Yesterday I updated my Facebook status to: “These days, I’m really beginning to see that my ‘perfect’ plan is not God’s perfect plan for me.”
I realize that the message is cryptic and it may come across as somewhat sad, but I really wrote it as an affirmation of my faith – knowing that my perspective is small and self-centred as opposed to a divine perspective in which all I need to do is trust. I don’t think that anyone in a state of upset or borderline depression would be able to declare this kind of realization, because instead of blaming God, I see it as a comforting thing to know that all my stress about this certain situation is not really necessary. When you put things into God’s hands, you are putting your life into the hands of your own Creator. How can God not know what is best for the one He created? We don’t do this often enough, because our society worships control.
So what is this “situation”?
As some of you may know, I have been accepted into a Master’s of Journalism (MJ) program back in my hometown. Currently, I am in Montreal (Concordia U), completing a Master’s of Arts in Film Studies. Throughout the 4-month summer, I have been in contact with both schools’ administrative parties, because I foresaw that I would not be able to complete my thesis on time for a Fall graduation from Concordia – a condition that my acceptance into the MJ program was based on.
I heard many different answers to my situation from so many different offices, but the consistent answer I kept receiving from the admissions office for MJ was that all was well, as long as I submitted a letter from Concordia explaining my situation and that my degree from Concordia would simply be delayed by one semester. This made sense to me – I was accepted based on my BA grades (from U of T), and I wouldn’t even need to be in Montreal while I waited for Concordia to process and approve my thesis. So, I could just go on beginning my MJ program in September as normal. The admissions office is the one that matriculates me, so their answer meant the most to me.
I followed their instructions, got a letter from Concordia, and sent it off.
A couple days ago, I received a call from the MJ admissions office, and their first line to me after their salutation was a brisk and panicked:
“Jenny, we’re going to have to retract our offer of acceptance.”
(P.S. RUDE way to begin a phone conversation! Geez.)
After a small internal freak out and fighting back tears of panic, I reasoned with the admissions personnel on the other end of the line, basically telling them that they told me that everything was fine – FOR MONTHS! In short, after reading the letter that was sent to them, they just realized that waiting for my thesis to be processed by Concordia really meant that I would still officially be “in the books” at Concordia. Well…DUH.
What I didn’t understand was that this was the same thing I was telling them over and over the past summer, that I wouldn’t be registered as a full time MA student, but I would have a Continuing in Program (CIP) notation, which the Concordia website describes is not a registered academic notation, but simply a holding notation. However, this still means (in the MJ program’s eyes) that I am enrolled at a different Canadian school, which is not allowed across all Canadian institutions, due to our public education system.
What frustrates me to no end is that the MJ program didn’t offer any type of solution, they just said:
“Drop out of Concordia and come study with us, or stay at Concordia and we’ll just delete you from our memory.”
No offers of trying to work with Concordia to sort this out so that I could complete both degrees (such is the difference between the attitudes in Toronto v. Montreal). They literally (not figuratively!) said to me,
“We don’t care about your grades form Concordia. We wouldn’t even be having this conversation if you weren’t in the books at Concordia.”
Basically, they wouldn’t have even cared if I didn’t graduate from Concordia (i.e. they placed a bogus condition on my condition-based acceptance).
In reality, both schools would have been none-the-wiser had I not ventured out to find out more information about my situation. They would have blindly matriculated me if that letter hadn’t been sent (I believe). I say this only because they were so affirmative about everything, saying that they understood and that all was dandy, until they read the letter. Of course, I’m not in the business of deceiving people, that’s why I went about trying to do everything the “right” way.
Thankfully, the MJ admin people have demonstrated that they do not want to just remove me from their incoming class, and my status at the moment is just unknown. The admin office is just waiting for their manager to return from vacation so that they can consult with them and see what they can do for me. Thus, I won’t know ANYTHING until the end of August: 2 weeks before term begins.
My options are very limited right now. I am not getting student loans unless I register at MJ (because that’s how OSAP works), and not just myself, but my family needs the money for various family things (i.e. condo!) So, I can’t even fund myself to stay in Montreal (thus ruling out that option). Also, my lease for my lovely apartment is over in a few weeks, so either way, I have to move out. Besides, my career goal is journalism, and as my amazing thesis advisor told me today, it’s better to put my film degree on hold for what I actually want to pursue. So every move I make right now does not involve not going to MJ next month.
I am considering a Leave of Absence (LOA) from Concordia, and hopefully that would put me in the clear as a not-enrolled-in-another-school student. I asked the MJ admin people if an LOA would solve the problem, and the response was,
“I can’t give you an answer to that.”
So, they don’t know anything, until the manager returns. *frustration*
I can apply for an LOA as late as early-mid September, so I at least have that time cushion, should I have to take that route. My only worry is that Concordia would reject my request for an LOA, because they have become quite strict with this condition, as they’re afraid students will just end up dropping out (no way in hell do I not want to finish my MA Film Studies degree!!) We will see.
Honestly, all I can be at this point is thankful that I do have viable options; thankful that my advisor is completely awesome and is so supportive with my decision (he even offered to keep working with me on my thesis, even if I were on an LOA!); thankful that God has given me the insight to know that my life is in His hands, and all I need to do is do my best to follow and obey.
So no, you do not have reason to be concerned for me, because I am comfortable with the idea that whatever happens will be divine intervention. All I really need is your positivity and prayer that the MJ program will find a way for me to register this September, and that I will be content with whatever happens.
Note: If anyone reading this is in touch my parents, please do not mention this to them. They have no clue, and I’d prefer to keep it that way (they don’t have Facebook or Twitter, nor do they read my blog).