Monday, September 29, 2008

The Titular Poem

Well, it's not perfect. It's not in the original format. But it's there. My blog's namesake. Down at the very bottom of the page, in all caps, for some reason. It will at least give you the idea. Hope you like it.

Obsessive and Happy

So. I am now a full time college access adviser. I love my job. Some days it's hard, some days it's easy, some days it's Monday. All days I am grateful for this opportunity.

It's lonelier than it looked like it would be at first. The first month we were all together, all of the advisers for the different schools, and that was fun. Now we hardly ever talk, which is sad. We have a meeting on Wednesday, though. Maybe some of us will reconnect. I hope so. But the kids are awesome--they're going through so much, and they ALL deserve to go to college, which in some cases means they deserve another chance. I only hope that I can give it to them.

Some of the faculty are so negative. I hate it. One of the kids that I encouraged to aim for the University of Utah (he'll have to get his grades up and score pretty high on the ACT) was told up front by his counselor, "You'll never get accepted to the U." I can't believe people do that! Why are these people guidance counselors? I can understand being realistic, but realistic should sound like this: "That's going to be tough. You'll have to work hard at this point, and do __ and __, but if you work hard enough, you can do it. Just in case, you should apply to a couple of backup schools that you'd also like to go to. But do your best, and I'll see what I can do for you." Instead they're creating a negative environment that turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy. No wonder these kids don't graduate or go on to college. They're just living up to everyone's expectations.

In my other life, the one where I will be a novelist someday, I have entered the obsessive phase of applying to grad school. Nearly all of my free time is spent working on apps or pouring over the Speakeasy posts or TSE or Kealey blogs. I am glad to have them as a resource, even though they feed my MFA addiction. I also spend a bit of time working on my manuscript, a very disproportionate amount of time when I consider how crucial the manuscript is to the process. But I feel good about what I already have finished, and I feel really good about what I'm working on. It should be finished by mid-October and polished by mid-November, when I'll be sending in the packets to the different programs. Here is my set-in-stone list (already gave it to my recommenders, can't change it now):

Johns Hopkins
N Carolina-Greensboro
Notre Dame
Wash U-St. Louis

I believe, deep down in my soul, that at least one of these schools will read my manuscript this year and put me right on the top of their pile (the acceptance pile, you buttheads). If not, my life will essentially be over. I'll have to change my name, shave my head, bind my breasts and become a monk. Or something. Oh! I also checked out books by faculty from most of the programs (I think all but three). I'm putting a lot more time and money in (two things that I didn't have last year) and I'm hoping that will make the difference.

In the meantime, I've got some exciting things going on. I finally found an opportunity to volunteer--I'll be helping out with the Bad Dog Rediscovers America creative writing class for teens every Tuesday night. I'm so excited. I tried to volunteer at the Road Home but no one wanted to take a writing workshop. :(

Also, I just joined the 29 Day Giving Challenge at So I'll be blogging here about that. It should be interesting.
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