Bring It On

7:56 AM Edit This 17 Comments »
I've described in the past how my head gets a-head (ha!) of itself on occasion and the crazies kick in and all of a sudden, my life is flashing before my eyes and I have accomplished nothing and been no one in this life. It happens to the best of us, so don't pretend it doesn't happen to you. And if it doesn't, well then, pretend for my sake.

Yesterday, I was looking online again at the graduate program I want to get into. I was perusing the class schedule, the financial aid guidelines, reading the bios of the professors, etc. and the headspin started in. How am I going to pay for this? What if I can't do it full time and work, too? What am I thinking? Trying to do this in my late 30s? What am I trying to accomplish here? Then I slam the laptop shut and squeeze my eyes tight and make it stop. Okay then, I just won't think about it. No more graduate school.

See how fast that happens? So I email Cowgirl and tell her I'm sighing over graduate school and pissed that it's never going to happen. And she emails back, "Well, have you applied?" And I said, "No." And she said, "Well then, you can't say it's never going to happen." I email back, "Fuck you." And she emails me back a smiley face. It's a potshot which one of us has headspin on any given day and when the other one calls us on it, "Fuck you." Is at once a statement of defeat and "I guess you got me on that one."

So, what's the next thing? That's all I can focus on is the next thing. I won't HAVE the financial aid problem unless I actually GET IN. Right? See how that works? I've had my application done for almost a year. I've been holding back because I have to take the GRE again. AGAIN. Stupid standardized test. So I downloaded a practice test and started in. I'm a whiz at the grammar and sentence structure, the reading and the writing. There's no problem there. Obviously. I'm an excellent writer. I know I have that going for me. But the math? Um. I was a straight A student through college calculus, but I can't FOR THE LIFE OF ME remember how to do algebra. I struggled with this question for hours yesterday. Finally calling in the expert (my father). If you can get this and leave the answer in the comments, I'll send you a prize in the mail. REAL MAIL.

Joan can paint a house in 4 hours. Lucas can paint the same house in 6 hours. How long will it take them to paint the house together?

Yeah. That. I had pictures and diagrams and all kinds of nonsense on the page. And when my dad told me how to do it, I just about hung up on him because it was so obvious. So - have at it, my friends. HAVE AT IT. I'll be studying math all day.


justme said...

i was in the EXACT same position last year at this time. do you know the deadline to turn in the application for school? i had to take the GRE in a matter of weeks and my head was going to explode due to the math. as far as financial aid. i have to say, for me, this was the right time to get in. there are so few people applying for school right now, that many schools don't have ENOUGH students to give their scholarship money to...or their research assistant jobs, or the teaching assistant jobs. this was the case in my school. i am currently being paid to go to school. it can't hurt to check it out!

The Pollinatrix said...

It took me 13 years to finish my bachelor's degree and then I didn't start graduate school until I was 34.

What kind of degree program are you wanting to do? I did mine in English, and managed to get my whole school paid for and even made enough to live on (sort of) by doing a teaching assistantship.

And it was a lot of fun. And I now make my living as a college instructor.

Anonymous said...

Well, if lucas sits around drinking beer the whole time (as guys usually do when there's work to be done), Joan will have the house painted in 4 hours.

Sounds about right to me.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I think the real answer is 2.4 hours

x/4 + x/6 = 1

so x = 2.4

melissalion said...

First off, I'm in that I'm a huge failure moment.

Secondly, I had a nightmare last night about grad school. Dreamed I hadn't finished and I would never finish. Which is weird because I have finished. But whatever.

Grad school ain't no thang, sweetie. Believe me. It's just one pixel in the in the bigger picture.

BrianAlt said...

2.4 hours is the right answer.

Think of it this way:
It would take Joan 2 hours to paint half the house. In that same 2 hours Lucas will only be done with 1/3 of the house (2 hours / 6 hours). That leaves 1/6 of the house to be painted. Draw a picture of the house with each person starting on opposite sides if that helps.

So, Joan will paint 2.4/4 of the house, which is 60% and Lucas will paint 2.4/6 of the house, which is 40%.

So the equation:

2.4/4 + 2.4/6 = 1 is exactly right.

Therefore, Jeff is correct.

Summer said...

Algebra. Yuck.

SoMi's Nilsa said...

I was thinking the same thing as Brian and Jeff...

Sounds like you need to study math all day WITH YOUR DAD!!!!

Jade Park said...

better to have the option to turn them down--so go for it! apply! if they don't give you financial aid, THEN you can make the decision...but don't say no before you try. :)

And I went to my MFA program in my mid 30s. There are lots of MFA programs that have great diversity in their student body--and others don't...but why should that stop you? :)

I put a post up on my blog awhile back, weighing the pros and cons of the mfa (in case you find it helpful):

Good luck!

(and thanks for stopping by my blog).

Holly said...

I don't know if this is going to be a good story to tell you or not... but take it as you see fit.

First. It took me 6 years to get thru grad school.

Second. And not at all surprising if you know me (too bad you weren't in class when I threw a math book out the window at AHS). I had to retake Algebra in graduate school. And I was not alone. In fact, the class was FULL of people just like me. And it made a shitload more sense when my instructor put it into context of crap I see on a regular basis.

Third. I still don't remember crap about it to this day. Or my stats class for that matter.

Despite all these issues, I still have my degree, I hold my head high and can demand a higher salary.

You will do just fine. Trust me.

Jules said...

Um, I got a totally different answer than everyone else so I'm just going to keep it to myself.


Kate said...

Jeff and Brian are correct. And the formula that Jeff used is the one my dad told me over the phone. Jeff said Brain gave the best explanation though, so he wins the prize. Email me, Brian!

And don't get me wrong, I don't despise math, I'm just not used to doing it anymore. In fact, yesterday afternoon when I was struggling I was all like, "Yeah! I'm USING MY BRAIN!"

Kate said...

Oh, and Weeone? I'm thinking throwing your math book through the window is akin to when I threw my recovery book against a wall at the meeting before I actually got sober. Everyone laughed and I couldn't figure out why...

G said...


'bout the only I remember from algebra is the FOIL method of multiplying two sets together.

In any event, it doesn't really matter how old you are to start graduate school, so long as you actually do it.

BrianAlt said...

I win a prize?

Wow! I wasn't even going for a prize!

BrianAlt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BrianAlt said...

Man, these comments keep double posting!