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
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.
-(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)