Consulting Ghosts

I’ve applied to Brown as a transfer student for Fall 2009, and my response should come from Admissions any day now. I’m not sure what I should do if I’m accepted – I have great friends at Vassar (I really miss my pals), it’s a beautiful school, great reputation, great professors (whom I’ve already located), the departments I’m interested in may be stronger at Vassar than they are at Brown, it’s safe, comfortable, and I just picked out my classes for next semester and they look fantastic:

Art 385 – The Art of Nature (Peck/Lucic)
Eng 328 – Literature of the American Renaissance (Peck)
Art 370 – Rome of the Imagination (Adams)
Art 331 – Durer and Rembrandt (Kuretsky)
Eng 235 – Old English (Amodio)
[Audit] Russ 371 Myth of Saint-Petersburg (Firtich)

Tatyana tells me it is better to be a big fish in a small pond than a nobody in the ocean. [Update, 8/19/2015: she was absolutely right. I didn’t get in and it was absolutely for the better. Emma Watson did, though.]

So, when my Tarot cards failed to give me an answer I could reasonably decipher, I went to consult with my main man – the local hero – my idol, Peter the Great, and ask him what he’d do. Generally, it’s important to be careful what sort of advice one asks of Peter; for example, when drinking, it is never a good idea to ask this man (who, along with his colleagues, drank so much in his lifetime that the stereotype of the “vodka guzzling Russian” lives on to this day and whose death was the result of slow, painful kidney failure, followed by a gangrenous urinary tract infection, peeing blood, and the removal of extraneous fluids via whatever was the 18th century equivalent of a giant syringe) whether or not it is a good idea to have another beer.

However in matters of war, leadership, vision, actualizing potential, and building cities in awkward places, he’s really quite good. So I went to the grave of Peter the Great and asked:

“What do I do if I get in, Peter? Should I go?”

And he sighed, and stared, and mentioned something about the frivolity of asking the man who changed the capital of Russia whether or not to change schools.

“And if I am denied?”

To which he replied: “Work harder, sleep less, burn the land before your enemies, and never, ever let that asshole Charles XII dictate the terms of defeat”.

2 replies »

  1. a big decision! i can understand the feeling, since i had to choose this year between staying at usf and coming back to vassar. sometimes i feel like all you can do is go with your gut/intuition, because there are so many rational justifiers for either choice, you know? but hey, go with peter’s advice. he is Great, after all. 🙂


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