviewing for the GRE is not an easy task. Add to that, that I also have a job. After a day's work, instead of relaxing at night, I still need to do some graduate school hunting and studying for the GRE (and in some nights, unleashing the dramatic side of me a.k.a. cry). The weekends are also spent like that. You know the drill. Haha!

So, basically, that's what my whole 2016 is all about. There were some fun things that happened on the side though, travelling with my family in May and my solo trip to South Korea in August (which I still haven't blogged about yet). As of now, I'm still looking at graduate programs, still reviewing. I just wish that one day, I will receive some good news - that I get accepted somewhere, where I will grow as a scientist and also as a person.

Wish me luck guys! And, please pray for me.

Whatever you're going through right now, I wish you well on your pursuit of being. We can do this! We will rise above the challenge! We will never give up!

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