It's a wonder anybody [there] does anything but dream and remember, the place is so beautiful. One almost expects the people to sing instead of speaking. It is all like an opera.-William Yeats-
Sorry for my silence of late, but there have been some mighty changes afoot in my life. Well, actually there haven't been any changes yet, but until this morning I was waiting in a state of semi-paralyzed anxiety in my hopes to get the opportunity to have some mighty changes afoot in my life.
Wait, what am I talking about? Well, this:
That's right, folks.
I AM GRAD SCHOOL BOUND, BABY.
I applied to Oxford, the site of my junior year study abroad as an undergraduate, at what could only realistically be seen as the last possible second (think deciding-to-apply-2-weeks-before-the-last-round-deadline levels of last possible second). I did it largely as a test of my own commitment, and a challenge to myself to actually see an application through to the end (I had attempted to apply to American graduate schools several times through the fall and always trailed off to nothing after a few days of fervor), and applied in a field that seemed interesting but not like something that I had any reasonable chance of being accepted in (modern British history - a subject about which I know hilariously little as a French art history major and an American history minor). I wrote my personal statement largely about photography, and only tangentially tied my argument into history at the very end. I had no test scores and no relevant internship or job experience to bolster my resume. When the deadline came in early January, I sent it off with the grim certitude of a dead man. I felt sure that there was no chance I was getting in to one of the most famous and venerable universities in the world on qualifications as suspect as my own.
And yet, over the next few months, I allowed myself a brief daydream about Oxford every single day. Since I've experienced the university once before (albeit in the semi-outsider role of a two-term study abroad student, operating under the aegis of Stanford), the visions I had of myself as a real-life student there were painfully vivid: studying in the cool white window light of the RadCam, taking meals in the wood-paneled Harry Potter fantasy worlds that apparently pass for dining halls there, knocking back cellar-temp real British pints of Old Rosie under the low thatched roof of the Turf, playing croquet on the lawn of an impossibly perfect college quadrangle.
(Just some casual Oxford loveliness)
Though I had applied on a lark, these dreams made me realize that I wanted it so badly that it physically hurt. I honestly felt like my chances were so slim, however, that I beat myself up every time I even allowed a thought of the future to pass through my mind. I told almost no one of my application, even my own parents, for fear of invoking a bizarre jinx upon myself. For two months, I waited, hoped, prayed, feared.
It was too much. Starting in mid-February, a full month and a half before the stated dates for decision emails to start winging their way towards prospective applicants, I began getting a deep rumple of discomfort every single time I checked my email (which, for the record, I do a lot). I was fairly certain I was going to develop a serious stomach ulcer at the rate I was going. I found the blogs of other Oxford students and read them with a jangling mix of envy, hope, and fatalism. All these people whose lives I read about seemed so amazing and brilliant; meanwhile, I couldn't name more than 4 British Prime ministers and was attempting to gain admission to the UK's most prestigious university in a program(me) in British History. I felt like the sham of shams.
When the email came this morning (mercifully, two weeks earlier than I was expecting), my heart performed a series of calisthenics I'm not sure I've ever put it through before, screeching to a halt briefly before taking up an uncomfortable, adrenaline-pumping tattoo that oscillated sickeningly over the length of my entire body from my ears all the way to the tips of my toes. Shaking all over (was finding out about college this nerve-wracking??! I think I must have been more clueless about the importance of that situation), I dubiously clicked the document open.
No. Freakin. Way.
I'm still in a state of shock. I spent all day at work, while alternatively begging a faulty freight elevator not to trap me between floors and lugging heavy boxes from one Boston gallery to another, in a deep fog. How could this be real? How could my life be real?
What the *%$# had I just gotten myself into??!
There are an enormous amount of logistics to sort out between here and my matriculation in October, the cost of admission and the fate of the horses obviously vying for top spot as the biggest priorities and concerns. But those will have to wait for another day, because in the meantime, it's time to for one night of absolutely care-fee celebration!!! POP BOTTLES, BITCHES!!!
(Some bubbly and British beer to toast a successful application!)