I hadn’t posted anything new for a few weeks because I really couldn’t think of anything interesting to write about. In my mind, nothing of note was going on. I have been reading more, there was a Snowpocalypse II in Baltimore. Other than that, only one major thing hung in the balance: my application status to University College Dublin’s Master of Public Health program.
I chose not to tell many people about the fact I had applied. Despite having convinced myself that I felt confident in my chances, there’s always some doubt that lurks in the background. I didn’t want to have to explain to a whole facebook of people that I didn’t get in. The pride card is best kept close to the vest.
[As an aside: I’m hoping to write another post about the application process because honestly, it was very vague and definitely contributed to my insecurity. There isn’t a huge audience for the topic, but I couldn’t find any guidance outside of the UCD site during the process. Call it contributing literature.]
The admissions for the graduate program are rolling and they claim to make decisions as soon as the applications are received. I wanted to apply early for the first-come, first-served aspect, but also because the perpetual planner in me needed something to occupy my restless mind. After submitting the application in late December, a month went by with no word. According to the website, status changes would be announced via email. But, I became antsy, so for kicks and grins about a week and a half ago, I logged into my account to look at the status. It had changed from “application complete” to “application complete and documents reviewed.” For a week, I checked obsessively every day, often several times.
It wasn’t until this past Friday that I received an email during the weekly outbreaks meeting at work. The email title “status change” glared at me from my phone’s screen. I felt sick. The pessimist in me told me it was definitely bad news. I sat through the hour-long meeting, stomach churning, negative thoughts crowding my brain. By the time I got back to my desk and logged into my UCD application, I felt like how the condemned must feel as they walk to the gallows; resigned to their fate but full of dread. When I saw the status of “offer” a wave of relief washed over me.
I felt giddy thinking about all the changes coming up, friends throughout Europe I would be reunited with, new people and experiences, but the financial implications that hang over my head serve to dampen the mood a bit. This won’t be my first international rodeo. My poor lack of planning before leaving for Spain cost me dearly (and literally). Aside from all the things that broke in the house not long after I left, I didn’t quite factor in all the additional costs — living expenses while looking for a place, essential items once you find it, first month’s rent and deposit. It furthermore didn’t help that I was spending each day in Madrid with new friends from the hostel, pretty much making it rain every night. Then, let’s not forget the robbery. Basically, my arrival in Spain was financially a disaster from which I am still working to recover. To try to avoid another repeat of that which will surely ruin me, I feel there is a race against the clock to save an appropriate amount and then some before I leave. That leads me to my next conundrum, though. The departure date.
While studying Spanish abroad in Santander, Spain in 2008, I met a whole host of colorful characters from all over the world. One of my favorites was an Italian who shared many things in common with me, including my name. Our wild banter and inside jokes often left our other friends confused; he was truly a kindred spirit and good friend. We managed to keep in touch off and on over the years and happily, met up in his current home of Brussels over my Easter break last year. Not much had changed although he was “adulting” a bit more seriously than I — working at an important job and living with a girl he was in love with. Two weeks ago, I got a facebook message from him with great news; he’s getting married! And not only that, but I’m invited to the wedding in Portugal this July. I would love nothing more than to celebrate his big day with him, and am determined to make it work, though it does present some new challenges. Classes don’t start until early September and originally, I wasn’t planning to get to Dublin until mid-August to find an apartment. I’ve thought up a couple of viable options that I’ll need to flesh out more over the coming weeks, but here’s a preview:
- Return to Madrid to teach private English classes/nanny for a month or so. I have friends who still teach who can hopefully pass along opportunities for working with kids from their schools. There were tons of under-the-table positions floating around before I left last year, so the market is surely there.
- Go full hippie and spend my time WWOOFing somewhere. Farms provide room and board for your free labor. I wouldn’t be making any money, but at least I wouldn’t be spending any. Plus, I could learn valuable farming skills and hang with undoubtedly interesting people. Even better if there are horses.
I have some uncertain times ahead but the thought of that makes me smile. To quote the man, the legend: