sexta-feira, 11 de janeiro de 2013

Letter of Recommendation for Philosophy PhD

Dear Board of Admissions,

I'm writing this letter on behalf of J---. I think you should accept him to your Philosophy PhD program.

Over his 9-year long undergrad studies, J--- displayed many traits that put him clearly outside the curve. A bit older than  his colleagues when he got accepted, since he took 3 years right after high-school to, as he told me, "enjoy life", his mental age, on the other hand, was several years younger. He had considerable difficulty concentrating on anything, and his only ambition in life seemed to be spending all day playing soccer at the university's sports club. The first time I saw him, what first came to my attention was his infantile sense of humor; what else can I call a 20-year old who, with a clever smile on his face, tried to put a "farting cushion" on my chair? After this failed attempt, I never saw him until the end of the semester; I guess he was playing soccer and sunbathing. When the final exams came, he cheated on all of them and got As (keep that in mind when evaluating his undergrad transcripts; as far as I'm aware, he cheated on every single test he ever took).

It would be a stretch to ascribe to him a superior, or even above average, intellect. Over the years I've had many students who, though mediocre at first, displayed tremendous potential if only we could tap it. That is clearly not J---'s case. Even at its most concentrated and alert, he possesses a C- mental capacity; perhaps C.

With that said, it's incredible to see how far he came during his undergrad years. As the course progressed, he let go of his sports, turning to illegal drugs instead. I once found him smoking pot on the corridor, giggling, his lost eyes gazing stupidly at the opposite wall. It was around this time that, seeing his dirty clothes that he never seemed to change, that I began suspecting he had been sleeping every night on campus premises. It was only in March of this year, after accepting to be his Master's supervisor, that I confirmed this hypothesis, though. It seems he has become friends with a group of beggars who roam the campus at night, and sleeps with them and the stray dogs who live on the gardens.

From marijuana he quickly turned to crack-cocaine.