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Ask Nutty B!

By Bruce Wu

Nutty B is currently a graduate student at MIT who tries to give his two cents’ worth on anything and everything. Please e-mail him with whatever question you would like someone to listen to, and give him an excuse to procrastinate at 3:00 a.m. Please send all questions to

Dear Nutty B,

I’m a righty. However, I have to switch to my left arm as my major power force, despite that my right arm remains intact. Any advice on finishing my PhD in this situation?

—Mr. Lucky Charm

Dear Mr. Lucky Charm,

Is this some sort of test of my wittiness and/or nuttiness to see if I can answer a question without having enough info to understand it? I have to say this is one of the weirdest questions I’ve ever gotten, and one of those I can’t really answer unless you give me more information. Why do you “now have to switch to [your] left arm,” if everything is OK with your right one? Does this really have to do with your arm, or is it actually about your mind? It’s OK either way. If your right arm is physically hurt, then you should see a medical doctor. If it’s the latter, well, that’s a different story.

An arm as a power force for finishing your PhD? Isn’t your brain supposed to be your power force, complemented by the rest of your body? What kind of PhD were you doing that required only your right hand? Wait, I don’t want to know …

At any rate, if you are “switching” just for the sake of switching, then you can always switch back, can’t you? As for finishing your PhD, I am sure with a sharp mind like yours, you will be fine with either arm!

Dear Nutty B,

I am a senior, and I am in the process of applying for medical school. I sent in all my application materials on time. It’s almost April now, and I have not even heard back from one school. What’s going on? My parents think I am hiding from them, but what can I tell them if none of the 20 schools I applied to has got back to me? What’s going on? Was your grad school application experience like this?

— Veronica

Dear Veronica,

Twenty schools and none has got back to you?? Coincidentally, the owl I used to deliver my report to my thesis committee apparently got lost a few days ago, so the committee members never got it (at least that’s how I explained it to them).

I am quite sure our situations are very different. I didn’t apply to medical school, but I believe the application processes are quite different. Also, unless you’re waiting-for-decision time also involves spell casting, voodoo doll-making, and wand waving, I can guarantee that our personal experiences were quite different as well.

Why don’t you make a call to check the status, just to make sure you aren’t one of the lucky ones who have some materials missing or a file that was submitted but never received? Don’t call too often, though, or else the admission office people might go nuts, and we don’t want that! Before you make any call, I suggest that you re-check and double check the review timeline for each school. Every school in the U.S. might have its own timeline in terms of admission reviewing process, and if you’ve also applied to some medical schools in Central America, Africa, or somewhere in the Middle East, the system might be totally different.

Who knows? Perhaps by the time you see this column, the letters will start to arrive. Be patient, but do make sure your file is complete so you won’t be at any disadvantage. Good luck!