Monday, January 25, 2010


Such a short list, but it took me more than 3 months to accomplish. This is my to-do list for applying for a PhD in Communication at the University of Maryland. I intended for it to be done by the deadline, Dec 1, but you remember that post about the organized me being trapped? Yeah, so I got it done by the absolute cut-off, Feb 1.

Today I made that top check mark. I read my writing sample for the billionth time, did more edits, hit save for the last time and quickly uploaded it to UMD's online application site before I could change my mind.

If I get accepted, I'll post the "whole story" of how this came to be, but for now, I'm just sighing in relief that this part is done and hoping I will have a rest of the story to tell.

My hope is ultimately in this being part of God's plan for my life, but I've placed alot of weight on the writing sample. My GRE scores were good, but not even close to the average UMD said their applicants for last year had. I think my recommendation letters were good and will speak well to my academic capabilities. Even my statement of purpose was a good piece that should show them my personality and my resume is a reflection of what I've done so far. But all things considered, I think my writing sample will best show the committee my potential as a scholar, which is why I spent so much time working on it.

I actually started this paper more than 10 years ago! It was a paper on the Dixie Chicks that I submitted for a rhetoric class in grad school. My professor then loved it and gave it an A-, only because I turned it in late (go figure). Since the program I'm applying for is Rhetoric and Political Culture, I thought a paper on rhetoric would be appropriate. But all my references were outdated and the paper was written before the Dixie Chicks' "anti-war" statement, so I had to strip it down to the core and re-research and rewrite it to consider the whole scope of the Dixie Chicks' career. Then I had the good fortune of having someone with a PhD in English and someone else who is ABD (all but dissertation) in communication annihilate it, so I re-rewrote it. (One of my favorite professors in college, Laura Holland, always told us "The Holy Spirit is in the rewrite!" Hallelujah to that.)

That I actually enjoyed the process confirmed for me that I do want to go back to school. Now just to have patience to find out if I am accepted and grace to deal with a "no." If "yes," then, many, many, many more steps to go. Thanks a rhetorical ton to those of you who have helped me and cheered me on so far!

PS: My sister tattle-told on you. Those of you who have been commenting over on Facebook. Here I've been thinking only 2 or 3 people are reading my blog, and she said several people are leaving comments on Facebook, despite my clear and well-written requests that you come over to my actual blog to comment since I'm off Facebook until Feb 1. (sigh) I still love you. Just don't do it again, ok? :-)


  1. I'm so sorry I didn't get my edits to you in time. :( But it sounds like you had some awesome feedback. :)

  2. I'm out here in the blogosphere, following your every post... (ok, maybe it's not following every move, it's more like whenever I get online and stalk my old friends). I think it is totally fabulous that you're aiming high- and I think you'll go far no matter what doors open. How exciting! You realize though, the irony of it is that you'll get the foster parenting call the same night that your first big paper is due... :)


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