I started this blog a couple of years ago knowing that as I moved away from academia and into the workforce, I would be hard-pressed to maintain a consistent line of inquiry into my research. In undergrad, the topics that interested me didn’t really interest many of my professors – at least not to the level of rendering them viable options for serious mentorship. I learned a lot from them, but I knew that if I wanted to get serious about researching digital play, I would need to do so in graduate school, in an environment more conducive to such pursuits.
Sure enough, over my soon-to-be-two years at modus studio, I have essentially let this blog lie fallow. I tried a few times to get my undergraduate research published in journals, to no avail (just got my last rejection email an hour ago, as it so happens). I made a few strides in my investigation into gestural interaction – even developing a set of fairly robust navigational tools, and making some headway into the creation of a virtual keyboard – but even these came in fits and spurts, inspired by late night revelations and weekend-long crunch sessions.
I only ever intended to be in Arkansas for a year, as I sought out grad schools and compiled applications. Well, one year turned into two…but I didn’t let it go past that. I researched schools that have programs oriented towards digital theory (programs that would allow me to eschew any kind of digital formalism and instead adopt a more multi-disciplinary approach to research), targeted three, and applied. And I got in. Not only am I thrilled to announce that I was accepted to (and offered scholarships by) all three schools, I am ecstatic/stupefied/somewhat shocked to say that I have been offered a substantial scholarship to attend MIT, my number one pick and my dream school for almost a decade. It is surreal to think I will be attending MIT, after dreaming (I can hardly even call it legitimate “imagining”) of doing so since high school.
But here I am – both ready and terrified to click “accept.” Stung by paper rejections, part of me feels unworthy; I feel like I’m out of the loop, like there is no way in hell I’m MIT material. I find it easy to imagine worst-case scenarios involving colossal failure and shameful inadequacy, while the concept of actually being a GRADUATE of MIT is still the stuff of dreams.
And yet, overwhelmingly, I am proud. I dreamed this, and I fought for it, and here I am. And I’m so excited about that. I feel like my opinions are good. I feel bolstered, strengthened. I feel confident. It is a good feeling. Soon I will be drowning in research, struggling to put together a coherent thesis and prove that my acceptance was no fluke…but in the meantime, I’ll enjoy my euphoria.
And so, onward! To Boston, to rigorous-as-hell graduate research, to the stage in my career past which I haven’t yet dreamt. I still don’t know what I’m going to do with my life, but right now that’s A-OK. I have research to do, and the best possible environment in which to do so. And that’s alright with me.