I’ve spent much of the last few days crying.
Not because I’m sad, but because I recognize where I’m at right now and where I’m going.
I received an e-mail late Wednesday that said that after reviewing my application, I had been invited for a final interview with the Psychological Counseling department on Saturday. I just assumed that everyone got a final interview, but when I told my therapist about it the following day, she said they only interview you if they are interested in you. Both therapists seemed more excited about it than I was. My therapist asked me in session if I wanted to go over some preparation for the interview, but I told her I would be okay. I wasn’t going to prepare. I was going to just wing it.
My anxiety started to kick in shortly after my therapy session was over. I was sitting in the lobby waiting for the next bus to come when the other therapist saw me and stopped to sit next to me. We talked for a little about my pink bag (because I mentioned that I hate the color pink) and laughed, and then we started talking about the interview. She told me what to expect, what questions they might ask, what questions I should ask, etc. She even shared some hilarious answers that she had people come up with during interviews. We ended up talking for almost half an hour, and she gave me a hug and reassured me I would do great.
I felt a little better knowing what to expect, but now I was anxious about needing to prepare. I had no nice clothes, no dress shoes, and no makeup. I had to make myself look presentable. I bought the cheapest drug store makeup I could find, bought dress pants, a shirt, sweater, and dress shoes (which I was sure I would never find in size 12). I definitely looked the part. Now I just needed to act the part.
I stayed up late looking up information about the program, how it ranked nationally, and how it was rated by other students. I made sure I got more than 8 hours of sleep, which never happens for me. I woke up early to make sure I’d be ready in time. I made it there a half hour early, which is always better than being late.
The interview was not nearly as bad as I expected. There were 10 people including me, with two professors leading. We introduced ourselves, learned about the program, and asked questions. Then we were split into two groups and had to discuss how we would respond to certain ethical dilemmas. I think I did pretty well. We then had a discussion about informed consent and confidentiality and I was the only person that mentioned mandated reporting when child/elder abuse is involved. I’m surprised that more people did not know that, as I thought it was common knowledge.
At the end, everyone had to write a short essay on a hypothetical situation while utilizing the ACA Code of Ethics. Once that was written, we were allowed to leave. There were no one-on-one interviews. I was nervous for no reason. I shook the professor’s hand and told him I hoped I would see him again soon. I will hear back within the next week if I have been accepted or not.
I e-mailed the therapist that helped me as I was waiting for the next bus. I told her everything that happened and thanked her for her support and encouragement. She e-mailed me back and mentioned that she was proud of me, and how she was really rooting for me, not only for this grad school stuff but in every area of my life. I started to cry again because I know her feelings and care are genuine. It’s difficult at times because I don’t have very many people on my side that I can count on (excluding online support). But she has been there, my therapist has been there, and my support group has been there for me through all of this.
I’ve accomplished so much in these 21 weeks. I have a job that I really excel at. I started this blog and have continued to write. I write professionally. I’m (hopefully) going to start graduate school next month. I’m getting more involved in advocating for mental health and other issues. I was recently invited by NAASCA to be a guest on their program and share my experiences recovering and healing from the abuse I endured as a child. I’ve also been approached about my thesis on mother-daughter sexual abuse, which I am currently re-editing for a more general audience.
I have so much going on, but it’s all good. I’m in such a better place right now. I could never be where I am today if I was still with my family. I made the right decision. For the most part, I am happy. So many people tell me how much better I’ve been looking, and how much happier I look. I’m starting to realize that they are right. When I take a picture, I no longer have to fake a smile. I’m struggling, but I’m no longer living in fear. I’m no longer waiting for the pain to come. I’m finally able to live. I am worth living.