Friday, June 30, 2017

Loyola, Here I Come!

I had to keep quiet during Mother's Day brunch. I really did. This was something I needed to completely decide on my own but not telling anyone felt so foreign. I could tell anyone I wanted to tomorrow but I needed to make the decision to apply to Loyola University for myself. I would meet with the enrollment advisor tomorrow.  

 I had Googled graduate school programs for communication and advocacy and found a great program in West Virginia. That was not helpful. The term "social justice" kept coming up and Loyola also kept popping up with it. I decided to click on it. Loyola's Social Justice M.A.  program seemed perfect. It was all about being an agent of change. However, I didn't want to apply without visiting the campus. 

I requested an appointment with the enrollment advisor, Kristin. I gave myself three weeks out to visit Loyola in case I decided I didn't think Loyola was for me. If anything, graduate school had been intimidating. I knew it was not a joke. If I said yes, it would be hard work. Honestly, I missed the hesitation people had when I went to college. People were scared and doubtful that I could go to college. I had a blast proving otherwise. I missed that; I realize that is probably weird to hear but I missed the sheer determination it gave me. Whenever I asked people about graduate school, it was only encouragement. Dang it! 

When I visited the campus and the enrollment advisor, everything was perfect. I was well above the GPA requirement and I didn't have to take the GRE which was a complete relief. As if that wasn't enough, the advisor, Kristin had worked at Elmhurst College. We had already crossed paths! She ended the meeting by saying, "see you in the fall!" I would apply and then see if it was indeed God's will for me. 

A huge thank you to Gina and Jessica who was my writing tutors at Elmhurst College who helped me with my essay. Five weeks later, virtual maroon and gold confetti filled my computer screen. I was a GRADUATE STUDENT at Loyola University. 

I took a day to soak in the love on Facebook and then it was up to me to get everything in motion. I applied to the Office of Disabilities. I emailed Elmhurst and asked for the documentation I gave them in 2008. Maureen Connolly had retired so without her, the process was quick and easy. The new woman who worked at the office of disabilities at Elmhurst, Corrinne, and I emailed for three days straight. In the end, we decided Loyola should have two letters that my doctors wrote and a summary of my accommodations. I submitted the documentation and after an in-person meeting, my accommodations were set. It was weird to do this without my mom because she always helps but I knew I was more than capable.

I met with my academic advisor and I can't wait for classes to start at the end of August! 

Thank you to all who helped with recommendation letters, my essay, and finally, accommodations and documentation. It was a team effort. Finally, thanks to mom who pushed me to go to graduate school for five years! 

Let's do this thing, 
 Hannah! 

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