So. It’s all over. I’ve heard from every school I’ve applied to,* and I know what I’m doing. And frankly I’m surprised that I have any Facebook friends left after my months of incoherent ranting. But I have some previously unpublished stories.

Two weeks ago, on Monday morning, I found out that I didn’t get into Northwestern. I am not just saying this so you don’t pity me- I did not expect to get into Northwestern. It was a PhD program, required full funding, they only take about 15 people a year, and they’re obviously pulling from a prestigious pool.

However. This was, at the time, the only decision of which I’d been notified. So even though it was my long shot, I was rather upset. It was, to put it nicely, a not very nice morning for me. I didn’t tell anybody for a few hours, and then I told my mom.

She did the following (in order):

  • offered to drive to Evanston and attack them
  • told me they were ridiculous for not accepting me because I would have been an asset to their program
  • told me they were ridiculous for not accepting me because I am so pretty that they could have put me on the brochure
  • told me that she fully anticipated my publishing a definitive book on some subject
  • she wasn’t sure which one, but dammit, it would be published!
  • bought me a dress

It was a very appropriate response and I loved her for it.

A few hours later, on Monday afternoon, I received an email saying that I had been admitted to UWM. Incidentally, my mom cried and screamed and laughed with me but stuck by her earlier assertions that Northwestern would have been blessed to have me. And I loved her for it.

Tuesday, I was walking from class and was idly checking my email on my phone. And there was an email from the History Department. And the subject line said, “Funding for your MA.”

I clicked on it, because I figured it was some dumb thing about applying for a grant that I wouldn’t get because I’m a little white girl from the North Shore. But it wasn’t. It began by saying, “We’re pleased to offer you a 50% TA position in the Fall of 2010.”

Um. I don’t know if you’ve ever received life-changing news via iPhone, but it’s massively unsettling. Because the screen is really tiny and small and FREAKING TINY and I don’t know what that whole 50% thing means but holy shit I DO know what TA means and oh, my God, I have to call my mommy!

So I did. And then I figured out that the 50% thing is the best I could get (yes) and it’s full tuition (oh my God, yes!) and I can, like, buy a car and stuff like a real. live. adult. And then we cried together over the phone because of the whole real live adult thing and I was supposed to be severely developmentally disabled and I’m not and I can move into Grandpa’s at least conceivably and OH I CAN QUIT MY JOB AND NOT WORK WEEKENDS ANYMORE.**

Internets. Do you know what this means? I can have Saturdays. And Sundays. Off. Like an adult. *is dead with the happiness*

I did, however, still have to wait to hear from Marquette. I was really torn, because I figured that they wouldn’t give me a better deal (they’d have to offer me full tuition and a larger living stipend, which was unlikely), but I felt like I’d invested too much energy in praying to get into Marquette to just turn them down before I even knew if I got accepted.

So, I was kind of exhausted and drained and I really didn’t want to go to class, but I figured the day I was offered an academic position was a really bad day to start skipping classes. So I went. About ten minutes in, I got a text from my mom- “Are you in class? If you are, call when you get out. “

I texted back that I was, but she could text me whatever she needed. I didn’t get a text, and I figured it was because my mother really hates texting and constantly whines about the teeny numbers like she was 84 and she’s really not, look, I know that we have babies ridiculously late in our family, but she’s a perfectly normal age to figure out cell phones.

An hour later I called her from my boss’ my office. She kind of paused and said, “A situation has arisen that we never talked about.”

I thought someone had died.

She continued, “There’s an envelope from Marquette here.”

Oh. Good. Lord. Seriously? After THREE AND A HALF MONTHS you have to come today? When I won’t be home until ten?

“Is it a big envelope or a little envelope?” I asked.

“Little.” She sounded really apologetic. Okay. Okay. I couldn’t not find out. I still had a bunch of things to do that day, and I wasn’t going to be home for hours. I couldn’t wait until ten o’clock at night knowing that my last school, the school I really wanted to go to, had made a decision that was sitting on my counter and I was just going to ignore it. And despite the fact that we hadn’t talked about it, I had thought about this. I just…hadn’t figured out what I wanted her to do.

“Open it. The whole TA thing was so amazing this morning, I think I’ll be able to handle it.” I really didn’t think that. I didn’t know how much it would suck to hear bad news like that over the phone.


I’m pretty sure I blacked out for a second there.

So we screamed and cried and laughed a little bit more, but this time it was kind of bittersweet because ugh, I had a decision to make and I really, really hate decisions. Which is why I hadn’t been able to figure out if I wanted to know that a decision came when I wasn’t at home.

I hung up and vowed to think about it. The finances were significantly better from UWM, but Marquette was…Marquette. I turned them down for undergrad because there was no way to make it work. And as much as I love UWM and as happy as I am here, I’ve always kind of regretted that a little bit.

Then my nose started to bleed.

That has nothing to do with anything except to illustrate how poorly my body handles stress. NOSE BLEED. I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING.

I went to Mass, because I felt like that day above all others I needed to thank God for everything He had done for me. Because for all the the screamy cryiness on the phone with my mom, this was remarkable. I wasn’t supposed to be able to do this. And the fact that I did? Was a miracle.

Anyway, after the nose bleed it gets pretty boring. I had to come to terms with the fact that I was going to turn down Marquette- again. That was really hard. But my mom (are you sensing a theme? It’s a damn good thing you lived, woman, or I wouldn’t have made it through high school yet!) and I talked about it (in an eerily similar tableau as we talked about my decisions about Grafton High and Concordia seven and eight years ago), and yes, this is the best thing for.

SO. I’m going to UWM. I’m going to be a TA. And I may even get some Facebook stalkers. That’s pretty exciting.

*Except Cardinal Stritch. And they’re dumb and I hate them. *sticks out tongue*

**I counted. 18 more weekends. YES.


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