There's a few things that I can write about tonight, but I feel that my decision about graduate school deserves an entry. Looking back at the past several months, most of my entries have been about my applications, interviews, and decisions - and all the frustration and excitement and pain and joy that this process has brought me. Even though I have already shared some about this with my most faithful readers and friends, this application and decision saga deserves a conclusion. And the PhD program that I will undoubtedly write more about in the years to come deserves an introduction.
After looking at dozens of programs, applying to seven, interviewing at four, officially being accepted to two, recommendation letter requests, endless personal statement revising, transcript requests, countless visits to the post office and FedEx, five minutes of cursing a dead president, phone interviews, in person interviews, tours, margaritas, meeting dozens of fascinating persons, torn pantie hose, tears, laughter, lost hours of sleep, hours in the car, a few hours in the air, requesting advice from those I love and admire, and many, many prayers, I have been chosen by and have chosen to attend the Counseling Psychology PhD Program at Texas A&M!
I'm excited (and a little scared) about my decision and happy about how all these things have turned out :) As excited as I am now about A&M, six months ago I would have never imagined myself becoming an Aggie. Thinking metaphorically, if that school that had first rejected me was the heart breaker whom I had pined for, what was A&M? This program was the nice acquaintance whom I had always thought well of but never had made my heart pound. Then, unexpectedly, the acquaintance wanted to see me more and started showing an interest. At first tentative, I accepted the invitations and began to get to know this prospect. Surprisingly, this once almost overlooked suitor and I began to find more things in the common and start to hit it off - and along the way, my heart began to pound as excitement grew.
When I first made my decision about where to apply, I chose A&M simply because it was another program in Texas and I wanted to apply to a roughly even amount of instate and out of state programs. Before I'd really looked into the program and worked on my application, I thought of A&M as a back-up. When I began working on my application, I was happy to read about their emphasis on multiculturalism and delighted to see that a few of their faculty's research areas were genuine areas of interest for me. During my phone interview with them, I was surprised at what a great time I had talking to the first professor and how laidback and comfortable it felt. There were still some things about the phone conversation that made me feel uneasy, but I felt much more apprehension at the other schools where I interviewed. I enjoyed my interview with A&M, loved meeting the faculty and students, and was surprised to see that College Station is a more happenin' place than I had first imagined (please don't laugh, it's no city, but it's not completely podunk either) and that I enjoyed seeing the campus and learned that not all Aggie traditions are as weird and cultish as I had once thought. However, the more I hear about that dog Reveille, the more strange that tradition sounds.
Fast forward, and I declined offers from two other programs to attend the school that I originally thought I would only accept an invitation to if I was denied everywhere else. Perhaps in the months leading up to my move down to College Station I will write more about the many things that I'm looking forward to, but for now, I just want to reflect a little on the irony of it all. As much as I love to plan and want to have things figured out and have constants and feel some sense of control, retrospectively, I love life's surprises that keep me on my toes and remind me that I'm not so much in control.