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Always, always be flexible

By Amy Nielsen

Never in a million years did I think I would be going to graduate school. But here I am, with an acceptance letter in my inbox and the FAFSA application open in the next tab over. Now what? How is this all going to fit in to the already topsy-turvey life we lead?

I recently completed a professional certification with the intent on following on with this master’s program. I specifically went through the certification so that I could do a follow on school through one of their many articulation agreements with institutes of higher learning who have complete online master’s programs to support my professional goals.

However, the state of New York made the decision to disallow online master’s programs for accreditation midway through my certification schooling. The institute I was to follow on to was such a program.

This left me hanging. I had to either find a program with a partial residency program that would accept my certification, continue on with my career plans and sort out a different solution to credentialing, or sit tight and wait for the illustrious state of New York to get its act together. In early June, the institute completed compilation and accreditation for a new partial residency program that meets New York States requirements.

HUZZAH! So when was it going to be open for us to apply? When were the residency dates? What courses of study were accepted into the partial residency program, since not all of the master’s programs met the requirements. Time to sit back and wait again.

I received an email from the institute’s registrar 16 days before the application due date. Nothing like making a fast decision about the next two years and a whole lotta debt to incur in a very short amount of time.

Luckily my husband was home when I opened and read the email and we were able to take a collective family breath and decided I had to go for it now and not defer. It means we will have two adult fulltime students in the house at the same time, but since we homeschool our kids, it means we all sit at the table and school together.

Once we made the decision that I would bite the bullet and apply I realize the logistical nightmare I had just waded into. I had done nothing yet to apply to this school as we had no idea when or if New York would ever accept this program.

Not to mention I needed transcripts and it was the Friday before July 4th. Every office I needed to contact was operating on a different schedule.

In the end it was painless to apply to graduate school. When I last applied for college, you had to rip the application out of the book, type in the answers or – gasp - handwrite them, and then send it with three sealed letters of recommendation, sealed official high school transcripts, a typed essay, your SAT score reports ,and of course the money order deposit, in one package, in the mail.

Now, online autofill applications are a breeze. That is nothing to say for electronic official transcripts and letter of recommendation portals.

Within seventy-two hours of opening the letter I had a fully submitted application to a master program I wasn’t sure was ever going to be able to happen.

Within thirty-six hours of the application deadline, a week after submitting my application, I had my answer.

I’m going to graduate school for a master’s of science!

Now the real fun begins, because in the week that I was waiting to hear about my application, I met with the owner of a small studio space. I wanted to rent out time in her office to see my clients and hold small classes. She needs someone to use the space in the morning and my schedule preference is in the morning. It is a perfect fit - schedule wise. We hit it off great and have very similar philosophies in practice. I pick up my key next week and can begin seeing clients in the space the following week.

The universe just couldn’t leave well enough alone though.

Last night my darling husband messaged me that the long awaited and much anticipated schedule change at his place of employment is in fact really happening and our whole day, not to mention year, will need to be reworked to accommodate this new rotating schedule. That will begin next week.


I teach breathing - so breathe.


Today I plan to finish writing this blog, fill out the FAFSA federal student loan application, try to understand this weird rotation thingy, then take a very long walk in the woods.

Tomorrow I will pull down the calendar, write out the new work schedule, which is always a moving target, and see where the chips fall.

Regardless, we have two adults in undergraduate or graduate school, two kids in elementary school and a business on the verge or tipping into something real if I can just hang on to the roller coaster.

So watch this space. A lot more is coming down the pike, and I think the breaks are out.  As my dear compass mentor taught me, “Sempre Gumbi” (Always be flexible).

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