I have been a student forever. I went straight through school, spending more time than one should in college (5 1/2 years just for a BA), and then went straight into massage school. My plan was to immediately continue from there, but I hit a wall and had to rest my brain for a few years. After five years I started taking some “enrichment” classes to see if my brain cells still worked. Then I had a baby and realized that a) my brain cells had not only shrunk, but some of them had turned into slow reacting goo, and b) I needed to start towards a new career because I was making less than my kid’s babysitters. I decided on Anthropology first, but after taking a credit class in that (for $440) I changed my mind to Occupational Therapy. I went over the requirement list time and again, knocking off Intro to Psych ($550). I went to visit the school and realized it was all wrong. I liked the idea of Occupational Therapy, but I have been living in a tree-hugging bubble where vegetarians are hiccocrites because they eat cheese, with touchy feely people surrounding me for 18 years. It felt so clinical. I changed my mind to Art Therapy and found I had two more prerequisites to take, Developmental Psychology ($675) and The Psychology of Personality ($750). All of these courses have been over the last six years. They all started at $440 six years ago. Even a math nob can see that is such a huge increase in price. We’re all going to have to become hookers or reality t.v. stars to send our kids to college. In the meantime, I was ready to interview for the Art Therapy program.
First I spent four months tuning up my portfolio of art. I had to add some sculpture, and my idea of sculpture is a pinch pot. I’m really not skilled at sculpture (though my pinch pots have been praised by many a grade school art teacher). I asked for help. I learned how to make cement leaves (huge leaves, super cool). I worked on my essay. I asked for more help. My friends proofread it. I retyped it. Maybe five times. It was good. Made my husband cry.
I was ready.
I was called in to interview (made the first cut). To be honest I had never been scared of being accepted because it’s a private school and it costs as much as a Lamborghini to go there. I figured that if the GRE wasn’t required, and I was willing to take out massive student loans, then they be thrilled to have me. What I didn’t know is that this year, for some reason, everyone had the same idea. They had their biggest pool of applicants EVER. uh oh.
I went in for my one-on-one interview. The head of the department sat down with me. We went through my portfolio and talked about certain pieces. Then she asked if I was going to be able to handle the rigorous schedule for three years.
“It’ll change you. It changed me. I would go home at night and have no idea who I was anymore, and my husband and kids would expect me to make dinner while I tried to figure out who I was.”
Well, my husband and kid don’t expect a lot of meals from me, so I’m safe there. I’m also not 20. I have an idea of who I am. I’ve seen some things. Okay, most of them were in movies, but I’ve seen some things.
“What is going to happen if you can’t come to terms with what’s happening and your family needs you?”
“Well, I’m sure this program will ‘change me.’ That’s inevitable with whatever you do in life. If things don’t change you, you aren’t human. But I feel that I am a happy person. I tend not to mope. I have figured this out about myself and I am okay with being happy. I kind of have a bubble and I like my bubble.”
The interviewer responds, “Well, we’re going to do our best to pop that bubble, if you get into this program.” I swear, she smiled at me with an evil twinkle in her eye. Diabolical!
Huh? Why would someone want to pop my bubble? You can join it, if you’d like, but I’d rather you not pop it. It’s like an amoeba, so it’ll envelope you with pink shiny stickiness.
“Well, it may get popped. I understand that, but I’ll just duct tape it back together.”
I’m thinking, argh. Why did I bring up bubbles in an interview? Gad. There’s something wrong with me.
“Well, we’ll let you know soon if we accept you into this program. We have a huge pool of applicants this year, so it’s hard to say.”
Fortunately, I just barely stopped myself from saying, “Oh yeah? Cos I’ve been working hard for this and I want it and I am getting loans and selling my first born, and it’s gonna happen whether you pop my bubble or not! I think I’ll get my bat and knee cap some prospective students in the parking lot.”
Instead, I thanked her for the interview and didn’t even comment on her desire to pop my bubble.
I returned that evening for a meet and greet. I brushed my hair (this is a big deal for me). I put on mascara (woe. stop the planet! This is as common as Charlie Sheen making sense). I dressed in a brown sweater, trying to look professional and smart. I walk into the room. The first person I meet has a nose ring. That’s the norm around here, although I don’t have one. The next person I meet has a nose ring and a lip ring. The next one I meet has those two piercings and an eyebrow ring. They are all about 23 – 27 years old. I am the oldest person in the room by ten years.
I am an old brown, dumpy looking turd.
But I keep smiling. Because my bubble is strong.
We chat for a good two hours, and I’m trying to stay upbeat about getting into this program, but I honestly feel like I am not cool enough, or hip enough, or artsy enough. We eventually come to sit in a circle. We bow in. The incense starts. We pass around a peace pipe and start noshing on some wonderful brownies. Okay, I’m making that part up, but we did bow in. Like a bunch of white bread, female Tibetan monks. I like that. Irony is my friend.
I was starting to feel better.
We asked an alumni panel questions about the program and their careers after they finished. It was awesome. I forgot my lack of piercings. But it was hot. It was so so hot in that room. My brown sweater started to seem like not only a frumpy choice but a dumb choice. I was sweating, and my butt is my tell. If I am nervous my butt sweats. It doesn’t seem right to apply deodorant to my ass crack, so I just let it sweat.
As we finished up and said our farewell, I stood up, hoping and praying to the Tibetan god of bums, that my arse hadn’t sweated right through my pants. Had it? I’ll never know, but I couldn’t walk our backwards, so I retreated as quickly as I could, a blur of a frumpy brown turd with nicely brushed hair racing down the hall.
Man it was nice outside. It must have been twenty degrees. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. Cool that butt sweat down. My bubble was still intact. I had survived the night. And guess what? I got into the program. I may be old and frumpy, but I’m going to be an old frumpy bubble-reinforced grad student. yea.
Maybe I’ll make my back-to-school clothes out of duct tape.