Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
I'm sending this week's Wednesday Words of Wisdom out to myself:
"You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need"
- Mick Jagger
Have you ever wanted something so bad that you poured all of your heart and soul into getting it, taking all the necessary steps, dotting all the i's crossing all the t's, convincing yourself that it was so much a sure thing that it wasn't worth dwelling on the small chance that it wouldn't happen?
And then it didn't happen?
Last Thursday I heard from the Boston seminary. I was accepted for the Fall semester, but I didn't get the scholarship that I was sure I was going to get. They offered me the "Dean's Award," a one-time award that will pay for two classes (roughly $2,500), and that's it.
That's not even going to put a microscopic dent in the $50,000+ cost of going to seminary.
I'm graduating next month Summa Cum Laude with honors and a 3.97 GPA. I have less than $100 in the bank and $7,000 in credit card debt after depleting my savings paying for my undergrad degree.
So why didn't I qualify for one of the Presidential scholarships that the school offers?
Well, actually I did, according to the admissions department.
But I was too late. They had "just" given out all the scholarship money when my application was reviewed.
How could this have happened?
I blame it on bad information on their website and bad assumptions on my part.
They received my application on Feb 23rd, long before the April 1st admissions deadline.
I didn't send it in sooner because they advertise their full tuition scholarship as being merit AND need based. Thus I assumed that they wouldn't be handing out scholarships until they had the applicants financial aid information.
The website says that financial award letters would go out to new students "beginning" March 1st, but their 2007/08 Financial Aid application wasn't made available until Feb 15th. I filled it out online on that same day.
Unlike other seminaries, their website has nothing that says "all applications must be in by such-and-such date to be considered for a scholarship." They have rolling admissions and with the mid-Feb arrival of the financial aid form and the April 1st admissions deadline, I assumed I was getting in early in the game. I assumed wrong.
I also don't know why it took them 6 weeks to review my application when their admissions office claims that "applicants will be notified in 3-4 weeks."
There is no way that I can go to seminary without a scholarship.
I don't want to leave school carrying $50,000 in student loans.
I may get a few thousand here and there from grants or other scholarship sources while I'm in school but realistically I know the bulk of the cost will have to be paid by me, and that would entail working full-time, going to school part-time and taking out reams of student loans. I know people do this all the time to pay for Grad school. I did it for the past 5 years to pay for college. But I can't justify accepting the $2,500 award and going into serious debt knowing that I would have had a full scholarship had my application been reviewed as little as a week earlier.
I will either have to wait a year and apply again (if they allow that) or apply to a different school. It's too late to apply anywhere else for this Fall as all the financial aid deadlines have passed.
So much for busting my butt last semester earning 22 credits so I could graduate this spring and start seminary in the Fall.
I am so angry.
Angry at the Boston seminary. Angry at myself.
Now everything I've been planning has been thrown up into the air and possibly put on hold for another year.
Yeah I know all the comforting clichés that apply in this situation:
"Humans plan and God laughs."
There may be something else God has in store for me that I can't see right now.
Everything happens for a reason.
I should be grateful for all that I do have - a wonderful wife who supports and loves me, a decent place to live, food on the table, my health, and the opportunity to graduate from college and go on to seminary, regardless as to when it happens.
I know all of that.
But I have to allow myself time to stamp my feet and pout and be pissed off and disappointed because things didn't work out the way I expected them to.
I may want to be a minister, but I'm still human.
In the real world I'll put on my "Que Sera Sera" brave face.
I come here to rant and to rave and to cry.
To cry over the loss of something that meant a lot to me.
The loss of something I truly felt God was leading me to do, right here, right now.
Either God has a different plan in mind or my going to seminary this Fall was the plan and I just screwed it up big time.
The door is still open a crack (a very tiny crack).
The woman in the admissions office was very sympathetic and wants very much for me to be able to attend in the Fall as planned. She told me that she's "going to see what (she) can do" and get back to me sometime this week but I'm not holding my breath. Short of her coming back and offering me close to what the Presidential scholarship is ($10,000 a year) I just don't see how I'm going to be able to go there in the Fall.
I've already started looking at other schools to use as a back-up should my chances for getting a scholarship from the Boston seminary fall through again next year.
There's a school in NYC that I took off my short list years ago that's starting to look pretty good.
In fact, looking at the NYC school has made me doubt whether the Boston seminary should have been my first choice after all.
Perhaps the "things happen for a reason" cliché will ring true once again.