When I applied to undergrad, I only sent in one application. I didn’t have a top three, a top two, or a safety school. I picked one college and hoped for the best. I don’t really remember feeling nervous that I wouldn’t get accepted, but it was a long time ago and I have a terrible memory.
I was excited when I got that envelope in the mail. I was a little relieved, but I had also pretty much expected it. Not because I was confident about myself, but because I hadn’t really given myself another option. I had no plan B. If they hadn’t accepted me, I would have missed the deadlines for all other colleges and would have needed a plan B. But I didn’t have one.
I felt like history was repeating itself as I clicked SUBMIT on my application for graduate school. Except there was a lot less paper involved.
I mainly chose this university because I am an employee and will receive grant-in-aid to help cover tuition costs. I submitted zero other applications and have no plan B. This time around it’s a little different because I still have a job and a life and can continue to survive without that acceptance letter. But it’s the same idea. There is no safety school. There was really no decision on my part except to upload all of those documents, ask for those letters, and pay the application fee. I didn’t choose the university because they have the best program or will offer the best experience (although it might; last semester’s class wasn’t terrible). In all honesty, I chose this university because I can’t afford to go anywhere else.
Of course, none of this is meant to cast negativity over my journey to grad school. I only mention all this to show how similar my life is to 2001 when I was graduating high school and making plans for the “rest of my life.” So much has changed, and I often feel like a completely different person. But I think, instead, I am the same person, but now I actually know and accept myself as I am.
I am not a planner. I don’t choose safety schools. I make small decisions and then see what other larger paths they lead me down.
It’s turned out pretty good. I’ve had life experiences that weren’t so great, but I’ve also had some that were terrific.
Even if I didn’t actively choose this university, I feel like it’s right where I’m supposed to be. I’m proud to be a part of the university as a staff member, and getting a degree from it would be amazing. The program has great faculty members, and maybe after a few classes I might actually start interacting with my peers. Especially once we get to those workshop classes!
Just like all those years ago, there’s a big part of me that is just kind of assuming I’ll get in. Not because I’m overly confident in my application, but because that’s just how my life has worked out.
And even if I chose the university for financial reasons, I chose my undergrad college for who-knows-why and it ended up being a great place for me. This could turn out the same way. It has the potential to be even greater.