Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Essay Assay

Time for an update. Here's the score:

"Why do you want to be a scientist?"
This one is going ok. I really wrote the whole thing tonight based on stuff from my Statements of Purpose for grad school admissions. This of course took way too long, just like everything does, but I think the end product has been adequate. Unfortunately, from looking at SH's score sheets from last year, it's not even clear where this essay is rated. Maybe it's "holistic" deal where this essay acts as a frontispiece [Is that a proper use of that word? Ed.] for your other essays. So the key with this essay is probably to put your reviewers in a good mood and make them think you're a worthwhile human being. I feel like what I have written tonight may be able to do this, but then again maybe not. As DR said last night, it's all a crap shoot anyway. Also, this one still has two lines on the second page. Should be cuttable.

"What research have you done before?"
This one is written but needs cleanup. Again, it's all just cut-and-pasted out of my grad admissions SoPs, so most of it has already been vetted by multiple people. I of course had to change the present tenses to past for the stuff I did in NH's lab, and I had to add in the new stuff I've been doing in LT's lab. LB looked at it last night but I haven't looked at her comments yet. I think the main task for this one will be to cut a bit and put some sort of frame around it, some sort of intro-ish and conclusion-ish words so that the reader isn't jumping right in at the start and jumping right out at the end. Then again, maybe the jaded reviewer would rather I just listed a bunch of bullet points.

"So what's are your big research plans, you smarty-pants graduate student?"
This needs an introductory sentence so the fall into the essay isn't as steep and the intro needs general flow-improvement. I think most of the body is ok. Needs a concluding sentence or two. Overall, could use some cutting. But I'm afraid if I cut too much more I'll sound vague to the point of seeming like I don't know what I'm talking about.

"While you're at it, show us you have a social conscience, too."
Haven't written a single substantive thing for this one yet. That means ~1000 words to go for a one-page essay under my spacing, margin, and font size scheme. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuckity fuckity fuckity fuckity fuck fuck fuck. Don't know what to write for this one. Clock is ticking. Must get to work.

In other news, I actually kind of miss the 24-hour A-level reading room at U of C. There was something The library here at Parnassus closes at midnight on weeknights, and my smarty-pants grad student status doesn't seem to confer upon me any after-hours privileges. I guess there's just no demand for it. If you're a med student, you should be in bed at that hour so you can get up the next morning at a normal hour like a doctor would. If you're a grad student, you should only be working this late if you are in lab. And since all the journal articles are online, it just doesn't make sense to have a 24-hour bricks-and-mortar library at an all-biomedical-sciences campus like this one.

Still, I could use a place to type after hours on nights like tonight (hopefully there won't be too many more), and the nice thing about the A-level was that there were always other freaks there at every ungodly hour, and even though they were strangers you somehow felt less lonely being near them because you knew that you weren't the only person still awake and working. And there was a bit of schadenfreude when you left and saw that they were still there while you were about to go to bed because your stupid complexity theory problem set or your stupid western civ paper was finally done. Actually, I don't know if I ever felt that way upon leaving the A-level. I'm just making this shit up. Well, some of it.

There aren't any late-night coffeehouses that I know of in this neighborhood either. I guess there weren't any near U of C either. I guess the attitude of local proprietors is that the only thing you should be buying at this hour is liquor. But there is that donut shop at 9th and Judah. Donut World, I believe it's called. That's open nonstop. I could use a chocolate old fashioned or two. That's where I'll go on my way home.


At 8:25 AM, Blogger metalife said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8:26 AM, Blogger metalife said...

Tart to tart is open at least until 1:30 or so! Free wireless if you buy something. I actually thought the dude said, "You can't sit here unless you're with someone." So I said, "Um, okay. Can I sit over there?" But he meant "buy something." Heh.

At 2:02 PM, Blogger epugachev said...

Ah, good to know. It's never been clear to me when they close, as they don't seem to have hours written down in any visible location.

At 11:56 AM, Blogger metalife said...

I just submitted! WOOOO HOOOOO! No sleep at all last night! Not a wink! WOOOO HOOOOO!

At 12:39 PM, Blogger epugachev said...

At 4:30 a.m., I decided to sleep. Didn't get up again till noon. Looks like it'll be down to the wire for me.

By the way, the Donnie Darko soundtrack is excellent essay-writing music, especially late at night.

At 9:32 PM, Blogger metalife said...

send me the donnie darko soundtrack already? ftp?


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