Last Tuesday, the 29th of April, I spent the day visiting the campus at Hamline University in St. Paul, and the surrounding neighborhood. I think I got a decent feel for the area, as I drove several dozen laps around the streets, and poked my head into some of the buildings on campus. On Wednesday, I had a chance to stop by the Creative Writing Program house, and met with my advisor there. Take a look…
I’m in the greater Twin Cities area this for a few days this week to check out my new campus and try to find a place to live come fall. The weather up here (and across the Dakotas, MN, and WI, really) is awful this week, but I brought a rain coat and waterproof shoes.
Tomorrow morning, I have a meeting set up with my faculty advisor at Hamline. It will be nice to meet some people who I’ll be working with and take in the campus before fall.
I think this whole business of moving and starting this new program is going to work out. I haven’t had occasion to write about every single minor epiphany that’s hit me in the last few weeks, but I have a strong feeling that I’ll enjoy living here well enough, and that I’m going to be successful in school. It feels like the right time to be here, and I feel like I’m in the right state of mind for it as well.
A couple months back I was talking about getting the first of a trio of grad school apps out, and in the intervening weeks, I’ve gotten rejected by one, accepted by another, and I’m still waiting on the last one. ((Sorry that most everyone who would read this blog already knows all about this crap from Bookface. It happens.))
When I got the message from Hamline that I’d been accepted it was a surreal experience. It’s been a long time since really fantastically awesome stuff happened to me, so I usually approach anything with low expectations. I didn’t jump up and down, but I did start shaking nervously, got a little light-headed, and had to go talk a walk. It was a good feeling.
More than anything, it gave me back the feeling that all the work I had done in previous programs was worth something — that someone other than me and the people closest to me felt like it mattered. One of the toughest things about the almost-nine-year career that I’ve had in financial aid administration has to do with identity — I always pushed back against the reality that I was an administrator, a bureaucrat; someone who processed data for a living. I’ve always wanted to give myself a creative title and label, but while I’ve been working here in fin aid, it seemed silly and even presumptuous to do so. That always made me feel guilty on one hand (for not pursuing what I really wanted with more fervor), and inferior to my peers on the other (because by rejecting the labels associated with my actual career, and not having license to take the label that I wanted, I felt like I was just treading water and skimming by while others made progress and did things).
That stuff is behind me now. I can begin to plan and look forward to a future that I truly want. I’ve been happier in the last few weeks than I’ve been since I finished my thesis. I have a long list of things that I need to start taking care of now (resigning from my job, finding a new place to live, moving, figuring out finances, getting my mind reconditioned for an academic living), but these are all things that I’m excited to do.