Grad School

16 Mar

Okay, confession time. I didn’t make it into grad school at the University of North Texas. Am I bitter? Oh, bitch you bet I am (Mom, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry I called you a bitch. That was for my other readers. Like that cunt, grandma.).

I understand that like most graduate programs, the English graduate program at UNT is extremely competitive. There are a lot of people competing for not a lot of spots. I’m never one to complain about things like this; I tend to think blaming the program as unfair or short-sighted would only make me look juvenile and petty. I would, however, like to know the specific reasons I wasn’t accepted. So, I went to the Toulouse Graduate School at the UNT to talk to them about it. (The tense shift in that sentence may be one reason I didn’t get accepted. My refusal to edit it is probably another.)

It’s a cool, sunny day in Denton, Texas. There isn’t a single cloud in the sky, fallen leaves are dancing along the ground, hipsters are walking their beards gaily down the sidewalk.

I approach the English building. It’s an old stone and brick building, three or four stories high. You can tell it’s one of the older buildings at UNT because it still retains some of the architecture from the early 1900’s. You can also tell because it really enjoys watching Matlock and thinks Betty White is hot.

A squirrel bounces in and out of my path. Flecks of sun splash out before me. (I just used the word “flecks.” That’s one reason I should have been accepted.)

I reach the entrance, pass through the double doors and find the office. I open the glass door and approach the secretary, who sits behind a large, black desk with built in partitions that are roughly the height of my collarbone. I lean on this, my chin resting on my fists.

“Hey there,” I say to the secretary. Her back is to me. She turns around to reveal a perfectly mediocre face and body. My violently sexual fantasies about this woman evaporate almost immediately.

“Hello, sir, how may I help you today?” She asks.

“Well, you can direct me to Dr. Woundwort’s office. I need to speak with him immediately. My name is Robert Kyle Irion.”

“Of course. One moment”

She lifts the phone and enters Woundwort’s extension. “Dr. Woundwort, I have someone here to see you. Robert Irion?” Talking on the other end. “He’ll see you now. 401 B. Upstairs, make your first right and it’s at the end of the hall. Just walk right in.”

“Thank you, ma’am.”

Soon, I’m in front of Woundwort’s door. Let’s do this, I think. I turn the knob and enter. The room is a bit cooler than the hallway. It’s lit adequately by natural light from the open window. Tree branches full of green and brown leaves wave in the spring breeze, casting shadows on the wall behind me. Probably on me too, because that’s how light works.

Dr. Woundwort is a large man with silver hair and a large, chiseled nose that fits in well with his stout jawline.

“Hell, Dr. Woundwort,” I say. (I meant to type “Hello.” I won’t edit it, though. I won’t ever edit it.) [Editor’s Note: Edit that.] [Kyle’s Note: Okay.] “Hello, Dr. Woundwort,” I say.

“Hello, Robert. What can I do for you today?”

“I want to discuss my rejection from the graduate school here.”

“All right,” he says. “Let me get your application out.” He turns in his swivel chair to a file cabinet at his back. He opens one of the lower drawers and I swear I hear wailing coming from its depths. He draws out my application, shuts the drawer, and the wailing ceases. “Okay, let’s see here.” He looks over a series of documents. I notice the red report cover I put my fiction sample in. “Well, let’s see. We have a grading system for the fiction samples and personal statements…” He looks over a few documents then speaks. “On your fiction sample you got…out of 300…sucks. Sucks out of 300. And on the personal statement, it seems the secretary for the panel just drew a sad face.”

“What? What does that mean?” He tosses me my fiction sample. The first three pages have been removed. “Why are there pages missing?”

“Oh,” Woundwort says, glancing over his desk at the sample, “Dr. Hurnden, a member of the graduate council, used those pages to blow his nose.”

“Oh…” I say, “He needed three pages to do that?”

“No. Dr. Masterson used two of the pages to clean up some cat vomit.”

My shoulders slump and my head hangs low. I have no words.

“If it makes you feel any better, Dr. Masterson said it was quite absorbent.”

Barely lifting my head, I mumble “Yea, yea…I uh, I appreciate that. I do.” I look up to Woundwort. He’s sitting at his desk, his chair leaned back.

“While you’re here,you might as well take this as well.” He leans forward and hands me another familiar piece of paper–the personal statement: a 500-word essay I was asked to write describing my reasons for wanting to continue studying literature and writing. Under the final line of the essay, the words “Yea, I’m so sure” had been written in red ink.

“Jesus,” I whisper to myself, totally defeated.

“Is that all, Mr. Irion?” Woundwort asks. His elbows now rest on his desk, hands clasped together. He’s smiling in a way that makes me want to hit him in the face with a hammer.

“Yes, that’s all,” I say, getting to my feet. “I think…”


“I think I’m glad I didn’t go to school here. You’re kind of a prick. Oh, and one more thing.” I reach to one of the walls, and remove a certificate for “Outstanding Achievement in the Study of Literature.” I inhale deeply and blow my nose into it. “That’s better,” I say, and toss the crumpled wad back into the office before turning to leave.

The End.

One Response to “Grad School”

  1. Mrs. Rodriguez May 29, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

    I Smile…TSU is lucky to be getting you!

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