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December 2, 2012


I spent a fair portion of yesterday afternoon carefully avoiding the stack of books on the right-hand side of my desk and instead ordering Christmas presents for my immediate family, who are coming to visit these fair Isles in a few weeks.  Of course I can’t tell you what I got them – they read this blog, too – but I can tell you about a few other things I’ve been up to.  As Kevin has recently pointed out, this is the time of year when the rubber starts to hit the road in terms of work.  That’s less true for me this year (at the LSE, we operate on a term system, and only have one set of finals, in June) but December 1st is still quite a wake-up call for all those things you figured you’d do “in a few months, when it’s closer to the time.”

I hope, by the way, that these are useful to you the reader, not because you’re living my life, but because it’ll give you a sense of a progression through the college experience.  One day you enter, and you don’t know what makes sense to do at what time.  Here are a few things I’m thinking about – a blueprint, of sorts, for my future life:

1. Truman Scholarship Application.  I’m almost certain I haven’t posted about this yet, but I’m in the process of applying for a 2013 Harry S. Truman Scholarship.  The Scholarship – a $30,000 grant towards higher education – is administered by the – wait for it - Harry S. Truman Foundation and is awarded on the basis of a student’s commitment to public service, intellectual ability, and potential for leadership.  (Sidebar: the Truman Foundation is an “independent federal branch executive agency”; it was created by Congress, but is administered independently.)  It’s been an interesting few weeks of asking folks to write recommendations on my behalf, writing my own components of the application, and generally trying to assess just how mentally prepared I should be when I send it in.  After all, there are only two winners per state, and I’m competing against all the folks back home in Illinois.  I’ll keep y’all updated.

2. Housing Complex Manager Application.  This one’s a little closer to home.  Many of you will remember that I spent last year as an RA in Wright Hall (I’ve also written about the selection process a bit here).  When I get back to campus, I’m hoping to rejoin RLH as a “Housing Complex Manager”: a semi-professional student responsible for overseeing a block of campus houses, among other administrative tasks.  The position comes with a great deal of responsibility, a free triple apartment, and a modest stipend.  As I’ve mentioned here before, I got quite a bit out of the RA position last year, and am hoping to continue that growth in a new position next year.  It’ll be a competitive application process, of course, and I’ll keep you updated.

3. First Thoughts about Jobs! Horrifying though it may seem, May 2014 (graduation) is less than a year and a half away.  It’s shocking.  Anyhow, I’ve committed myself to the notion that I will not be one of those folks without a job after graduation, and so I’ve started to become more serious and systematic about the process by which I’m evaluating opportunities and options.  Most likely, I’ll end up in DC, in one position or another, but that could of course change.  It’s at the same time terrifying and liberating to think about these things – one moment you’re a first-year entering college for the first time and then, suddenly, you’re halfway out the door already.  Four years fly by.

4. The Cubs.  Not even an application.  I’m just thinking about them nonstop.

Anyhow.  Just a few quick things I’m thinking about on a snow-free Sunday.  Next week – Week 9 – I have two essays due, and so while you digest this small preview of my next few months, I’ll go back to reading.  Until next week!

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