Schrödinger and Other News

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I’ve had the feeling that the news would arrive today.  Therefore, I have been avoiding my school inbox all day.  I finally decided to be responsible to check it because I am also waiting for a manuscript I’m copy editing that was supposed to come last night and still wasn’t there this morning and I really need to get working on that.  As I feared, at the top of my inbox was an email from my adviser, subject: “Manuscript Response.”  Nothing in the subject or the body of the email that gmail previews gives me any clue as to whether or not I’ve passed.  Until I open that email and read her full response, I have simultaneously passed and failed my graduate degree.  As long as I wait, as long as I don’t open that email, I can go on believing that I’ve passed and I can hold onto hope.  But also, not knowing, not opening that email, holds me in a place of limbo.  Once I open that email, I will be forced to act in one way or another.  Once I open that email, I will know if my manuscript passed and I will know what I need to do next.  Either way, it’s going to be a difficult road.

If I passed, then I will finish out this semester.  I will finish my lengthy and emotionally raw Process Paper and the last bits of graduation paperwork.  I will go to Vermont in January and I will receive a document stating my completion of a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.  I will no longer be a student.  I will once again have to figure out what to do with my life, what my next step will be.  I haven’t had time to properly study for the GRE, so I won’t be starting a new program in the fall as I had hoped.  My manuscript, even passed, is no where near publishable, so I can’t jump into the world of being a full-time writer.  It’s completely open and it terrifies me.  I am a person who loves plans.  Everything is a plan.  But I don’t have a plan for when I finish this program.

If I failed, then I will be looking at an extension or a sixth semester.  I am exhausted.  As much as I love Goddard, I can’t push myself through another semester in this program and with all the work I’ve done this semester, I don’t see how any revisions I have left could require another full semester, not to mention all the paperwork I would have to repeat and the additional annotations I would have to do (I already had to do 3 more annotations than required to graduate by taking a fifth semester).  The only bonus of doing a full semester rather than an extension is that I am already cleared for a student loan to cover the semester while I would have to pay for an extension out of pocket.  Which brings us to the issue of an extension.  It’s a few thousand dollars that I absolutely do not have (I’m a starving artist on top of being a student; money’s a thing I kinda remember having in another life).  They do payment plans and I might be able to borrow the money elsewhere, but it will be tight no matter what I do.  An extension would also push of graduation.  Summer is a nice time for graduation, but all my friends will have graduated by then.  I was really looking forward to a January graduation because the last two holdouts from my original group that arrive January three years ago will be graduating then and I wanted to be able to walk with them.

As long as I don’t open the box, I don’t know.  I don’t have to move forward on one of these paths.  I can sit here in limbo and hope for an outcome and try to come up with more plans for either one, but it’s safer.  I have never been more afraid to open a box.

J

whats-in-the-box

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