Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Yeah for great news

Back in April I was thinking hard about what I wanted to do when I grew up.  Yes I still think I'm in process of growing up.  I'd taken the GRE (graduate record examination), I was working on building fun skills like gardening and home remodeling, but what did I really want to do career wise.  That was the big question.  So I tossed ideas back and forth with some friends of mine.  I knew that Public Health sounded very interesting, especially focusing on epidemiology.  I checked out my options.  There were full time programs, part time programs, online programs, executive programs and the list goes on.  I knew that a full time program presented challenges in that I'd have to change jobs.  Purely online programs weren't that interesting to me.  I wasn't exactly sure what an executive program was.  I knew that I wanted to stick to schools that offered accredited Public Health programs.  That made the list shorter as many of the options available were not accredited. 

I looked at Davis, Berkeley, BYU, UCSF, and many others.  I wasn't sure how changing jobs and possible moves might work out with my life right now so I kept them on the list and looked at other options too.  I was surfing the internet one day and happened upon some information for Drexel University Center for Graduate Studies here in Sacramento.  I knew that Drexel University was on the list of accredited schools of Public Health.  I pulled up their website and found they offered an executive MPH program here in Sacramento, taught by professors both here in Sacramento and from the home campus in Philadelphia.  The information on the website intrigued me so I signed up for an informational session.  Time seemed to creep slowly by until the informational session a month away. 

Finally the day came and I convinced my friend to come with me to the session.  We drove out to the campus and I managed to park in the wrong garage, but we made it up to the meeting room on time.  We were given a short overview of Drexel, how the University came to be, and the vision for the center for graduate studies in Sacramento.  Then students from different masters programs came in to talk about their experiences.   The entire time I sat in the room during the presentation I felt calm yet very excited.  It felt as if I was in the right place.  After the general overview we broke into smaller groups to meet with someone from each specific program.  At the end of the evening I was ready to start getting my application ready.  I thought about who I could ask to write letters of recommendation, I thought about the transcripts that I'd have to get ordered, and then I thought, what in the world can I write for my personal statement. 

That night I filled out the online application and sent my requests for letters of recommendation.  I ordered what transcripts I could online, and printed request forms for the others.  Prior to going on vacation nearly a month later I finished up my resume, took an extra day off of work so I could gather the last of the transcripts needed and finally sat down to quit procrastinating writing my personal statement.  Brainstorming went well, I came upwith  lots of good ideas of examples to include, trouble was I couldn't get started, writers block.  So vacation came and went, then another weekend.  I knew I couldn't put it off any longer as I didn't want to risk the spots in the program filling up.  I sat down to write.  My mind tried to go a hundred directions at once and I was having trouble focusing on the task at hand.  I reworked my outline several times, I reviewed my resume for inspiration, I thought about my goals and plans.  Finally about 11:00PM inspiration came.  It always seems to work that way for me, inspiration at what seems the last minute.  I sat down and began writing, the ideas seemed to flow pretty well.  I typed, and typed, corrected, reworked, and finally decided that I should go to bed since it was 2AM and I still had to get a little shut eye before work. 

I took the laptop with me the next day and worked during my lunch to finish the essay.  After work I put the finishing touches on the essay and passed it to two coworkers for review.  They said it sounded good, then I passed it on to several good friends for review.  The next day, after some constructive input, I submitted the essay.  Then it was getting the last letter of recommendation in.  When I finally got the email that the letter had been submitted it was a waiting game.  I'd written down from the information session that they usually provide their admission decision within 2-3 weeks of receiving the completed application.  I checked my application status every day.  I knew it was silly and that I would need to have some patience, but I was so anxious, unsure, and excited, all at the same time.  My friend smiled every time I'd give her my daily update.  Other friends gave me their assurances that they felt I'd get it.  And I waited.  Luckily I only had to wait a few short days.  I woke up this morning and checked my admission status as normal, and it said they were pleased to offer me admission for the Fall term.  I jumped up and down, did a little happy dance, and then proceeded to email my friends and family to give them the good news.  I smiled so much today and am so excited to start my new adventure as a Drexel University Dragon.

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