Thursday, January 29, 2009

As honest as it gets

(So I might have sat on this blog for a few days...You'll see why...)

I’m a worry-holic. The first step is admitting you have a problem. I do. Not 100 percent sure how to fix it, but I am trying.

And I’m stubborn and persistent. Ask my professors. It got to the point where they wouldn’t answer my twice-daily calls about my thesis (oh, yeah – I called from a different phone, and voila! They answered.).

I’m filling out applications to start work on my Ph.D. This is HUGE for me. I’m the only one in my family (if you count immediate fam – hubby, parents, and in-laws) to get my master’s degree. And God knows that was a trial (more on that in a minute). And now I’m going for the Big One, the Ultimate, the Gold – the Doctorate. Dr. Lois Lane. W.O.W. (And I don’t mean World of Warcraft.)

Naturally, there are a TON of things to be nervous about. A) I still have to be full-time at my present job. B) I have to drive 3.5 hours to Super Duper University (SDU) and 3.5 hours back. In a day. Every week. For like 2 ½ years. C) Did I mention I still have to be full-time at my current job? D) THISISGOINGTOBESUCHSTINKINGHARDWORK!! E) Uh…wait, aren’t we getting ahead? What if I don’t get IN?

Okay, here’s what happened.

A while back, I mentioned that I may or may not have been kicked out of grad school. I finished my bachelor’s (with a double degree, fyi, so you don’t think I’m some slacker) in three years. I had a TOPS scholarship, which means that my tuition was covered by the state. They said since I finished my degree in three years, I could go on another year for my master’s, which would also be paid for. Ka-CHING! Heck, yeah, I wanted to do that!

Superman and I moved our stuff down to New Orleans in August 2005.

Hurricane Katrina wrecked New Orleans on Aug. 29, 2005.

We got married Sept. 3, 2005.

I started grad school Sept. 13, 2005, doing an entirely different thing than what I ever anticipated because, as we weren’t in New Orleans, I was not going to seminary (and TOPS had said they wouldn’t pay for my seminary anyway. Losers.).

That’s a lot to deal with in two months. Oh, and did I mention we lived with my father-in-law for three weeks before finding an apartment? I’m not trying to make excuses here, seriously. I’m just letting you know the circumstances.

I started getting my master’s in English. And working about 45 hours a week at a new job. And I was a newlywed. And my work then wasn’t as nice as the work now, so I couldn’t do my homework at work (Did I mention I have a REALLY nice job now?). I’m not a big fan of English, it turns out, even though I did get a BA in it. Sure, I love Jane Austen and my medieval women’s lit class, but I HATED Longfellow and Patrick O’Brien and Chaucer and pretty much everyone else I had to read. And those stupid plays I had to read. Geez, I really hated them.

That should have been a sign to GET OUT, but, naturally, I have to be hit over the head with said sign to get the point.

I was struggling. I was drowning. People around me noticed. I forgot conversations, had no time for leisure, and actually got shingles from the stress. In May, everything crumbled. I made two Cs. That’s pretty much a ticket out in grad school.

Oh, and I would just like to add that very few people in this particular English department helped me out (though I did have a couple of professors that gave me very good advice). I would NEVER recommend getting a master’s in English from this university. My adviser was a piece of work. That’s another story, though.

I was devastated. I was a good student. I knew I was. PLUS, my boss (of now) had mentioned that there was a position for a journalism instructor that would open up the next year – but I had to have a master’s degree – oh, and at least 18 hours of journalism or mass communication if I wanted to pursue my English MA.

(See how dumb I am? I don’t see good things when they practically slap me in the face.)

I was devastated. I could not understand how I would get this job without a master’s degree. And I didn’t want to go to another university. I wanted to go to THIS university.

The associate dean was very understanding and worked with me to reach my goal. I am very grateful to him, because he knew that I was a smart student, but I had overloaded myself (full time student, full time employee. Yeah, I had a GREAT adviser…). He suggested that I resign from University A and attend University B and get a master’s in mass communication – and that he would make sure I was still in good standing with Univ. A. But I could not complete my master’s in English at A.

I thought I had hit rock bottom. I was so upset – but this is how God works. Mysteriously. And for the best.

Can I just say that attending Univ. B and getting my master’s in mass communications was one of the best things in my life? I LOVED my classes, graduated with a 4.0 on my transcript, and I got those 18 hours AND a master’s degree in what I needed to teach here. Plus, I – little naive white girl – graduated from an HBCU: a historically black college or university. More on that tomorrow and why I’m thankful for it.

Plus, you have NO IDEA how satisfying it was to see my old adviser and some of my former professors (because we work at the same university) when I was introduced at the beginning of the year as a new faculty member. I can’t help it. Just letting my adviser know that people who cared about me as a student helped me succeed and now teach at the same university as him was enough.

Oh, and the kicker? While I’m still tentative telling this story (especially to my students), I see how amazing of a testimony it is. I hope my story will be an inspiration for others. God took me from my lowest point and placed me in a position better than I could ever imagine. I have this awesome job with great benefits and love what I do. God is so amazing. Hallelujah!

Okay, all that long story for this: I am a little nervous about being accepted to USM, so please pray for me. I did have a 4.0 on my transcript from University B and had a fairly decent GRE score, but I am worried about those, um, English courses…

But, if God’s gotten me through this, I know He’s got a plan for me for the future. As Beth Moore said, you can’t amputate your past from your destiny. It’s all connected. So…we’ll see what happens!


Mari said...

It is an inspiration and I will pray for you. I'll be waiting to see what happens.

Rachelle said...

Just said a little prayer....

Beth said...

wow! fun to read your story! praying God's BEST for you!!!! He will guide you with His peace.

Brooke said...

I'm convinced worry is a spiritual gift.

Well I would be if not for that part in the Bible about how we shouldn't do it.

But still, I am an AWESOME worrier.

I think I'll pray for you instead

Susan D said...

That's a great testimony. God continues to bless you. -- I love Beth Moore. I'm currently doing her "Believing God" study. Blessings, Susan

Carrie said...

I am praying that you quit being sucha big ol worrywart and continue praising God for how much He has blessed you! If this is the path He wants you to be on, He will let you know - but make sure you are listening instead of worrying. Oh and did I mention that you should quit worrying - fill out the applications then it is out of your hands!

Rach@In His Hands said...

Wow! What a story....just shows how hard-working and blessed you are!

I'll be praying.

misti said...

You're the best storyteller ever. Reading this was almost like re-living it with you, haha!

And it will all work out.

Sarah M. said...

Praying...Glad for God's working in your life.

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

Wow! I was so intrigued with your story...amazing. God has really gifted you with words, girl.

And He's also gifted you with quite a brain, and I know that if this is the path for you, He'll make a way. Just look back at how He has guided you thus far!

Sit A Spell said...

Found you by way of Brooke...and I agree with her...I will pray along side you...not worry, cause I'm good at it too...doing a bit in my own persoanl life right now!

Anonymous said...

God has plans for you! I'll be thinking about you!