I'm back in DC. Grad school applications are done. Now what? My high school guidance counselor called this the point when "the prayer service begins." But, since grad school is not college and I don't have to get in or die, the prayer service is less applicable (though, perhaps not uncoincidentally, there is a huge debate over whether there is a God raging on the grad school forums at this very moment). So I am spending my time formulating back-up plans, which essentially consists of figuring out the best and most efficient way to become a high school history teacher in or near Chicago without paying for a two-year MA in education. The (unnecessary) obstacles to this plan are actually quite impressive.
(Incidentally, when I interview high school seniors who are applying to the U of C, I ask them why they're going to college and what they'd do if they couldn't go to college for some reason. I think I ask this just to torment them, because I know very well that the real answer, at least for students applying to schools like Chicago, is that they're going to college because that is what they've been doing since they were born, and if they couldn't go to college, they're pretty sure they'd die. And that's fair enough, I guess. But of course, they all know better than to say that.)
Still, contingency planning is only a part-time activity. What to do with the rest of the winter? Start a Skokie-centric literature? Attempt to report something? Write an essay connecting Joan Didion's essays to Merle Haggard's music, a connection which exists primarily in the coincidental fact that I read one while listening to the other? Draw webcomics? Learn German?