Thursday, 5 April 2012

Life on the wait list

a.m.k. got wait-listed at a school he'd really like to go to.

I heard somewhere that we spend 1/5 of our waking lives waiting in lines. My personal least favourite might be at the grocery store -- one of the many reasons why I refuse to grocery shop more than once every 2-3 months. But nobody ever likes waiting.

Being on a wait list is possibly the worst thing that can ever happen to you.

I know being on a waiting list is not the same as physically standing and waiting somewhere, but in some ways it's worse. Yes, I can go about my day and do other things while on this waiting list, unlike at the grocery store, but also unlike at the grocery store, I can't see any sign that the line is getting shorter. I don't have any idea about how much longer I will be stuck in it. I don't know if there is one other person on this list or one million.

Okay, so I did about a billion hours of research on wait lists at the school I am waiting on (everything short of stalking), and I know there are at least seven others waiting, which makes it likely that there are another seven out there that I couldn't find. For a program that admits 15 people annually, that's a big list. Will they tell me what position I am in line on this list? No. I merely have to wait it out, and I could be waiting all the way until September.

Of course, chances are, if I am in I will hear about it by the end of April. Most people have to decide where to go by about April 15th (some the 30th), so if people reject their offers to this school I should get a call sometime around then. Of course if I am not one of the first on the list I just won't get a call, forever to remain in waiting limbo.

At least if they had said no, I would know where I stood. I would know what I should be doing, what kind of job should I be looking for (4 month contract or 1 year and 4 month contract?), if I should continue looking into grad schools, if I should be writing entrance exams like my MCATs -- which I'll probably need to study for. Instead, I am either twiddling my thumbs hoping for my phone to buzz (and then hoping it's not my bank using yet another different number trying to catch me to pick up my phone telling me my chequing account is overdrawn) to hear that, Congratulations!: You are admitted to this school that didn't really want you in the first place, but the people we really wanted decided they had something better to do. Big ego boost. And of course I'll still jump in the air, let out a yell and dreamily exclaim "they want me! someone really wants me!"

a.m.k. waits for the bus to a good psych program.
OK, so I did get in somewhere else too, but that school also wants about 27 billion dollars in tuition, which is the kind of money I don't really have, which is why I only applied to programs that I would be funded at (if not full funding, close to it). And as great as it was to see my name in the same sentence as "outstanding candidate" and "accepted for admission", the fact that the letter didn't mention funding didn't bode well. Do I take out a ginormous loan to pursue an education that might not even land me a steady job?

The answer is no, but at least this school lets defer acceptance for a year in case nothing better comes along in the next round of applications -- granted that my Plan A doesn't turn from a wait-list into admittance. See where the not knowing gets annoying? At least someone is giving some time to figure out how I can pay the insane tuition fees. My backup school is actually willing to wait for me.

Being on a wait list is about as bad for someone's mental health as anything else in such a transitory period of life. I don't know what I want to do, and of the things I might or might not want to do, I don't know how to do them. I just want to be happy, not be bored, and make enough money to build my own house with a study, recording studio, publishing house, hot tub, and have a TV that I can watch while soaking in the bathtub. Is that too much to ask?

a.m.k. might go to grad school next year, or he might not. It's kind of out of his hands for now.

[Picture from Ghost World.]

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