So the waiting is over, and I know my fate, for this year at least. College applications have been arduous, and while time has moved as if the clock’s hands were coated in glue every time I refreshed my email, everything now seems to be moving at warp speed. I got waitlisted at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, and receiving that message from the program director was the validation that I didn’t realise I was looking for. For every publisher that might dismiss my work in the future, for every accomplished artist that seems like they’re five steps ahead, for every Monday morning I spend wishing my workday away – I did it. A prestigious university, in the place I hold dearest, told me my work was strong, and that’s because strong is what I have learnt to become.
2016 was a year of mistakes, of broken friendships, of loss. I was terrified of vulnerability, of looking stupid, of asking for help. Now at the end of 2017’s third month, I have an army behind me. Sometimes that means at a call at 8am when the worst happens, sometimes it means a dance of happiness on a bustling train platform when the best happens. They’ve heard me worrying about the cost of applications, fretting about deadlines and wallowing in the waiting and no one has cheered louder for my wins this year.
Almost as a secret, I applied for two universities in the UK alongside my seven US applications. I was determined not to waste anymore time in a 9-5 dreaming about studying or writing. I applied to a writing camp in Pennsylvania, I submitted poetry and short stories here, there and everywhere. I compiled spreadsheets upon spreadsheets, and fell asleep with half-dead books in hand. And now, as March draws to a close, I am a paid, published writer of both fiction and poetry, with an invite to Pennsylvania waiting in my Submittable account. My waitlisted position at Sarah Lawrence is nudging comfortably along beside two acceptances at Kingston University in London, and to my happiness, Lancaster University. Come October I’ll be roaming Windermere, Ambleside and Ullswater with notebook in hand, getting my Masters in Writing.
Oh! The places you’ll go!