Sunday, July 25, 2010

"A Note of Introduction"

If there's one thing I learned this past year by applying to grad school, it's that I'm not very good at talking about myself.  I know that may come as a surprise to those of you who know me, but writing about myself, without the benefit of tone of voice and hand gestures has proven to be one of the hardest things about getting into grad school (the other involves a tetanus shot and lying to my insurance company -- more about that in a future post).

Early last week, a member of the admissions staff sent out an e-mail suggesting that we all introduce ourselves via the newly established listserv.  Some future students dove in head first (these are the students that turn homework in early - you know who you are).  In reading what other students wrote, I learned pretty quickly what I didn't want to say and what I didn't want to sound like.  But anytime you are listing your accomplishments, you're going to sound full of yourself.  It's just the way it is.

So naturally, I put it off.  But today, I realized, it was probably time to do this thing, if for no other reason than that I will be in Chicago at the end of the week to look at apartments and would like to meet some of these people in person.  So I opened up my laptop, opened up a new e-mail, and then stared at a blank screen for the better part of two hours.  I know it was two hours because Bridget Jones' Diary was on TV and I watched pretty much the whole movie before sending the e-mail.

But then I got hungry, so I typed up a few lines and sent them off.  Like ripping off a band-aid, I figured.  And it was easier than I thought it would be. 

I wanted it to give people a little bit about myself, while leaving them wanting to meet me later.  I also wanted to avoid sounding trite or full of myself, something that wasn't necessarily achieved by others who e-mailed before me (If one more person tells me how "life changing" their study abroad experience was, I'm going to punch them. In the face.)

I think I succeeded.  I wrote a very short paragraph about my undergraduate degree and my current job, another paragraph asking if people want to meet up this weekend, and ended saying I looked forward to meeting people in person.  Maybe others will follow my example and keep it short and sweet.  These are journalism students we're talking about though, so... probably not.

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