Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Graduate School

Back in December I submitted an application to the MS in Nutrition and the GCPD programs at UW. Then I waited and waited to hear something. I finally got an email saying they wanted to schedule a phone interview. Yay, exciting! So I did the phone interview, felt I did horribly (having never done a phone interview before), and figured if it were me making the decision I wouldn't accept me based on that interview. But hope springs eternal or something, so I still eagerly waited to hear something. Finally an envelope came. I was accepted into the MS program! I was wait-listed for the GCPD program. Cue sadness and depression and general feeling horrible about myself, despite knowing when I applied that there were only 12 spots in this program and that my chances might not be great.

I had to figure out what to do. There is no route to the RD at UW except through the GCPD program. And while you can find jobs with just the MS in Nutrition, I came away from talking to those in the field pretty confident that it would be much more difficult to get a job without the RD. Lots of people encouraged me to start the MS anyway and then reapply. But they don't give any particular priority to those students, though those students do have the advantage of getting to know the faculty a bit before reapplying. Sometimes spots open up in the summer or mid-year, but they obviously couldn't predict if that would happen. They can only offer those spots to people in the MS or MPH programs, so if I declined or deferred the MS offer I'd be out of the running should that happen. But that stuff wasn't enough to convince me that the financial risk of starting without knowing I'd get into the GCPD was worth it. I took lots of time to come to my decision, partly hoping that I'd get in off the wait-list in that time, and the day before the decision deadline I emailed the MS program and asked if I could defer my acceptance for a year. And they confirmed that they'd taken care of that, and I went on my less-than-merry way.

I started figuring out what the next year would look like, trying to make some connections so I could volunteer with dietitians in a clinic and hoping I could maybe get some part-time work as a dietary aide through someone from one of my prereq. classes. And I told people in my orchestra that I'd be happy to join the orchestra board next year. I looked on the bright side - I knew some things that the program had wanted to see in my application and had some ideas of how to rewrite my essays. And I figured that if I got in the next time around this way Mal would be in Kindergarten when I was starting the program, so the childcare thing would maybe be easier to figure out. But I wasn't about to get hopeful that I'd get in on my second try, so I was also trying to come up with backup plans (learn to code? take a few more prereqs and a different entrance exam and try for pharmacy school? just accept that I will fail at doing anything career-wise with my life?). Despite how that previous sentence makes it sound, I was feeling pretty good about what I had lined up for the next year.

And then this past Friday I opened up my email after finishing teaching a Cooking Matters class and saw an email from the UW program. I'm really not sure what I thought it was. I've been taking an online class through UW this quarter, so it kind of processed as something from that, even though it clearly wasn't. Opened it up and saw that they were offering me a spot in the GCPD program for the fall. And still couldn't process it. So I forwarded the email to Ryan. And then he didn't instantly respond, so I called him. And we chatted briefly and then I drove home. I called my mom and texted some with Ryan and just tried to process it all. But then I realized the offer was contingent on having accepted the MS offer, so I was a little confused as to why I'd been sent the offer in the first place since I'd deferred.

I emailed the MS program and the GCPD program asking if it was possible to change my status. They emailed back and informed me that my deferral request wasn't fully processed yet, so I was eligible to accept both offers still. Weird, that request was made quite a while ago. But okay, worked out in my favor. So now I was processing the fact that entering this program in the fall is a very real possibility. Text with my sister and text some local friends. And talk to my mom some more. And was irrationally annoyed that Ryan wasn't home yet - not with him, just with the fact that instantaneous transport isn't a thing we are capable of, because I really needed to talk with him and figure this out together.

When he did get home we both agreed that I needed to go for it. I took some time today to start figuring out some financial stuff before officially accepting (though sending an email doesn't feel all that official). I'm still having a hard time believing this is happening. I've read the initial email multiple times, just to make sure it actually says what I think it says. And even today, it took a few hours to hear back after I emailed the acceptance, so a part of me couldn't help wondering if it was all some big mistake and they were scrambling around trying to figure out how they accidentally offered someone a spot they don't have. But eventually both programs emailed back and now I've been inundated with things to do since I have to play a bit of catch-up. And it's still sinking in a bit, and I'm more than a little nervous about balancing school and family and orchestra, but I'm definitely starting to get excited as well.


Nancy said...

Exciting times! Good luck getting everything figured out! I'm sure you'll do great! :)

Myrna said...

Okay, I can't remember what GCPD means. I googled it and got "Gotham City Police Department." And I don't think that goes well with a Master of Science, so...congratulations, but what is it again?

Erin said...

Haha, that's awesome. It stands for graduate coordinated program in dietetics. So basically it's an RD training program. They roll a few extra classes as well as internship experience into the two years of the master's.

Alanna said...

Congratulations!!!!! That's amazing!!!! And I loved that you shared your thought processing all along the way-- you remind me of craig. I'm more of a "jump in head first and assume somehow I'll land on my feet" type, but if the whole world was made up with people like that, I think we'd be in trouble. Of COURSE they want you and of COURSE you'll do great and this will be the next step to an awesome and I hope fulfilling career! Congratulations!!!!

Momof8 said...

So very proud of you! I'm a little surprised, with you, in the way you were offered the opportunity to enroll in the program. I'm thinking they held on to your deferment on purpose to reduce red tape in case one of the 12 slots opened up for you. Wish you lived closer so I could help with the kids, but I'm confident you'll figure things out.