Well, I didn't get into a program for next year. I applied to 4 schools, but when it came down to it, only 2 were viable. The other 3 PI's I discovered late in the game, over the holiday break, and applied in the hope that they would be taking students. None of the 3 were, although they did give me some positive feedback. Which I will have to print out and refer to over the next few days while I nurse my wounds. Viable school #1 rejected me straight out a few weeks ago. It wasn't a surprise because I wasn't a very good fit for the program, and not even sure I really wanted to go there anymore. Viable school #2 stung though. I got the letter yesterday and I'd really been hoping to get in. The letter had language like "final review" (ok, at least I made it to the last cut), "unusually low funding," and "unable to admit all worthy candidates."
I think my GRE scores might have done it. My math scores were low. Still, it's very frustrating. Professionally, I did everything right. High GPA. Grants. Scholarships. Publications. Presentations. International experience. Research-based thesis. Well, sunofabich. It doesn't matter what you have going for you if you have one thing going against you.
So, we'll stay somewhat where we are. We're lucky, *very lucky*, because Booker has a nice stable job. In fact, starting school next year would have meant living apart again, in different states, for at least a semester because of his work commitments. It hasn't even been a year since his deployment ended, and that was a 15-month stint. We were both concerned about another separation, so soon. This way, we'll have a whole year of everything being NORMAL. No deployment/ Army/ Wedding planning/ Moving (well, we'll have to sell this house [eek] and move, but just the one move. Then we are renting.)No crazy field work. No grad school stress and schedules. Just some time to work and hang out and pay off some of these bills. In the end, we'll probably be glad it went down like this. I'll get those GRE scores up, defend and try to publish from my Masters, run the side project I wanted to do a year ago, and try again for fall 2010.
But rejection does suck, and I'm trying not to give in to those thoughts like: "Well, maybe you won't get in next year either and will have to give up," or "This pushes back your timeline and soon you will be too old to have a baby!" That one is particularly silly because I'm only 30. It's something to think about, but one more years' delay won't make it impossible. (Because I was hoping to work abroad in tropical ecosystems, this event was still 2-3 years off, with the idea that we'd crank a kid out as soon as I finish my research.)
Oh wells. Interwebs, I'd be happy to hear your tales of rejection, in solidarity.