I finally had a normal reading day yesterday — one with no snow involved. (Apparently Oklahoma is getting all the snow this week.) Because my reading days this year have involved a blend of applications and snow shoveling, I needed to think back to previous years to remember how to keep a steady pace over the course of a long day with a tall pile of applications.
I’m always playing with different methods for staying on task, so I had a few options to choose from. I decided on a tried-and-true technique from many past reading days. It goes like this. First, I write down the time when I start reading (7:48 yesterday) and then read five files. If less than an hour has passed, I fill the time with additional applications. After an hour I can get up, make a cup of tea, and stretch my legs. Then back to reading (8:51) for five more files or an hour, whichever comes second. And so on through the day. It sounds a little nutty, but the result was that I was reasonably productive.
The day’s pile of applications included the usual cornucopia — all sorts of people from all sorts of backgrounds. There was one noteworthy pair who, coincidentally, came up one after the other: two women who graduated in the same year, had selected the same Fletcher fields (and not necessarily the most commonly chosen ones, either), and were both wicked smart. The differences came in how they arrived at the point where they’re looking at graduate study. That’s what keeps my work interesting.
I feel like I’m only just getting into the swing of things, which makes it surprising that I have no more than three reading days left. But that’s still three days during which I’ll need to think up new games to keep myself on task, while getting to know more of you.
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