A year ago my Grandfather passed away. It was tragic. Death always is. But through meeting all this family that only remembered me when I was young and sweet, I met someone who started a dream of mine. I am currently living that dream.
Jody Keisner found out that one of my hair pulling dreams is to obtain a Masters in English Creative Writing, more specifically, Fiction Writing. At my Grandpa’s funeral, she came over and apologized for my loss and then started talking about my fiction writing. She talked about this MFA program out of UNO like it was the whip cream on top of a sundae, the best part. I shrugged her off and went back to wallowing in my sorrows.
A few weeks later MFA and UNO kept finding their way into my thoughts; I thought I was going crazy for awhile. They whispered their way into my life. Finally I got quite annoyed with my psyche and sat down to explore what this thing was all about. Soon I found it was a low-residency program.
This made it seem unattainable. I’m a mom; I can’t take nine days out of my life, my job, and away from my child, no matter how sweet the program is. But UNO and MFA kept whispering their names in the back of my mind. They drove me nuts.
Finally the time came to apply and make decisions. I applied for the Iowa Writers Workshop, because you can’t be a writer and not apply to the program that everyone talks about, UNK, and then last but not least the pesky UNO MFA program.
As time when on last semester, UNO and MFA kept appearing in my head, and on my Facebook page. I swear to you. This thing was haunting me. It was driving me nuts. I had it in my head that I was going to attend UNK for a Masters in Creative writing, and then I would maybe, only if money allowed, get an MFA.
Well, I heard from UNO and the director, Jenna, was really pushing for an answer. Telling me that this was the right choice. I kept telling her I wasn’t sure because I had never heard back from UNK as to whether I could teach and specifics on that program. So I lay down one night. In my mind I weighed the pros and cons of each school.
I lay there and thought about my Grandpa, and how proud he would be of me to just be lying here and be making a decision about Graduate School. I thought about how I found out about this program–at his funeral. A voice in my head told me to “just do it.”
I walked in for orientation, and was greeted with open arms. I was engulfed in love, appreciation, and acceptance. I was brought under the arms of some of the 4th semester and graduating students. The first time I met Jenna, she shook my hand and engulfed me in the love of a truly caring director. This love is what makes being here nine days in a row not overwhelming, or boring, or over the top. I’ve been here six days and already I feel like I have another family. And I do. I have met the beginnings of what will build and build to be known as my writing family.
Here I am, sitting in my hotel room, taking in what seems like a dream, but I know this is right where I am supposed to be. I am appreciated, loved, and free here. This is where Grandpa wanted me to go. I was just too stubborn to take the hints.
I also was offered a scholarship to be a Resident Assistant; this scholarship pays me in full room and board to be Jenna’s right hand man. I cannot even begin to describe my thrill for this little bit of money and the opportunity to work side by side the one person that gave me the push, the little incentive I needed to make a decision, and follow the pesky voices in my head. This scholarship not only adds to my resume, but it also adds to the line of people and things telling me that I can’t give up until I achieve this dream.
I am so thankful for being 20 years old, attending Graduate School, Facetiming my son every night, and be somewhere where I am not a nerd, but rather a peer. I’m making memories, embracing the awkwardness, and for the first time in the past year I know Grandpa is standing beside Jesus looking down on me saying “Look, that’s my grandbaby.”
This post originally appeared on Elizabeth’s blog, Single Mama Tackling Her Dreams