On this Friday, I will have submitted 5 graduate school applications. This is something I am both extremely happy and extremely nervous about. A year ago, I was in a similar position. I had two grad school apps in, was working on a third and thought I had my life all planned out. Little did I know that life was going to throw me a ton of curve balls and that the plan I had for myself in my head was not going to be how things turned out.
If you would have asked me what I would be doing at this point in time, I probably would have said that I would be finishing my first semester of grad school (hopefully UVM) and getting ready to head home for the holidays. I would have said that I would have an apartment that is fully decked out and 100% me. How wrong was I? At that moment, I could not even imagine not getting into programs/turning down offers to take a gap year. I could not fathom going through the process a second time.
However, this year has been one of amazing accomplishments. I learned that I can be self-sufficient. I completed original research that is getting recognition. I became the first member of my immediate family to graduate from college. I had a blast being an orientation advisor. I moved to a new city. In all of this, I also found the person I want to be. Life has a way of pushing you in the direction you are supposed to be going even if you think otherwise. Despite all of the disappointment and things not occurring in the way I wanted them to occur, the things that needed to happen happened. You learn more about yourself when you are going through hardships than you do at any other point in your life. Trust me, I have cried more this year than I can remember.
I am truly grateful for all of the experiences I’ve had this year and throughout my life. This year, I became an alumnus of a brotherhood that has given me so much (<3 Delta Lambda Phi); I saw one of my best friend become a Zeta; presented original research on queer people of color; got 5 tattoos and a piercing; saw my chapter become Chapter of the Year; and I reaffirmed that I’m going into the right field for me. The person I was a year ago was scared, unsure of himself, and terrified of the unknown. Today, I am more confident in myself. I know what I want, where I want to be, and I’m ok with not knowing what happens next. In all the experiences I’ve had in 2014, one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned is that when things don’t go your way just roll with it. Not everything is going to happen the way you want it, but you have to learn to adjust and keep going.
I may be going through the grad school search process for the second time, but this time I feel like I will have a much different result than last year. I’m focused, determined, and I know that I will be a huge asset wherever I go. I may not know which programs will send interview offers, but I know that I will end up where I am supposed to be. I also know that when the right program comes along I will know it. After Friday, I will have just one application left to submit and then the waiting game truly begins. Wish me luck.
My story’s not done. It has only just begun!