I had to go back to college. Sitting at home undertaking a fruitless job search each day was leading me to an early grave. I had to make the most of it to take this time to get my degree. Then I would be that much more marketable when this job market finally started to recover.
I got busy. I wrote my essay and applied to the school of communications at St. Rose. I looked over the courses. Some of them looked very interesting. It was scary though. What did I know about Communications? Absolutely nothing.
So I made my list of pros and cons of entering the communications program.
1) Very interesting classes.
2) Professional applicability. Every profession requires excellent communication skills. I just wasn’t jazzed about it yet.
3) I could earn my degree much quicker in communications than in Creative Writing. Got to get back to work. Darn mortgage.
1) This felt an awful lot like selling myself short. I am really against that.
2) I don’t like putting my writing dream further on the back burner. Not getting any younger Alicia. If not now, then when?
3) If I did enter the communications program, I would be depriving myself of the dazzling future interview question: “I see you have a degree in Creative Writing. Interesting. Please explain how this will help you in this Human Resources Position.”
I submitted my application, but every day I kept second guessing myself. Should I just go back and take a few more classes in English and follow my heart? I’d have to take British Literature (yuck), a Shakespeare course (ugh) and some other equally dreary classes in order to even be considered into the program. While I may be a prolific reader by some standards I stick to the latest in best-selling fiction, whatever book a friend has passed along to me, the Oprah Magazine and the Chinese take-out menus. I just wanted to learn how to be a writer; I didn’t really feel like reliving my high school English classes. I skipped most of them for a reason.
But man, I really wanted to write. Did I make the right choice to apply to the Communications program?
We all deserve a big smack in the face once in a while to ground us in reality. That smack came for me when a pleasant woman from The Saint Rose Graduate Admissions Office called me. She was so polite but I got the feeling that she wanted to say something like, “Did you really think you could get into the Creative Writing program here? Seriously?”
She didn’t say that. She didn’t even tell me that I was denied. She simply stated that I didn’t have enough credits in English to go directly into the Creative Writing Program. She told me that I could take a few more undergrad classes to be considered. Yuck.
I am sure this denial had nothing to do with my WINNING (and not at all arrogant or delusional) essay that I wrote to the admissions office. Nah. Couldn’t be.
However, she was so kind. She suggested if I was interested in writing, I should take a serious look at the communications program that was really writing intensive. All I had to do was write a new essay to say why I would like to enter the Communications program to be considered for acceptance.
Bummer. Now what?
I wonder. If it weren’t for tyrannical bosses, crazy co-workers, dead-end jobs and unemployment how many of us would start or return to college after being out of the routine for so many years? I guess some good has to come from all dreadful things.
I am in the last category. As of July of last year I found myself unemployed.
I took all the requisite actions being unemployed.
I figure that there are four stages.
1) Use all the panic you have about newly unemployed status as fuel to organize your house.
2) Make plans for the future.
3) Take a flippin vacation. Not in the Bahamas. Just the kind where you don’t pick up the phone so much for a week. You want to acclimate yourself to that silence if you can’t afford the phone bill in the near future.
4) Get on with your life.
I went through these pretty quickly.
In phase two, I made plans to go back to school. In phase three I dreamt about how it would feel to go back to school. In phase four I finally applied and got the process going.
I was excited. I would finally go back to school for English with a Creative Writing Concentration. Man, I feel like I have wanted to major in English since I was in 8th grade and took Mr. Rathgab’s “Creative Writing” course.
Little did I know that the universe had a different route mapped out for me.