The Quest for Higher Education

Last fall, a friend of mine convinced me to begin applying to MFA programs for creative writing. If you look at my resume or at the classes I took in university or at the extra-curriculars I joined, it’s obvious that writing was what I really wanted to do (even if I never said it out loud) despite majoring in Math and Linguistics. I got together my best fiction and my best plays and whatever money I could spare and sent out applications.

The prohibitive cost of graduate applications is a subject for another, much angrier post.

I’m aware that my chances to be placed in the programs I want are nowhere near 100%: I haven’t written as much as my peers, haven’t been as dedicated, haven’t honed my craft like they have. But still, it’s non-0. There’s a chance. And if nothing else, I figured, this can be my test run. My situation is currently comfortable enough that I can wait a year or two to get accepted if I need to. I’m extremely fortunate for that.

Despite my non-committal, flexible attitude, I had no idea what an emotional roller coaster this STUPID WAITING PROCESS would be.

Even though I am fully prepared for the worst, there’s a sliver of me that can’t help but be way, way too hopeful and every day I don’t hear back lengthens my anxious suffering. I don’t care if I’m accepted or rejected. I just want to know. Not knowing is surprisingly and increasingly hard.

I heard from an inside source (:P, not quite a secret) that decisions to one school would be made by February 9th and letters would come immediately that week. Well, it turns out that a faculty member was away for an extended period of time and couldn’t make decisions until much later. Some time next week, probably.  l That’s totally understandable. I can sympathize with that. But on the inside, I’m screaming. There’s an immediate sense of relief that comes after news like this. I DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT, NOT TODAY! But then, the looming sense of dread comes again in the week leading up to the new expected deadline.

As I told a friend yesterday, venting about this:

That news was like waiting to die and then being told my disease was in remission, but during the course of treatment, I’d developed another terminal disease and was still gonna die, just a little bit later than expected.

I am being a little dramatic? Yeah, way. But it’s interesting how powerful this anxiety can be, even when my whole future isn’t immediately riding on the decision.

I’ll hear from my schools eventually. But until then? I’ll be pulling my hair out every day.

The Quest for Higher Education

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