Thursday, April 9, 2009
I only applied to one graduate school because it's the only one I could really see myself attending. It was a huge blow to my dreams and plans when I received notice from the anthropology department at Northern Arizona University that I had been placed on the wait list. But I hadn't exactly been rejected so I was able to maintain a sliver of confidence that there was still a chance. NAU is well known for their anthropology programs, it's location is ideal for studies revolving around the southwest, the programs are small and the faculty is topnotch. I had to get in.
To find out more information about my standing on the wait list I was directed to speak with the head of the anthropology department, Cathy Small, who also happens to be the author of a few books used by my professors at BYU-Hawaii. Talking with her was insightful and especially uplifting when she told me that I was third on the list and typically three accepted applicants defer. She told me to call back on April 6 -nearly a month later- to receive the final word.
Two days ago, Monday, April 6, I called and called but could not reach Dr. Small at her office. I left her a message and could do nothing more than hope that she would call back with some good news. Disappointed that my wait would continue another day I went to bed frustrated and worried. Around 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday she called. She said, "I'm afraid I don't have good news for you..." and the rest was a blur until she told me to call again in another month for the ultimate word. Sad and disappointed don't begin to describe my emotions, I was so confident (perhaps overly so) and reliant on believing that it would happen (The "Secret" strikes again!) that the rejection sort of came as a shock. The next hour was terrible. I couldn't even finish my bean and cheese chimichanga from Los Cerritos and slipped into a mad cleaning frenzy. I called home, told the news to my sister and hoped that the word would spread from there so that I wouldn't have to do it.
Throwing clothes into heaping dirty laundry piles in my room I contemplated my new future. Joining the Army had never sounded so appealing and the Peace Corps, finally a logical option. In the middle of a sickening thought of living off of minimum wage for the rest of my life my phone began to ring. It was Cathy Small calling. Again. I frantically began to wonder, and sweat. Could she have made a mistake, was I actually in? "Hello?" I said into the receiver. She said, "Hi Matt, it's Cathy again. You must be doing something right because in the last hour three people deferred and I'd like to offer you a seat in the program."
Pinching myself just to make sure it wasn't a dream, I quickly thanked her, hung up, did a series of victory dances, then looked around my room and laughed at how clean it was! 15 people were admitted to the program and by some crazy miracle I'm one of them. I couldn't be more excited and anxious to begin. I look forward to moving to Flagstaff in northern Arizona and starting over again. I'm certain this is why I felt like I should move to Arizona in the first place, I think just being here motivated me to get busy and do something about continuing my education.