Monday, December 17, 2007

Finally, Waiting

Last Wednesday after work, I FedExed the supplemental materials for my graduate school application to the University of Iowa. It was the last of such materials to be sent in this bizarre journey, and with the exception of forwarding some transcripts (which should have been received, but haven't been), all I have to do now is sit back and wait until mid-March.

The entire fall can be lumped into "applying to grad school," and no matter how minute I try to fashion my memories, the truth is that the process has consumed my entire being since August, when I first made the decision to apply. It make sense when you consider that I had to study for the GRE's, work on my manuscript, secure transcripts and recommendation letters, and finally complete the applications themselves. It gets more complicated when you consider that each school requested that certain materials be sent to the english department, while others needed to go to the admissions department of the arts and sciences/humanities school...and some things could be uploaded to the application while others needed to be mailed, and some recommendation letters could be uploaded, while others had to be hard copy and needed to be accompanied by forms -- in short, it required much more organization than I expected, and that organization required a painstaking attention to detail. I ultimately developed a system that worked for me, but it didn't happen overnight, and left me double-checking (read: second guessing) myself every step of the way.

I find it difficult to express how frustrating the process was, and I can't help but think why? There's no logical reason for it being so complicated, yet it was. And I just can't figure it out. I'm going to go ahead and assume that if I have to reapply next year (and if all of this turns out to be fruitless, then I will be reapplying), it will considerably less...taxing. I'll have another year's worth of material to submit, recent teachers from whom I can request rec letters, no GREs to take, and the applications themselves will be familiar (and those statements of purpose...well...they'll be on file). I honestly wonder if universities require so much as a means of keeping down their applicant pool. It would make sense - back when I considered applying in 2006, it was intimidating enough to make me reconsider my "plans." No one bends over backward for something their heart's only half-into.

I chose to work on my novel and submit the first two chapters as part of my applications. I completely broke my writing habits in that I wrote my opening over and over and over again. I lost count of my drafts, for better or worse, and while I'm quite happy with the finished product, I'm looking forward to writing again and not having to perfect any one thing. I'm looking forward to writing a rough draft, and I've been rolling a short story around in my head for months. I'm really, really excited about writing it, and I finally have the chance again.

There was plenty of good. I loved having to write as much as I did. It was good to get back in touch with the left side of my brain in having to go over all that math for the GRE. I got in touch with some old professors, and if nothing else, the whole process got me excited about being a writer. I wasn't seeking motivation, nor was there much of a doubt, but I really want to do this with my life, for the rest of my life.

I just turned twenty-five, and it feels like so much is changing. I have no idea what, but it's like when you're driving, and you're making this really tight turn on one of those on-ramps that's shaped in a wide loop. You're going so slow, but you keep teasing the engine because you know the road's about to straighten out. And you've got to fight against the force of gravity pushing against your body, and your foot just gets heavier and heavier, and the wheels keep gripping, and you keep pulling and the anticipation is just right there...

...until next time.

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