The Starbucks Experiment

Friday, November 04, 2005

Greetings from the Graduate School Tour

This is day 9 of a 10 day graduate school tour, and as usual with my blog, i am slow to tell the tale. so let's have a brief synopsis (good GRE word):

first of all, planning this trip has been one of the most stressful experiences of my life. it is incredibly frustrating to exchange a few emails with a professor and then, in the moment of truth, when you tell them you are planning to visit on such and such a day and would they be able to meet with you? you hear . . . nothing. no response! over and over again, getting these profs. to commit to a face-to-face was like pulling teeth (from a patient who hadn't even showed up). yet somehow i managed to plan a trip and it went something like this:

eve of the trip (wednesday): my stress and frustration comes to a boil, literally. i decide to make dinner for my parents, except my mother has just started weight watchers again and i have no idea what she can eat. i decide on an imitation beef stroganoff but try and fail to make a nice sauce three times before i:

a)start crying
b)yell at my parents for exepcting me to make dinner/not helping me
c)tell my mother i need her "moral support" while i pack, then make her do it for me
d)cut off my sister abruptly when she calls with a curt "i don't have time to talk, Laura, i'm packing."
e)all of the above

you guessed it, (e) is the correct answer (can you tell i've been studying for the GREs yet?

day 1 (thursday): go to work at the Gallery, lunch with Molly Donovan (my curator/boss). i ask her to write me recommendations for grad school and she says it would be her pleasure. run around getting stuff done before catching an afternoon train to New Haven. spend the night with Eileen, and old family friend. v. relaxing.

day 2 (friday): morning meeting with Frejya, a grad student at Yale, which is really great and informative. then i have to track down an "artist's book" by Andy Goldsworthy, meaning a book conceived as an art work and made in a v. limited edition (in this case, 100). go to the rare books library, register etc, only to find that it's at the british center's rare books library. so i go back to the building i had just come from, get the book and spend the next hour taking notes and scratching my head. afternoon meetings with profs. the first one v. hyper and bubbly, the second incredibly morose and undemonstrative. in other words, polar opposites. evening commuter train back to the city (of New York). meet friends at the hungarian pastry shop, dinner at the little mexican place, drinks at 1020. sleepover at Karin's.

day 3 (saturday): take the bus with Karin to Boston, then train to Gloucester, where my cousins live. it's snowing (!) when we arrive. dinner with my relatives and a family friend of theirs who is a v. charming 83. post-dinner movie. awesome.

day 4 (sunday): gorgeous warm weather, all the snow gone. walk on the beach with the dogs, collect kindling in the woods, buy pumpkins to carve. go home and collapse on the couch. more movies, leftovers for dinner, packing, never actually got to the pumpkins.

day 5 (monday, also Halloween): welcome to Harvard, or as Louise loves to say hahvahd. our first mission is to walk to my sister's old apartment to see if her crazy roommate will let us in and look for my sister's coat, which has gone missing. crazy roommate isn't home. back on campus, Karin and i have meetings with profs. and students, me for history of art, her for history of science. we sleep on the bus back home and catch a cab from chinatown up to morningside. i'm staying with a childhood friend of my moms named of all things, weezie. we chat for a bit before going to bed. she is v. sweet and maternal.

day 6 (tuesday): wake up early to get to the Met before it gets crazy crowded. go to see the van Gogh drawings show and love it so much i buy the catalog. back to campus, lunch with Dani and Karin. then the day turns to pot, spend all afternoon trying to track down profs. and futzing around on the Internet in the library computer lab. its stale air and fluorescent light gives me a headache. i can't go to weezie's because i don't yet have a set of keys. finally Karin's lab ends and we get food and watch a movie at her place. i go back to weezie's and we watch commander in chief together.

day 7 (wednesday): sleep late and watch, get this, a harlequin romance movie on "we" women's entertainment television. then get on the train to Princeton. meeting with a grad student who is also a Barnard alum. Adithi finds me and we rent a movie and go to her place. she has made me a fabulous gourmet dinner that she refuses to believe i might actually enjoy. lovely chats, lovely movie, lovely sleep.

day 8 (thursday): walk around campus with Adithi, breakfast together, then walk her to work at the university press. everything is gorgeous, fall never looked better. meeting with a v. polite prof., then a quick look at the museum. train back to the city, and a late lunch with Dani. meet Ricardo at the Neue Gallerie to see the Egon Shiele show. love the drawings. Ricardo buys the catalog. back to his place where Dani is staying for wine and cards. meet Eva and Emily for dinner at Spice, where the pad thai is delicious. Emily and i decide to watch a stupid movie and settle on the legend of zorro, and it's everything we want it to be. back to weezie's. she's out of town so i have the place to myself for a few days.

day 9 (friday, also today): wake up surprisingly early and watch a 60s sci-fi movie on TCM. beginning of two day conference "the Barnard Leadership Council," to which i am invited because i'm a fund chair for my class. the morning meetings are interesting, but the lunch is poor. now i'm back in the hideous computer lab blogging away before the afternoon sessions begin, but i sort of want more food. might have to get a frap at sbux. i only ever buy them at other locations because they are too messy to make for myself.

tonight Ricardo is throwing a dinner party in my honor. i feel like visiting royalty. tomorrow i have the conference in the morning and then an afternoon train back to DC.

i've realized two things, and i don't have much time so i'll just come out and say them. the first is that USC, even though it's in the dreaded city of LA, would be the best place for me to go for graduate school. the second is that i will spend the rest of my life after grad school living in New York. this is it baby. bye.


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