Graduate School Acceptance Party

February 16, 2008


While we partied at the barely extended family small house in the medium-sized city, my daughter discovered an envelope from the university in the day’s mail. The university had notified her of her acceptance by email; she expected a form to fill out and mail back. Instead of a single sheet, however; she found a fairly thick packet.

While Random Granddaughter took her nap, we sat around the dining table to gloat.

My daughter began examining the packet. It was a fairly long letter from a professor whose name sounded Hungarian to me (though I don’t know what I am talking about, so any Hungarian readers of this post, please do not be offended). My daughter and my wife are better behaved than I at least 95% of the time, but a little sarcasm crept into her voice as she said, “This is very well written; I wonder if he had his secretary write it for him.”

I inquired about her comment. “When I was considering this program, I talked to this professor. He had a very thick accent, and his answers were not very helpful to me. This is surprisingly well written.” Her comment made me uneasy, but my daughter seemed cheerful about the entire matter, so I decided not to worry about the program she is entering if she is not worried about it.

As she read through the packet, she observed that the university was now worried that she would choose not to attend. This was a pleasing contrast to their earlier indifference and discouraging reaction. Much of the packet explained the medical statistics program, lauded the excellence of the department., and crowed about the mild climate of Puget Sound and the wholesome joys of living in Seattle (to a person already living in Seattle). Apparently the department worried that either my daughter would fly off to another medical statistics program, or that she was mulling over various types of statistics, perhaps the study of baseball batting averages, or that she might find the climate of Rochester, New York more salubrious than Seattle.

My daughter understood their concern. When she had applied to Cornell to study horticulture, she had also applied to several other universities and had used acceptance at competing universities as a lever to wedge a fellowship out of Cornell. However, as she ended up disliking the program and disliking the field of study, she had sort of outwitted herself (something most of us do at one time or another).

My daughter read the description of the medical statistics program with some appreciation. “It’s hard to explain what I will be doing in this field; this provides something I can tell people who ask me about it.”

She then started looking at examples of research projects. One referred to research on bone marrow transplants and cancer fighting; this struck my daughter as the type of scheme that might satisfy her idealistic urge to do a project that benefits humanity.

Not long after that RG awoke from her nap and we turned to more immediate concerns: a little girl setting her hair on fire, sulking over scalloped potatoes, and enjoying cake and ice cream.


2 Responses to “Graduate School Acceptance Party”

  1. That’s so exciting about Random Daughter’s acceptance, and the program’s newly-discovered proper appreciation of her. I am looking forward to hearing about her successes, and the new opportunities she’ll be able to pursue.

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