What Comes Next: Graduate School and Beyond

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by Brianna Albers |

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I survived my interview!

Funnily enough, we never even got to voice/video chat. My interviewer — the director of the entire mental health counseling program, apparently (cue me, having a mild anxiety attack) — asked me right away if we could conduct the interview through text chat. To which I said, absolutely. I don’t really have much interview experience, but I like to think it went well. He seemed impressed with my answers, and even said he couldn’t see any reason I wouldn’t get in, so I’m trying to take the whole thing as a win.

Now comes the hard part: waiting. Really, the whole process has felt incredibly speedy, but I still wish I didn’t have to wait another two weeks to hear back. I certainly have enough going on to keep myself occupied, but it’d be nice to know if I should go job hunting or something.

In any case, it’ll all be over soon, and I am relieved.

I was told the interview would be face-to-face, so I got all dressed up yesterday. Stuck a thousand bobby pins in my hair, did my makeup for the first time in I don’t know how long. I felt good. I felt prepared — that is, as prepared as I possibly could be. When it turned out that I’d gone to all that trouble for nothing, I found myself strangely glad that I had messed around with PhotoBooth on my dad’s computer for a couple of minutes before the interview. At least part of my graduate-school-interview self will be forever memorialized on Instagram.

My dad is confident I’ll get in, and danced around my room for a good five minutes once the interview was over, hooting and hollering and generally just being the goofball I love. I, on the other hand, am trying to be more cautious. I have a good feeling about it, but I also don’t want to get my hopes up. I’ll be heartbroken if I don’t get in. Talking to my interviewer about the program, and even just reading the words “mental health counseling,” just confirmed to me that I chose the right career path. To quote Martha from High School Musical, hip hop is my passion. You just have to replace hip hop with mental health.

As excited as I am, I’m also terrified. I got news a few weeks back that my total and permanent disability (TPD) discharge was approved, which means that all my undergraduate loans have essentially been forgiven. The downside is that none of my future loans can be discharged in the same way. I can still apply for student loans, but there’s no guarantee that a bank will lend me the money I need. I’m glad that I’ll be starting graduate school with a clean slate, but there’s definitely a lot more to consider now. My parents will help me however they can, so I’m not too worried, but it’s still a source of anxiety for me.

It feels like I’ve been winging things a lot lately, and graduate school is one of those things you don’t necessarily want to be all that cavalier about. And then there’s the actual classes to consider. None of my undergraduate courses required voice/video chat, but things might be different at the graduate level. Not to mention the two-week-long intensives, hosted on campus.

Like I told my parents at dinner, I don’t even know if I’m in yet, so I’m going to try to keep myself from freaking out until I know for sure. In the meantime, I’ll keep working as hard as I can — eyes up, and on the horizon. Whatever happens, my future awaits.


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