A couple months ago (10) I finished a Masters degree with Columbia University, returned stateside and awaited notification from IMT Lucca's PhD program whether or not I'd been admitted. Tip #1: It's best not tell yourself: "It's this or nothing" then proceed to solely apply to that one PhD program. Variety is best. Additionally if you find yourself thinking: "Why has no one heard of this program?" or "So, a lot of Professors have told me to apply elsewhere..." Then take a beat and reformulate life plans.
But, me being past-Anna and it having been June, I had limited options before me as to starting my PhD in the 2017-2018 academic year. So there I go, trudging ahead, passing the initial assessment and moving forward to the interview round.
Closing my laptop that day, September 20th, 2017, after the shortest interview I've ever had in my life I was filled with an equal flooding of internal remorse and external relief. I stood up from my chair, walked out of my room, made blueberry waffles, and inhaled them in 3.5 minutes.
Tip #2: If you find yourself wondering mid-interview: "I don't think they understand my topic." or "Why don't they see how interdisciplinary it is? *head tilt*" Then that is probably an indication you should re-work your Research Proposal, present it out-loud to a video-recorder, watch the video, and rewrite the proposal. Conversely, it is probably an equal indication that you and the program are not a good match.
Eight days after the interview I received an e-mail from admissions informing me that the 2017-2018 admitted candidates had been selected. I clicked the link, scrolled down and found my name listed under "Eligible Students" with an Admissions score of 91.5. Candidates had been scored out of a 100 and I hadn't made the cut. Initially I was shocked, I'd been quite certain that this was a for sure thing. In my mind I had already told myself that I would be in Italy come mid-November. In fact, I'd been so certain I hadn't even unpacked from Paris.
The next thought that occurred to me was the score: 91.5. I was, according to IMT Lucca, just barely an A- human. I returned to my bedroom and cried, for probably 7 hours while binge watching the 6th season of Vampire Diaries. It seemed that everything around me was crumbling and the more my fingers tried to grasp the pieces the smaller then began and the faster they fell.
It was a moment of:
It is, absolutely, 100%, their loss.