Last night, I got rejected by the second (and last) top-10 school, the University of Chicago, knowing however that any single rejection from a top-10 school is by no means an indictment of a lack of physical ability or potential. As with Princeton, some the same strikes apply: no connections at UChicago (the professor I knew at my undergrad that actually had one refused to write me a letter of recommendation, not even a UChicago-specific one), no papers, a low-ish GPA. Suffice to say that the decisive encouragement pertaining to UChicago came from a postdoc who earned his PhD at UChicago, that we refer to as Bhujo in the lab. And Gil Holder, a professor at McGill that earned his PhD under Michael Turner, the very professor I wanted for an advisor there, told me that my best bet, as far as UChicago is concerned, was the astrophysics department. But, if I were to attend UChicago and work with Turner, I would have had to work with either Dodelson or Hu as well.
Even though it is not an indictment of one’s lack of physical ability (after all, any top-10 school rejects hundreds of applicants that have what it takes to succeed once there) I feel that this entire predicament is an indictment of my lack of judgment. If I could have done something differently, I would have done one of the following:
- Apply to more top-10 schools
- Forgo attending a top-10 school completely
I feel as if I am a failure, not because I didn’t have what it takes to succeed once there, but because there is an error in how I approached the entire process. Perhaps I trusted PhysicsGRE.com too much…