As promised, a reflection on the bit of old writing I recently shared, “Redefining Myself as Writer: Spring Term, 2013 — June 19, 2013.” Because it was weird reading that again!
I wrote that in the wake of having decided to not only pursue grad school, but also deciding to pursue a study abroad program in Sweden. Four years later and I have completed the study abroad program that I had then decided to do and I have received a round of rejections from seven different grad programs — all of the programs I applied to this year! Don’t worry, I’m fine with it. I did some self-pitying for a minute but I’m over it. Mostly this means I don’t have to move again so shortly after having moved for a term of service with AmeriCorps!
Four years later I am still planning on going to grad school. After receiving all those rejections, coupled with the insanity of the world today, I spent about a month very seriously considering just moving into a trailer in the mountains and spending a year almost totally cut off — a year of writing and working at a ropes course near to where I currently live. I’ve officially made this the backup plan in case I don’t get accepted to any grad schools during this second round. Applications will happen again, and hopefully I’ll have better luck this time (at least one of the programs I’m looking at for this coming round of applications accepts around 20 people instead of 6 to 8, so my chances are already up).
It is a very odd thing, though, to look back on that moment I decided to do the thing. Looking back on it now that moment of decision is so strange, almost dreamy. I clearly still didn’t fully believe in the possibility but was deciding to pursue it anyway. I think I must have felt the same about the study abroad program, but it was something I could actually act on — more immediately, anyway — so it wasn’t as bathed in a hazy, dream-like quality as grad school was.
Now grad school is the immediate goal. I’m completing a year of AmeriCorps to work off some of the undergrad debt and build skills I’ll need to be an effective GTF/GTA (while also doing some really important work some really impoverished youth — don’t think that that’s not also a high priority!) and since I didn’t get into grad school this year, I’ll be doing another year of this work to really build on/hone those skills. Everything I am doing right now will make me a more competitive and desirable applicant — and in the meantime, I’m trying desperately to get some more publication credits to list on my CV, along with working on revision after revision and trying to churn out new stories (even though I rarely have the time or the energy considering my AmeriCorps workload).
It is just such a strange feeling to look back at the time when the goal you’re currently grinding away at seemed so far away, so unreachable, so much more like a fantasy than a reality. Such is life, I suppose.