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It is general convention that applying for a Ph.D. is no different than applying for any other form of higher education. I’m here to tell you that is patently wrong. It is the most arduous, deflating, and humbling application experience one could ever go through. April 15th is not only recognized as tax day, but it also stands as the traditional day universities conditionally send offers to all prospective students for admittance. My program, Communications, is one of the more difficult programs to pursue based on the small number of schools with doctoral programs, but the sheer mass number of student applicants. And as more and more institutions restrict funding as state governments tighten the budgets like GSP with a guillotine choke in the Octagon, the market for positions shrinks as the number of students pursuing a doctorate balloons. In fact, this is my second go round on applying. When I applied to Cornell last year, they had over 100 applicants for just 4-6 positions, that’s a near 5% acceptance rate! Michigan State had 120 applicants, roughly 50 more than the previous year, as graduates enter the workforce and reenter academia after facing a future of unemployment despite the advanced degree. Dorian is pretty oblivious to this pressure I’ve been under the past few weeks, finishing my thesis, applying for programs and preparing to defend my paper in oral and written comprehensive exams. He does weigh on my mind though as I worry about the move coming later this summer to a new city and state. Some municipalities limit the kinds of pets residents can have, and finding a qualified exotic vet, a knowledgeable petsitter, even a house or apartment that accepts an iguana of Dorian’s size is daunting to say the least. The ironic thing is, it only takes one meeting with Dorian for people to radically change their minds. Despite his fearsome prehistoric visage, Dorian is truly a dollbaby. He’s a lot of wind, and not so much lightning. He’s never hissed at a stranger or even tail-whipped for the matter. He’s more likely to climb onto my shoulder and puff up more than anything. It’ll be the 4th time we’ve moved together, and the second with this massive enclosure he’s in (60 ft2), and hopefully the last for a while. Fortunately, I know that time frame. I have accepted an offer at American University in Washington D.C. and I start their three year program this fall. Woohoo!

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