I just want to find out if this is normal, and see if anyone has any advice.
I recently decided to apply for a PhD program, and have been trying to get letters of recommendation. I first went with the professors I thought could give me the best recommendations because they knew me best, but when a week went by with no answer to my emails I did some research and found both were on leave (one with no estimated date of return). I decided to go through all the courses I'd taken, and organize the contact information for each professor. I found that, out of 12 different professors, only five are still active at the university. And wouldn't you know it, but none of the professors who gave me A's are active! (I know that grades aren't the most important thing in a letter of recommendation, I just thought it was an extra weird bit that all my B and B+ professors were still teaching).
I worked full-time while getting my MA, and so I didn't go to office hours or schmooze with the professors before or after class (because I was coming straight from work with no time to spare, and after class I was either going right back to work or tired because it was late). I participated in classes, but I don't think any professor would say they know me well. Am I screwed as far as getting into a PhD program, even if I get recommendations about my excellent academic potential or whatever, if the letters aren't personal?