By Sarah Fader
Published February 13, 2012


In the beginning there was only one school in my mind, my alma mater. That’s where I saw myself going, and I figured if I went there for undergraduate, there’s a good chance I might get in for graduate school!
Then, I spoke with Sandra, from the Department of Education, and she scared the living daylights out of me.
“You only applied to “Amazing University?” You might want to apply to more than one school. What happens if you don’t get into “Amazing University?” Then what?”
I didn’t have an answer for her, because I was certain, in a deluded fake arrogant sort of way, that I most certainly would get into Amazing University, simply because that’s where I wanted to go.
Oh Sandra, I thought to myself, they know me at Amazing University. I mean, I went there for my bachelor’s. I had a decent GPA. I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t want me back. After all, I am awesome.
But then Sandra dug the sword deeper into my chest.
“You know, you are competing with recent college graduates, 22 years olds that have bachelor's degrees in speech, and some students that have taken the prerequisites. Many of them have 4.0 GPAs, and they have been working very hard to get to graduate school. Do you know how competitive this program is?”
“Yes…” I said, starting to sweat profusely. I could feed beads of sweat dripping down my forehead as Sandra outlined all the reasons that I potentially would not get into Amazing University.
“So, you’re saying that I should apply to other schools.”
“Yes, that is exactly what I’m saying to you.” Sandra said annunciating each syllable so that it stuck in my head.
I’m not 22 years old, I thought to myself, I haven’t done any prerequisites, but I do have life experience. I’m struggling to raise my own two children, and I’ve worked in the public schools system as a substitute teacher  with children that were in need of various interventions, some of which included speech therapy. To a great extent, I know what’s out there, and I am passionate about making a change. Have I taken Anatomy and Physiology yet? No, but I want to. I want to learn about the way the body works, and how I can help children who need help learning to talk.
I wish admission to graduate school was tangible, like something you could buy at the store. Oh, admission to Amazing University? Sure, aisle nine, next to the produce.
All you had to do was grab it off the shelf.
Unfortunately, getting into grad school is abstract, and is dependent upon many outside factors that are out of my control.
So I made a choice. One morning, when Ari was watching an episode of Dino Dan, I applied to a second university. I don’t know whether it was the dinosaurs that inspired me, but I edited all my admissions material to match the school’s name, and sent in every thing but the $40 application fee.
Another morning, while Ari was watching Blue’s Clues, Samara was napping, and I was chatting on the phone with my ex-boyfriend about his son, I applied to a third grad program. I didn’t think about it, I just let me fingers type up the admissions materials and hypnotically applied to graduate school. I completed everything except for the $125 application fee.
I don’t know what’s next. I don’t know if I’ll get in. But I guess the dinosaurs and I will find out.
 

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