Friday, April 01, 2005

I think I've made a decision

I think I've decided what to do. I will be a postgrad student reading for a Masters in Human Rights at the London School of Economics in the fall. I will do this from October 1, 2005 to September 30, 2006. Then, I will spend 8 months doing something interesting, probably working for a human rights organization. During the summer, I will have taken an LSAT prep class (something I should have done the first time around) and will retake the LSATs in London in June, like I did last year. This means reapplying to law schools. I still think that American is a perfect fit for me and for what I want to pursue, but I suspect that I will reapply to some of the schools from which I got rejected (read: NYU, not Georgetown, 'cause if I'm going to be in D.C., its going to be at WCL) and to schools that I talked myself out of applying to on the basis of a lowish LSAT score. If American would let me defer for two years, I probably would and I would be happy to do so, but I can't. So, I'll enter law school in the fall of 2007 (yikes, that seems far away right now).

I've thought about this a lot and talked to a lot of people. I was all set to go to American, had even written a to do list that said "send in seat deposit." And I was really, really excited to move to D.C. and start attending law school at a place which seemed like a perfect fit for me. I certainly never expected to get admitted to LSE, but I think it is an amazing chance to spend a year trying to answer some of the questions that have plagued me for the past couple of years about the origins of human rights and how to best protect them. Seriously, I applied on a whim and never, ever expected to get accepted. I love London and, although the idea of being abroad for a year is a bit unsettling, I don't know if I'll ever have the same sort of opportunity to be young and free in a foreign city. Certainly, when I left London after my 4 months in the spring of 2003, I never expected that I would able to go back to the extent that I have. But then, there were quite a number of things that I never expected would happen when I left London, some sooner and more horrific than others.

I, like most of my friends, have spent a lot of time in limbo over the past two years. On the other hand, there are circumstances of my life which have made the sense of uncertainly even more powerful and more difficult to handle. I was heartbroken when I was so briskly rejected for the Truman & Marshall scholarships; the Carnegie Foundation hasn't even bothered to tell me I was rejected for their junior fellowship yet. I felt like I was at a huge disadvantage throughout the process of applying to law schools (which I now realize was partially my fault for not being more proactive) and that I could have done so much better at it. A lot of my academic experiences haven't been especially satisfying over the past two years. And darnit, I JUST WANTED SOMEONE TO FIGURE MY LIFE OUT FOR ME! But getting rejected from all those "easy" options really made me question what I wanted to do with my life and what was going to be the best sort of academic preparation for that life. If I'd gotten a Truman, I probably would have felt obligated to ignore my passion for international issues and the Marshall application was the sole reason that I even considered looking abroad for grad school. My heartbreak also made it pretty clear that I wanted to be in England. 'Course, I probably wouldn't have been so gracious if things hadn't worked out in the end....

I started crying when my roommate brought that big envelope from WCL over to my study carrel in the library and woke her up screaming when I read about the LSE offer on their application tracking database. I was lucky to have these options and I am so grateful. I'm sorta sad to be skipping DC this fall, after I'd gotten myself so psyched up for WCL. On the other hand, I keep walking around campus thinking, "in six months, London'll be my campus." I giggle when the BBC World Service (who put me to sleep every night) announce that they're broadcasting from Bush House (because it's right near LSE, not for that reason, sicko) and I look at my painting postcards and remember that I can go to the Courtald Institute any time I want. Alice gave a presentation on the history of Earlham Hall today at lunch and I remembered that she's leading the Earlham program next year. She always takes the kiddos to visit Norwich and Earlham Hall and has already said I can go along. Its really nice to know that I'll have friends over on the continent, the ones who I've gotten to know on my other visits, Kenneth & Arunima on the France program in the fall and Scott & Alice in London in the spring. And any time I want, I can whip out a £5 note and remind myself of the proud Quaker & Earlham traditions that have shaped the person that I am today. I "heart" you, Joseph John Gurney!

Narp. I'm going to have to change the title of this blog.

Ooooh, and I got elected to Phi Beta Kappa today and got notice that I'd qualified for college honors. I'm going to go update my resume, then get back to the Senate testimony that I should have been reading all night. My bad.


Jay said... Reply to comment

Congrats on the LSE thing again, and I definitely can't blame ya for taking that opportunity. I still definitely encourage you to come to WCL when you get around to this whole law school thing. While I became interested in reading your blog because of your impending move to D.C., I'm still looking forward to reading about your adventures in London, a place I am sad to say I have still never been.

Good luck!