So much of this process has taken me for a ride. Every point where I felt as though I had everything sorted, a following decision or experience threw me into a different direction. It’s been such an emotional waiting process, but the results are in.
Result #1: Denied
Loyola Chicago responded first. I was in my Global Media class, half-listening to an engaging speaker while obsessively refreshing my email. I knew that day was decision day. Once the email I’d been waiting for populated my inbox, my heart leapt—this was it. After reading two sentences, I deflated and wished I hadn’t looked at it during class.
For the next few days, I went through many strong emotions. I started with acceptance, glided into anger, slipped into sadness, and circled back to acceptance again. I was angry because I felt limited by my socioeconomic status once again. “How will different voices make it into student affairs if we all fight each other for a handful of opportunities?” I asked myself. I was sad because it felt like the dream was over for me. After a week or so of sitting with the news, I had assumed a sad acceptance that graduate school may just not be for people like me. As was the case with my undergraduate school search process, brains and qualifications just weren’t enough.
Seeds of Hope
Some reminded me that I had yet to hear from Seattle University, but my spirit was already broken. I had resolved to come up with an alternative career path and was going into survival mode. The last thing I wanted to do was invest time in waiting for another disappointing response.
All my professors and mentors seemed genuinely upset that graduate school plans weren’t panning out for me, and I felt for them. I know my own potential and wished I could avoid answering the question, “So have you heard any news yet?” I saw enough excited eyes go dim in one week than I’d like to see in an entire lifetime. I went home every day feeling a little defeated. With a lump in my throat and a chip on my shoulder, I carried on with business as usual.
As the notification period began, however, a tiny glimmer of hope sprouted in the pit of my stomach. I still wanted to go to graduate school. I couldn’t fool myself into being okay with the way things were going.
Then I got a phone call.
10:07 AM, March 20th, 2015
That’s the time my phone started buzzing. I looked at the caller ID and my eyes widened: Seattle, Washington. I crossed myself and took a breath.
I had been the first round choice for an ARD (Assistant Resident Director) GAship at Seattle University. I did it. While I didn’t give an immediate answer on the phone, I called back within five days to accept the offer after speaking with family and friends.
Perhaps even more impactful was the phone call with my mom after I got the great news. I get emotional again just thinking about that conversation.
I’ve wanted to be an ARD for some time now, and I feel like I’ve made the right choice in committing to Seattle University. Although I had reservations about going to SU after I visited their Preview Days, deep reflection and dialogue with colleagues brought me to the undeniable feeling that this is where I should be. Now that things have been sorted, I have a firm sense of peace, a sensation I don’t think I’ve felt in years. It’s nice to be able to breathe easy for a bit.
Now that I know where I’m going, I will be dedicating this blog to my journey through my final semester of undergrad (1 month and 21 days left), the summer, and my entire graduate school journey.
Grad school can happen for people like me after all.