At some point late in the semester I went to SL’s office hours again. My two questions were quickly answered, but it was clear he still had something he wanted to talk about.
“What are you doing next semester?” he asked. (I should have spotted the calculating gleam in his eye.)
“Gee, I don’t know,” I mumbled. “As an Open University student, I have to wait until the first day to register so it depends what classes have room in them…”
He shuffled through the morass of papers on his desk, found a form, and slapped it in front of me. “Here. Fill this out. You’re going to do research with me.” Well, really! (Note: he’s generally laid back rather than bossy–I think he’s just not very good about phrasing some things, including this…)
I have to say that I was pleased. I’d honestly never considered doing research in my quasi-student state. In fact, I wasn’t really sure it was legal. SL told me that if it wasn’t kosher with the administration, I could just do it unofficially–the real “proof” of doing research, after all, isn’t the credit on your transcript, but rather the publication. He told me I’d have to work hard to get the project done by May, but it was definitely doable in that timeframe. (As I said earlier, I’m not afraid of working my butt off.)
So: remember mistake #1? Wishing I’d not been so impatient to get into grad school? Well, here is one way in which extra time would have been helpful. By the time my research project was arranged, I’d already sent in my applications. Applications which said I’d never done any research. *sigh* If only I’d been willing to wait one more year, I would have had a much stronger application…