Grad school, take two

by Kyla

In the end, I applied to one grad school. I hadn’t planned on it. Last semester, you may remember, I was sick, and mostly I was busy and overly stressed out, and I didn’t get around to even looking for grad schools, let alone applying for any. And this inadvertent failure felt quite peaceful to me. I will take a year off, I decided, and that felt good. If I find the perfect job, the job that just delights me, I might not apply to grad school at all, but if I am just paying the bills for the next year, perhaps I will revisit grad school later.

And then, around the end of January, I was killing one afternoon surfing the web, as one does, when I came across an MA program that was so perfect for me I burst into tears. I didn’t even know it was possible to get a degree in something so marvelous, and I did a little happy dance that I got to live in a world that was so immensely cool that one could get an MA degree in what I have been doing for fun for the entirety of my life.

The deadline for applications had come and gone by the time I happened across their webpage, but I was so delighted by the possibilities that I applied anyway. I applied anyway, knowing that I was weeks late, that my grades, while adequate, are by no means stellar; that is to say, I applied knowing that I would not get in.

And I have gone about my life. I happened across a posting for the perfect job for me, and I applied for it, desperately hoping they would see that it was the perfect job for me, too. I went to university and wrote silly blog posts and hung out with my children; for the first time in three years I began to look forward to school ending so that I might start to earn a little money, so that, for a while at least, the mental pressure I’ve been under these last years would begin to lift.

And then, last week, I got an email. It was an email from the MA program I applied for. It was an email informally letting me know I’d been accepted, and informally offering me a fair bit of cash.

I walked around for the next forty-eight hours feeling like I’d been hit by a mack truck. Of all the things that could occur in this world, I did not expect that.

There are reasons why I may not be able to go to this grad school and one indeed appears, at this moment, insurmountable to me. But in a way I am not, today, too worried about that. I love my life in Nanaimo; I am hopeful that I will be offered this wonderful job; and holy smokes, I got accepted into grad school, and holy smokes, they want to pay me to attend. For now, I get to just walk around in this amazing warping of the space-time continuum, a warping that has me in the beautiful position of, as my father put it, getting to choose between two really wonderful things, instead of one horrible thing and one unknown thing, which is where I was just over three years ago when I decided, with much trepidation, to come back to school.

I always thought grad school was what happened to other people. You know, other people who didn’t drop out of university at 18, or 19; people who had their stuff together; people who were smarter or more motivated or just, you know, better than me. But right now some place fabulous wants to pay me to come hang out with them for a little while. There is nothing more surreal nor more marvelous than that.