23 August 2009

I walk these streets like a stranger in my home time

To say that I want to change the world would be both cliche and unrealistic. But this is essentially what I wish to do. Change begins on the level of the individual. It is one individual helping, interacting, influencing, and enabling another individual in some way so as to improve that individual's life. If this change is passed on, it eventually spreads. A kind of 'pay-it-forward' system if you will. My actions may never solve the problem of world hunger or prevent poverty. All I can hope is that they will begin and contribute to the chain reaction that eventually leads to true change. But enough of that before I come off sounding foolish.

It has been a whirlwind few weeks. First, and most importantly, I got a new car. Well, new to me and that is all that really matters. Following the death of 'Rebecca's Red Rocket', my family acquired a 2002 dark blue Ford Focus that I have affectionately dubbed 'Old Blue' for the fact that it is a perfect shade of 'Oxford Blue' and because I am hoping that this will score me karmatic bonus points when it comes time to make my applications to Oxford. I am entirely serious when I say that there should be a section on the application that judges the amount of desire that you have to study at the university. I would win, hands down. For every time I mention that I miss the city and university, there are perhaps five times that I've left this sentiment unspoken for fear of annoying those around me and provoking them into rages such as those exhibited by some of my family and friends. Anyway, Old Blue is mine for the year and will then be turned over to my mother when I leave for graduate school (a bit of wishful thinking here on my part).

Another emotional event that took place recently was the end of my internship at the US Department of State. I finished on Friday to mixed emotions on my part. On one hand, I am happy that I no longer have to get 'up' (up being a figurative term in this case since I only actually get about 4 hours of sleep a night) at 5:10AM and commute 2 hours into work by car, metro, and shuttle bus (and then brave the rush hour traffic home). On the other, I miss having a sense of purpose, things to do each day, and something to stress about other than my grad school applications. It was a hell of an experience and I hope to get to do it next summer (provided that I don't actually get, say, a paying job).

Speaking of grad school, my applications are finally under way. Cambridge is due in October (or presumably so since the 2010 application has yet to make an appearance on the website) and I've set a personal due date of October for King's and LSE. If all goes to plan, I should have an offer (or rejection) by December/winter hols. An acceptance at any of the three will mean that I will not apply to St. Andrews (too far away from civilization despite its impeccable reputation) or Edinburgh (no actual course in IR or Development; I'd have to settle for multi-level politics). I'd still apply to Oxford (wishful thinking, of course, as I doubt that I will get in. But I still have to try...) I've my curriculum vitae in order and have been cracking along on my personal statements (although I am a bit afraid to set pen to paper in fear that what will emerge will be utter rubbish after so long a time away from actual writing). Things are finally falling into place.

I move back down to St. Mary's on Saturday. I've mixed emotions about this event as well, but this is better left for another day.

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