Monday, July 31, 2006

a statement that is more than just a statement

Why is it call a statement of purpose when:

1. You need to write quite a few paragraphs

2. You need to write about more than just your purpose but also your experience, strength, weaknesses, blah blah blah.

Anyway, I'm thankful that I'm on version 5.4 of my SOP. I don't think I will polish it or change it anymore, unless it is absolutely necessary. I have accepted the fact that there is no PERFECT SOP. I think I have presented a holistic picture of myself as a PhD candidate as best as I can in this version.

However, I will still need to adapt it for the various schools' requirements.

Monday, July 24, 2006

the writing of my research paper

After more than a month, I have finally completed the main draft of the case study that I'm co-authoring with a Prof. For certain "bureaucratic" reasons and to ensure that we are politically-correct, we are sending it for comments before submitting it for review.

The whole process - which started in end March - is quite enriching. My main objective of co-authoring this paper is to get in touch with writing an academic paper. The last time I wrote an academic paper was about 5 years ago. Also, I hope to get one a good recommendation and maybe, just maybe, a publication to beef up my CV. At this point, I have gained the desired experience in writing. Not sure if the good recommendation and publication will come thru though.

After 4 months of ding-donging with the Prof and interviewees, reading up other papers and articles, drafting and redrafting, thinking and rethinking, staying up till 2 am, I can say:
1) Writing is a slow and long process. There are many things that go behind the writing. The thinking, the reading, the analyzing.

2) Writing sometimes frustrate you when you don't know what to write. How can I better articulate my thoughts and intentions? How can I cut down some words? What am I actually trying to say?

Do I enjoy the writing process? Does writing come second nature to me? Am I willing take up writing as a career? Will I be able to hit the publication quota? I don't know... really, I don't know.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

in my mailbox today

Received an application package in the mail from one school that I am sure I will be applying to. In fact, I have started to work on the application - requested for transcript, filled up the personal data forms, worked on one of the essays. The package consists of a nice classy folder with lots of details and the application materials and forms. Although most, if not all, of the info in the package is available at the school's website, it is still a nice surprise. Nice because the school is among my top choices. A surprise because I did not request for it. I wonder how the school knows of my interest... could it be from one of my emails to them (but I don't remember telling them my address)? Or maybe because I logged into their system previously (although I couldn't really recall doing so). And why did it send me the package? Because it WANTS me? That's would be nice, wouldn't it? Very nice, indeed.

I was in high spirit as I flipped through the package. Until I read that the school typically receives more than 1000 applications, and accepts between 20 to 25 students. That's between 2 to 2.5% acceptance rate.

2 thoughts came to my mind:
1. At US$75 application fee per application, the school collects a cool US$75,000 (at least) from the applicants per year. Not as lucractive as the MBA program, I'm sure, but still a nice business model.

2. I'm in for a challenge. A tough challenge.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

9 months

9 months from now I should be hearing the decisions from the schools. 9 months. It is like being pregnant and you choose not to know the gender of the baby. Waiting for the D-day to see what comes.

In the meantime, there are lots to do and experience. Preparing the baby room and getting the baby stuff (= doing up the apps). Going through some morning sickness (= anxiety). Craving for those difficult-to-get food (= desiring for the best of the best schools).

But like what they say, try to enjoy the journey