Wednesday, February 08, 2006


That's the subject line my daughter attached to an email she forwarded to me the other night from UC Berkeley's graduate school of Political Science. Simultaneously, she called to tell me that she thought it maybe might be an acceptance. Or at least an indication of strong interest.

Well, of course it was an acceptance (they begged her not to make any choices until they had had a chance to fly her to Berkeley in March and "recruit" her), and only a daughter I had assiduously trained to have extremely low self esteem could have interpreted it otherwise.

(We parents are adept at sending mixed messages to our offspring: "You could go to any college you want if you work hard enough, but you should do what YOU want to do--I don't want to pressure you." or, "You can get straight A's if you work hard, but I'll still love you if you don't.")

Naturally, she felt she would be a complete failure if she didn't go to the best school in the country. Hence, Yale, whence she graduated in 2001. I was present at some of her labors as she applied to graduate schools last month. Since her field of choice represented a 180-degree change of major--from molecular biology to international relations--she assumed that her quest was futile, that no university of any standing would be interested in her, but that she would apply just in case, and include some second-rate schools that she could fall back on when the best schools turned her down.

To sweeten her prospects, she not only took extension courses in international relations at Harvard, but she researched the professors of note at each school she applied to, so her application essay could comment intelligently on why she wanted to work with those professors. This involved a great deal of after-midnight reading of academic publications following her 10-hour workday as a market research analyst.

Understand, Nina shares some of my ADD and procrastination tendencies, so it's not easy for her to perform at the required level. She's sort of the person I might have become if I had learned to be more disciplined. Or--dare I suggest it?--more guilt-tripped by my parents.

Whatever, I am one proud parent.


At 4/24/06, 11:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As well you should be... all three of your children successful in... LIFE! Ginger :)


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