anotherlongshot (anotherlongshot) wrote,

Is this really real life?

After rejections from Oxford and the LSE - and even the LSE - and after hearing absolutely nothing from Cambridge for the past three months since the interview, I was absolutely convinced that I wasn't going to do a PhD this year; that I was stuck in Singapore for another year; that I had to re-apply and go through the painful process all over again; and that, simply put, it was all over.

Well, it turns out that I was wrong, utterly wrong.

To be honest, it was a bit anti-climatic to see the words 'Conditional Offer Made' in my Cambridge self-service account because the status change that I saw last Friday when I was in Bangkok meant that the offer was coming. Still - I don't think this has fully sunk in yet. I feel like I'm seeing through a haze, as if there were a disconnect between what I know and what I believe, as though this offer from Cambridge were a fact that existed on a different plane and I am looking at it from a detached distance.

Simply put: I can't believe this is really real. The University of Cambridge has been my dream school ever since I was old (or naive) enough to harbour ambitions of scaling academic heights. I applied to it in 2006 to read English; I was rejected. I applied again in 2011 to do an LLM; I was rejected. It seemed to be an elusive trophy, perenially out of my reach; I was so sure that my PhD application would also end in a rejection because it had been so long and everyone else had already been made offers, and I was still kept hanging, but oh my god, for once, I am so happy to be wrong.

This is unreal. I can't believe I actually got in - that I finally got in. I don't even care that I might have been a back-up option which they picked after someone rejected their offer; I don't give a shit at all because I just wanted to get in, and I fucking got in. All the hard work that I put into my shitty proposal (which I will probably ditch in the first two weeks of term) actually paid off. The hellish stress that I went through from September 2014 to January 2015, when I was doing the proposal and studying for the QLTS at the same time, actually did not amount to nothing, because I got them both.

I am still in a state of disbelief, borlining shock. I am going to do a PhD, and I am going to do it in my dream school.* Is this really my life?! Oh my god, I think I could die of happiness.


There is an asterisk above because there are a couple of conditions that I have to meet to be granted admission. One of them is financial and the an English language requirement.

On the finances: the first year will cost me GBP31,000 alone. There are a couple of Singaporean scholarships that I can apply for, so I will probably do that and hope for the best. In the meantime, assuming I don't receive any funding from the university and/or whichever college I end up in (I hope so hard it's Hughes Hall because I want their scholarship), I need to find a way to cough up GBP31,000.

At times like these, I really miss being in private practice. More realistically, I wish I'd came home to work after my LLM ended so that I would've saved some more money and blah blah blah, you know the rest.

On the English language requirement: This is solely because I am Singaporean and the UK government or border agency or whichever authority didn't deem it fit to put Singapore on the list of countries whose nationals are exempt from providing evidence of competence in the English language, nevermind that everyone in Singapore is taught in English from at least primary school, and Singaporean applicants to law programmes in places like Cambridge can definitely write a good sentence or two in English. I find it insulting more than anything to have to take the TOEFL or IELTS or whatever; and of course, I also find it costly and time-consuming. I have already emailed the admissions office to ask if I can take an assessment at their language centre and I received an out-of-office reply. Great. I will just hope for the best.


I want to bitch write about my Bangkok trip but it's 16 past midnight and I couldn't wake up this morning because I was up till 2am watching and then reading about the awesome French Open final (in which Stan Wawrinka defeated Novak Djokovic by playing amazing, thrilling and gorgeous attacking tennis to break down the Great Wall of Serbia). I wanted to sleep early tonight but I was too excited about Cambridge. Bangkok will have to wait.

For now, my bed beckons!
Tags: bangkok, cambridge, phd application, roland garros, stanislas wawrinka

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