My name is Rolando Rubalcava, and this is my blog. This page is dedicated to describing why I started this blog. Before I do, I wanted to preface this section by stating the following: I don’t know how to write or set up a blog. I’m not even sure how to speak to my audience here. I really enjoy writing prose, or poetry, or even research essays (we’ll get to that later), but all of those are massively different from this. The best way, I feel, to start is by describing how I imagine a conversation about why I created this blog would look like.

Imagine this: we’re at a bar, with a group of friends, chatting, good music playing, into our third round, with a cordial vibe in the air, and then you ask, So why did you write this blog?

Well, (sips Gin and tonic)…I’ll tell you.

Last Fall, I applied to PhD programs in American Literature. I went into this process thinking I had it made- I did well in grad school, really enjoyed doing research, and had a pretty good CV. A few months later, the rejection letters came in and I realized where well fell in their acceptance rubric. It was a real blow. I didn’t know how to handle it. I envisioned what my life would be like not getting this degree; I would still have a job and do okay, in academia or possibly another field, but ultimately, I would be miserable. After talking to my mentors and getting a chance to get feedback from some of the schools I applied to (more on that later), I decided to apply again, and relive that hair-pulling, stress-inducing process once more.

Looking at what I needed to do, I could have gone ahead and resumed what I did last

Me, graduating with my MA in English

Me, graduating with my MA in English

time, like study for the GRE, work on my essays, but what would that change? How will that make me a more desirable candidate? Rereading my essays, I noticed a kind of force  trying to burst through every paragraph- beneath discussing my academic experience and research interests, I really wanted to tell my story, and why I do what I do. As much as I would like to share that information, I realized that these essays are read operating in the genre that is Personal Statements for PhD programs. They have a specific purpose- telling them about growing up in the San Fernando Valley and why gummy bears are effective study aids is not what they encompass.

Then it hit me- if I’m going to tell my story, it will have to be in a space that welcomes unadulterated storytelling. That’s why I started this blog. I plan on treating this as a journal, chronicling my study habits, the good days, the bad ones, and whatever else this process warrants.

I am positive that there will be days where I will want to stop or doubt what I’m doing. Reflecting on the process, that is not only expected, but part of it, getting more introspective as I write. I’m not asking for pity, or sympathy, or even expect you to laugh at my terrible jokes- I am going to put myself through this process, and if you wish to witness this, I will try to make it kinda-funny. That is me, delivering my best.

This blog is dedicated to my process, where I will discuss what I’m doing, strategies for reapplying, and helping me keep my feet on the ground, instead of floating through this without consequence. I have to study, write, focus, and be diligent- that’s basically it. This will also be my second time doing this. Hopefully, this blog will be the behind-the-scenes documentary of that process.

Motivational meme I came acorss during my first round of applications

Motivational meme I came across during my first round of applications

-(nods at bartender) Can I get the…(makes check-signing gesture)
-(places tab on bar) Hey, man- is all of that true? That stuff you were saying.
-Yeah- I lived that, actually.
-I know, right? (signs tab, walks out, hoping to come back with a better story)