Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Goals 2010

My junior year of high school, I created a binder for colleges I was interested in. I made a chart that included the size of each school's student body, the average SAT score, the tuition, and the application deadline. When it came to where I went to school (and there was never a question of IF I would go to school), I was prepared to be extremely organized and pragmatic.

But I only visited three schools. Earlham was too flat and empty (never mind that it was during its winter break). Centre College in Kentucky made the mistake of bragging that its frat parties and sorority parties were open to everyone. When I visited Denison University for the first time with my friend (who also ended up at Denison) and her dad, I felt like I belonged there. There was something about the hilliness of the campus and the way students moved: they walked quickly, as if eager to get to class, and seemed to smile at and nod to each student that passed. It wasn't my binder that convinced me to choose this school; it was my intuition. Denison was the only school to which I applied.

Of course there will always be a logical component to our choices in life - I wouldn't have gone to Denison had I not gotten scholarships and support from my parents - but we should also trust our instincts. The times I think I've gone most astray are when I privileged logic over feeling, instead of relying on both.

So I'd like to jump in. A part of me wants to aim for July to begin my MFA, using the March deadline as motivation to get into gear. But balancing guts and logic, I think the better option is to start next winter - July is that deadline. This will give me time to figure out finances, which job (if either) I want to quit, and to write a great admissions essay. I also want to get down to Asheville, visit the campus and professors.

This feels right, and it makes sense for me. (I'm taking for granted that I'd be accepted -- eek!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen! To the paragraph about instincts. I think the biggest lesson I have learned during my own 20s is knowing when to quit, or to leave. I am also, however, learning to stop second-guessing those instincts that, despite their complications for my financial future, were right. This is the hardest part.

So many people my age over here in the UK are enjoying the fruits of good dual incomes, travelling the world and burning through the list of hip places to eat and drink in Edinburgh. I, shamefully, envy their choices, their security, their sense of entitlement to enjoyment (after all, they 'earned' it). But I know in my heart of hearts that these pleasures do not last. These are not the things which pierce the fabric of everyday life and let the eternal seep momentarily into the finite. These pleasures can facilitate these moments, but they are not necessary conduits. This is what I keep trying to remind myself.

Money--because I had it, spent it, and now owe loads of it--is loaded with tremendous guilt and shame. I hope in 2010 I can put it in its rightful place--outside of personal worth and achievement.

Much love,