Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Accepted, sort of...

Thank you to everyone who took the time to leave me a thoughtful comment on my anniversary entry.  I truly appreciate it!

Now, onto today's bit of news.  I got the acceptance letter from the English department this morning and the graduate coordinator took the hold off my records so I could register.  Acceptance to the College of Graduate Studies at my school is only half-way there.  Graduate candidates also have to be accepted by their major department.  The acceptance letter was very good overall, but I'm not feeling particularly good about it.  I swear to you, I'm not only person who can get good news and be uncomfortable with it.

I'm happy to have gotten registered, but the conditions under which I was accepted are making me feel anxious.  My overall undergraduate GPA is 2.88 right now.  It'll go up after this semester, I'm sure, but not all the way to 3.0.  I have some bad grades from community college, grades I made when I was 18 and couldn't care less, following me around.  Couple those with the C's I made across the board in French and my valiant effort to educate myself hasn't been as valiant as it could have been.  My program GPA is 3.11, my department GPA is 3.33, but my overall remains below a 3.0.  It's terribly frustrating, to say the very least.  Luckily, my school will accept graduate students as provisional/conditional admissions with a GPA of 2.5 so it doesn't really matter.  It also helps that admissions is based solely upon my GPA for my last 60 hours of course work, which is 3.29.  So, you can imagine my confusion when I received a letter that said:

Dear Kristyn,

Congratulations!  The graduate English department has evaluated your application for admission into our program and we are pleased to inform you that we have accepted you on a conditional basis for the spring, 2010 semester.  The committee had some concerns about your undergraduate gpa and we want to ensure that you are ready to complete the necessary requirements for an MA after this spring.

At the graduate level, is it generally expected that students will make As in all their classes, although lower grades sometimes occur; we recommend that you only attempt 6 hours of graduate English classes so that you are more likely to maintain As in your graduate classes this spring.  At the end of the spring semester, we will evaluate your performance and admit you as a fully-fledged graduate student for the fall if you have maintained a 4.0 for the semester.

That's the letter I received, word for word.  They're concerned about my undergraduate GPA.  I don't see why, if they're judging me based upon my GPA for my last 60 hours of coursework, which I have been assured is the procedure.  My overall GPA may be a bit depressing, but my GPA for the last 60 hours is above 3.0 by a bit.  3.0 is all one needs for full admissions.  I could see if they were giving me conditional admissions because I haven't taken the GRE yet, like the College of Graduate Studies did, but based upon my GPA?  I just don't understand.

Then, I about had a flat out heart attack when they said I have to make a 4.0 to receive full admissions for next Fall.  A's and B's are the only acceptable grades for graduate school, if you make a C, you fail.  I can understand that B's aren't desirable grades, they're like making a D as an undergraduate, and I have every intention of giving this 110%, but what if I make an A and a B?  Then what?  Do I lose my admissions status on the weight of a 3.5 GPA?  I really, really, really don't want to fail out of graduate school because I made a B.

So, as you can likely imagine, I'm feeling very nervous.  I know I should be happy, and I am, but I'm also overwhelmed.  I'm overwhelmed and I haven't even technically started graduate school yet.  All these conditional admissions are making me feel like a second class citizen.  I know it's my fault, had I done a little better along the way, or put in a bit more effort, or taken the GRE before applying for grad school I'd be more likely to be a full admit.  Unfortunately, I can't go back and change it and I'm feeling a bit like the pressure of having to make A's is going to undermine my best efforts in that task.  Does that make sense?

I don't know.  Right now, I just need to focus on studying for finals so I can graduate.  Nothing happen without the bachelor's degree firmly in hand.  None of this worry matters at all if I don't graduate.  So, I'm pushing forward with the tasks at hand and wishing that I was better equipped to be optimistic about those things that I should be optimistic about.

Sometimes, pessimism is the furthest thing from pretty!