Patience


[Thank you for your comments yesterday -- as was apparent, I wrote that in a state of anxiety and burgeoning disillusionment.]

I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not, but I'm already starting to think about reapplying for 2009. No, I haven't heard from any other schools, but during my copious amount of online time today at work, I explored the internet, searching for any piece of comisserating or validating discussion on graduate school applications.

I learned, of course, that I could have benefited from some better advice regarding all of this -- for instance, apply to more than 5 schools -- that I shouldn't feel badly about rejections at all -- that the acceptance/rejection decisions seem to be pretty random -- and that this is hardly the end of the world. I do feel a bit like some marooned and clueless outsider though -- with a dash of delusion thrown in.

I also found a whole slew of fellow PhD hopefuls who have blogged or been blogging about their application process [ I had known about Brian Leiter's blog and the Philosophical Gourmet, but I wish I would have known some of these other sites 5 months ago -- or bothered to look for them ]. [Blogical Necessity; de crapulas endormiendo; the boundaries of language; Think Tonk; doing philosophy; Penumbral Connections; The Splintered Mind; and I'm sure there are more]

And in addition to spending the entire day in a state of anxious worry, I also started to think seriously about the "what ifs" I entertained yesterday. I have some options for sure -- I could move, as I always seem to do when things don't work out according to my fantastic plans [Portland, OR ; Charleston, SC; and Chicago, IL are foremost on that front] -- I could stay put and hope for another semester of teaching at St. John's -- I could continue reading and writing, but in a tighter, more structured way. I could continue my creative projects, exploring firsthand the processes that I'd like to make my philosophical focus --

I've realized over the past few weeks that what I really want to study -- to do as my philosophy -- is the process of making. It's sort of the natural fusion of process philosophy and philosophy of art. Gilson has only underlined what Whitehead initiated. I'm interested in studying man and his mind as they are making things. And I'm interested in the complexity imparted to objects which are made -- objects as varied as Valéry's seashell, a poem by Mallarmé, or a Rembrandt portrait. How do these processes fit in to a metaphysical framework? How do they inform our conception of existence? What accepted ideas must change when we focus on man as a being who makes?

It's almost amusing how inverted this whole process has been -- before even submitting applications to PhD programs I was asked to teach at the school which is my intended teaching destination -- the place that I would like to devote my scholarly career to. But I still need to jump through the hoops -- the degree is something I need but it's also something I want. There's a part of me that misses classes, rigid research and structured curriculums. I want to be part of a department and have colleagues again. Even though I know I'm not suited for a life at a research university, I want to be part of that sort of community again.


So I'm trying to be positive about all of this waiting [which I'm not naturally very good at] -- I have to travel to campus tomorrow for some meetings and I'm planning on spending some time thinking and reading and hopefully getting some advice about all of this. I'm still waiting to hear from University of Maryland, College Park; Princeton; Stanford; and University of Southern California -- and from what I've read each of those schools has started sending out both acceptances and rejections.

I'd love to end with some beautiful passages out of Pessoa, but I feel I should save his melancholy words for a day when they don't actually echo my feelings.