Getting Wooed

The grand excitement of my day–aside from some frantic work on graduate fluids homework–came in the form of a series of e-mails from Duke University. The Mechanical Engineering and Material Science (MEMS) department has invited me to attend a special Graduate Visitation day next Friday. That, in itself, is not particularly exciting. I mean, the first thing I noticed in the e-mail is that they spelled my name incorrectly. What is exciting, however, is that they’re paying for the flight, the hotel (the Hilton!), the meals, the transportation–essentially everything except the Pay-Per-View. Now, Duke was not all that high on my list of Graduate Schools I Really, Really Want To Go To, and, in fact, I was rather put off by some less than responsive e-mails from them prior to the actual submission of my application. And that name thing was definitely a black mark, too. But this, this is some high class treatment. Something in that electronic bundle I sent them must have impressed them, and I doubt it was the GRE scores.

The itinerary is pretty well packed: welcoming assemblies, campus and department tours, meeting faculty, lunch with current graduate students, and even a women’s basketball game. For those who don’t know, I used to be a basketball player. Also, Duke is one of the best universities in the U.S. when it comes to basketball. So that should be fun.

The wisdom of having scheduled all of my classes Monday through Thursday is now apparent. I’m flying out after classes Thursday evening and have arranged my flight on Saturday such that I’ll be able to meet my family for lunch before flying back. Actually, my advisor said that he wouldn’t mind if I missed his (graduate-level) class for a trip like this one. He even offered to sit down with me and go over the entire missed lecture. I’m quite glad I went to ask him about it, actually, because my initial reaction upon getting the invitation was pretty much that I would feel bad about making them pay lots of money to bring me down there when I wasn’t really planning on going there. But, as my advisor pointed out, this is them trying to change my mind, and they deserve that chance.

One of the other e-mails from Duke today included another tidbit to make one ponder. It urged me to switch my application from the master’s track directly to the Ph.D. track because “an interested professor” suggested that this would provide greater funding opportunities. I could be mistaken, but that sounds kind of like, “There’s someone here who is hoping that being able to offer you more money will get you into his lab.”

It’s fun to be wooed.

4 Responses to “Getting Wooed”


  • You clever sexy clever thing. πŸ™‚

  • That’s awesome! I hope you have a good time. πŸ™‚

  • Ditto the above — congratulations!

    And I agree with your advisor. Presentation makes a huge difference, I found out, when you’re running around visiting places. I was really not that excited about CMU or Pittsburgh at this time last year, but then I was similarly treated at the open house, and… well, here I am πŸ™‚

  • Roswitha:

    *insert picture of tiny feet here* Take that, you!

    Amy:

    Thanks very much, and I hope to! If nothing else, I’ll enjoy the change of scenery. πŸ™‚

    Greg:

    I must confess that I still have serious doubts about Duke managing to completely change my mind, but I’m trying to keep an open mind about it. In any case, it should be nice to see the campus and meet some people there. That was what made the big difference with Case, so I can’t discount the possible effects of visiting.

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