I spent this past weekend at the University of Notre Dame for a Ph.D interview/admissions weekend hosted by the theology department. I drove in Thursday night, checked into the Inn at St. Mary's (quite beautiful), flipped through my orientation packet, drove around to find some late dinner, and met my awesome roommate, Christina. We stayed up way too late, nervous about the next day's interviews and not quite able to get comfortable in beds that weren't our own.
We got up Friday, went over to campus, and had an orientation session in which we learned a few important things: 1) that I was one of 3 Liturgical Studies applicants invited to campus for interviews, 2) that they only officially accept as many people as they have money to fund, which means somewhere around 15 of the nearly 30 of us, and 3) those of us invited to campus had already been deemed "admissible." Which means that I feel proud to have been invited, whether or not I'm actually offered admission. Then we ate a swanky lunch, meeting faculty members in our particular specialties. Turns out that most of the Liturgical Studies faculty had were out of town on far-previously arranged speaking engagements, and so there was only one professor available. So after he conversed with the three of us over lunch, we proceeded to do a three-on-one interview (very casual) instead of having 6 or 8 back-to-back interviews with faculty (which is what everyone else in other specialities had to do). I really like the other two Liturgical Studies candidates! I wish that they could/would just accept all three of us.
Friday evening, we split up (again) into our particular specialties and ate dinner at the houses of students or professors in those specialties. For us LS people, we had a students-only dinner at a second-year's house. It was a fabulous evening - all of the current LS students are just wonderful. And all three of us candidates got along quite well with everyone. Unfortunately, over dinner we learned that the LS department usually only takes 2 people! Bah!
Saturday was spent touring the library, the campus, and the South Bend area, as well as eating lunch with some current Ph.D students and learning more about what it's like to be a Notre Dame grad student. I myself spent some free time wandering campus, hanging out in the bookstore, and taking some pictures just for fun. Saturday evening closed with a super-fancy dinner, at which I had yet more fantastic conversations with other Ph.D admission candidates. I think that I could so easily be friends with so many of the candidates, and I wish that they could really just take all 30 of us!
For what it's worth, this weekend proved to me that I could be completely happy at Notre Dame. Going into the weekend, I knew that it was the only school that had the exact program that I wanted, but I had doubted that I'd actually end up there. There are so many complexities in going there - more moving, more commuting, trying to figure out what Matt would do with his last year of law school - but after spending a weekend there, I realized that there is no way that I can rule it out. Not only is it certainly the perfect program, but I can easily see myself fitting in there. I can actually consider the fact that going there might be worth the complexities. So we'll see what happens. The first step is getting accepted! I'll get the phone call (yes! phone call!) sometime this weekend...eeks!
And hopefully my other three schools will start telling me something in the next week or so! Yikes. Am I getting a Ph.D???