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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Finally got word on my M.A. application...

Well, the wait is over, and there are now several decisions I no longer have to make.

I was not least, not as a degree-seeking student. They cited concerns with my academic background and potential "fit" with the program. I'm wondering if most of it has to do with the fact that I had very little Theology, and those courses I did have were absolute crap. Given this is a Graduate course of study, I could see where this might be a problem.

What non-degree seeking means is that it's a conditional acceptance with no benefits. I can take up to 2 courses, and then use a paper for that course and get a recommendation from one of the profs, then resubmit my app.

It also means that I cannot qualify for financial aid. Which means that I may not be able to pay for even one course.

Now, before you all start taking up a collection for the "Send Adoro to Grad School fund", (yeah, right!), consider that they may be right about "fit". This is a big step, and a costly one. If I get there and indeed, the "fit" is wrong, then I'd hate to spend the money for a few classes which would end up being worthless.

I have prayed and prayed, and I think much of my disappointment stems from the idea that I really would get accepted. I had great references, although, granted, they weren't professors. I do not know what my references said in their letters or if that was even a factor. I know that they gave me their unquestioning support, and for that, I'm grateful. But then to get today's letter, realizing that somehow, I didn't measure up right, it's a tough blow to the ego, so right now the only thing I'm nursing is my pride. And I have to say, I am lacking in humility to begin with so this is a lesson I need.

So where do I go from here? I am going to call the person in charge of the program and get some more specifics of my conditional acceptance/conditional denial, and see where I'm lacking. What is their concern about "fit"? Does it have more to do with my academic/professional experience? I have more background than what was allowed on the application, this may not be an issue. If it's academics, do I need to take some undergrad theology courses? Or is there a bigger reason?

What does God want of me? I have been praying, "Thy will be done", all the while expecting that God's will was that I would enter this program. Now, God's will has been done, so who am I do question God? If God wants me somewhere, he will get me there. Is there another program I should consider?

So tonight I have a heavy heart, and really, given the week I've had, I'm just thankful this letter wasn't recieved on Thursday. The Lord is indeed merciful, for he gave me some doses of grace before he broke the news, so I was able to recover a little from my recent trials before having to face this one. And thankfully, I picked up my mail right before I left for my Adoration hour, so during this hour I could address this whole issue to the Lord directly.

I'll tell you this...Jesus spoke to me today in Adoration, and over and over he asked me to trust him, to rely on him, and to let Him provide the answers before I go out seeking my own. So I will ask you all to continue to pray for me as I discern the next step. God is calling me to something, this much is clear...but I can't seem to see the next step in front of me.


Unknown said...

You have my prayers, support and love, Adoro.

Graduate Schools often think of themselves as cradles for professors. It may be your lack of an academic theological background.

Don't forget that there are other options possible, including St Mary's U in Winona, St Scholastica in Duluth, Cardinal Stritch U from Chicago, St John's/St Ben's from Collegeville/St Joseph, all of whom, I think, offer classes in the Twin Cities.

I know a person who blogs who is a professor at one of those schools.

Cathy said...

You're in my prayers!
I hope you find your path soon!

Adoro said...

Thank you, Ray and Ma Beck.

I'm not sure yet I need to look to other schools, just discern if I really am called to further education? Or should I humble myself further and take undergrad theology courses?

Ray, of the list you provided, I'd likely go with my Alma Mater and look to St. Mary's for my grad credits. But who knows?

I thought I knew what I was supposed to do. Today, as I left adoration, I saw one of my references heading in to hear confessions, and gave him the news. I told him that I thought I had it figured out. He commented, "There is is..."*I* thought..." I agreed, and told him that I'd spent the previous hour talking to Jesus about that very thing. I don't know yet what I'm going to do.

I'll have to see what their "concerns" are and go from there.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it just is the lack of undergrad papers in theology. This particular door may have closed but I am certain another one will open for you. It might just not be the one you were expecting.

Potamiaena said...

Adoro, I can't believe you were "refused". You are so smart, so well versed, so right for more study. I am amazed at the sophistication of all the Catholic bloggers I read, including you. I can't even write intelligent comments!

That said, it seems Jesus has other plans for you. He told you so! I will pray for you. It is not easy to be turned down. Keep praying and seeking.

Anonymous said...

Praying...and I will pray some more. What did Padre Pio say? Pray, hope and don't worry.

Anonymous said...

God has created me
to do Him some definite service.
He has committed some work to me
which He has not committed to another.
I have my mission.
I may not know what it is in this life.
But I shall be told in the next.
I am a link in a chain,
a bond of connection between persons.
He has not created me for nothing.
I shall do good. I shall do His work.
Therefore I will trust Him.
Whatever I do, wherever I am, I cannot be thrown away.
If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him.
If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him.
He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about.
~ Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

Adoro said...

Thank you, everyone for your kind words and your support.

Kiwi nomad, I'm not sure if this is really a closed door or just a setback. I figured that even if I was accepted I would take only 1 class to start, but was basing that upon the ability to get a loan and to use tuition reimbursement through my employer to pay off the loan (or at least a chunk). Well, THAT door is closed. Now I just have to figure out if I can get the money...or SHOULD I continue to seek this?

Potamiaena : You can definitely comment intelligently! Thank you for the compliment...what other Catholic blogs do you regularly read?

Angela, recently I learned another of Padre Pio's prayers: To your Mercy, oh Lord, I entrust my past. To your Love, I entrust my present, and my future, to your Providence.

eliztrin ~ Thank you for posting that! I know I read it recently...was God trying to tell me something then?

Anonymous said...

I have just started reading your blog in the last month or so. I enjoy your blog.

Now, about your situation. Know that I am praying for you. This reminds me of when we were trying to move from one town to another because my husband was laid off from a very good job and was now working in another town about an hour away for about half the money. We had our house on the market for over two years and we couldn't sell it. It wasn't for a lack of eager buyers, either. Things just kept happening where deals fell through. I prayed and prayed and couldn't understand why God didn't want us to move closer to his job. Well, my husband got an interview with a junior college that we had never heard of in a town 2 hours in the other direction. The day he got the job is the day we sold the house! I never would have seen it coming! It was miraculous! The Lord had the best plan that I obviously knew nothing about!

You never know where He will lead you--but you are doing the right thing by keeping your focus on Him!!

RobKPhD said...

Follow Christ. Have faith. Trust him. You asked for guidance, and you have said you prefer 2x4s (as do I), what is this one telling you?

Trust - direction will come.

Anonymous said...

Adoro - I love that Padre Pio quote you posted!

Adoro said...

suzanne, thank you for reading and commenting! And thank you for your story, it is indeed a reminder to continue to trust in the Lord.

Robk...well, I don't "prefer" a 2x4, but considering how I blunder around so much, it's typically what God resorts to in order to get me to go in the right direction. I realize you ask a rhetorical question..what is this telling me. Well, I think it's telling me to reconsider, ask questions, and not make any decisions until I have the answers. And if the time is not now, then maybe later, or a different school, different program, different...something.

Angela...I love Padre Pio!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear, Adoro. I'd suggest a second look at Holy Apostles College & Seminary, but it doesn't sound like that program fits your needs. One good aspect about the program is that it is designed for people who have no background in theology or philosophy. However, I don't know if they offer financial aid, and being online, there's very little student contact.

Just consider this one of those crooked lines with which God writes straight.

Maria Neva said...

Bummer Adoro - I would, indeed, see if I could find out more specifically what the reasons were for your application's deferral (which basically seems like what it was). I would venture a guess to say that it does have something to do with the lack of theology credits - that has been an issue with the program, I believe, until recently, as many individuals like yourself wanted to get into the program (because it is such an amazing awesome program :) but did not have the theological background. The problem is that the coursework is very broadly Catholic - covering art, history, literature etc. While this is a huge reason why the program is so appealing (in that it helps us see how the Catholic "vision" covers all things), it also has the downside that there are not as many specifically theological courses offered. I recall this being a problem on multiple times where a class was held back because a professor had to do "remedial" theology in order to get everyone up to speed with the day's topic. This isn't necessarily bad on an individual basis (particularly when the person is willing to do a lot of additional "catch up" work on the side) but when it is multiplied by larger numbers of students in a given class... (Now, it must be said, my experience was solely as an undergraduate with the program, but the grad program is closely tied to the undergrad and I imagine the problem is only amplified more there).

If I were you, I would suggest attempting at least ONE class - somehow, find the money. Taking one class there will not (in the long run) break your savings account, and it will not committ you down a path you cannot turn aside from. Additionally, the knowledge and experience you gain from that one class will be totally beneficial to you no matter where you go.

But it is very important that you pick WELL that one class - try to take something that is very theologically based and of distinct interest to you. If they hesitate about letting you in because you are lacking an academic credit, go directly to the professor who will be teaching and show them that you are serious about wanting to learn what they have to teach you. I'd say over 90% of the profs, if you go to them directly, will let you into a course that you are technically not qualified enough for - because a large chunk of what they are teaching requires nothing but the effort and willingness on the student's part to learn it!

I do not know what the course offerings will be exactly next fall, but I would recommend in particular any of the following for a person in your situation:

* Thomistic Moral Theology (if you can do well here, there should be no question about your ability to enter the program. It's really useful material too!)
* Theological Works of John Henry Newman (not only is it a stellar course, but again, it is quite challenging and so will prove your ability. Plus, Dr. Briel, chair of Catholic Studies, is usually the prof...)
* Aquinas as Theologian (Duh. :)
* History & Theology of the Papacy (a good solid "proving" course, and one that I think would interest you a great deal too)
* City of God - Politics, History, Theology (a friend of mine is taking this one right now - she loves it, but it is quite difficult with the amount of reading/writing.)

Whew - long comment - sorry :) I would offer one more piece of advice, that the best spiritual director I've ever had gave me. You cannot discern a decision until you have decided something. Discernment, at its heart, is our attempt to ascertain what God's will is for us, what path he wants us to take. This doesn't mean that we should act without thinking first (prudence is one of the cardinal virtues after all!), but it does mean that whenever we are at large forks in our road that both look good, we sometimes have to start cautiously walking down one of them before we can tell if this is the one to travel on. When we have made a decision, we can discern with the Lord about whether or not we are at peace about it, whether or not it is His will to continue. My director warned me about many people who have a vocation to marriage or religious life, but who spend too much time worrying about their decision and end up missing their vocational opportunity - we must, at some point, decide to follow a path in order to truly discern that path. To be undecided is to not be discerning, but to be thinking about whether to discern. This is why couples are engaged before marriage, and why religious orders have postulants, and why sometimes academic programs would like us to take only one or two courses before committing to them.

You are in my prayers! If you would like to get together, or if you would like me to get you in touch with the friend of mine who is only taking one course (and paying for it out-of-pocket...) right now while she discerns continuing with the program, just let me know.

Adoro said...

Veritas ~

I actually got some info last night from a friend of mine also in the program. I'm going to blog about this, but Ave Maria University has a program starting and I may apply there. Will post the info as I find it. I may still take this course, however at UST to start. I believe the credits may still Xfer...will find out.

I do know what CS course I will take, as it is a core and the one I can most easily schedule: Catholic Thought and Culture II.

I agree w/ you on the necessity to make a decision, and of course, I had already "decided" to go to school. I am not giving up, but I am having to take a second look and get more information. Once I have the answers to my questions, I can choose to move forward w/. my education or put it off, maybe take more time to prepeare. If I decide to go to Ave Maria, I may need to put it off until next fall.

All is in God's hands, that's for certain!

Granted, I'm disappointed but it seems that UST regularly does this to people I've heard of this w/ med schools, just didn't really expect it at the MA level.

I have no doubts w/ my academic abilities, and I have no problem looking up my theological questions. After all...that's one of the reasons I am doing this!

Laura H. said...

You know when you go on a retreat and you have bonding/trust excercises? Well you're excercising your trust now with God. You mentioned not being able to see the step in front of you - just like in the excercise where you are blind-folded and forced to trust the person leading you to get you safely to your destination by whatever path they will.

Give God your hands and let Him bring you safely along the path. He will not steer you wrong. Simply because you cannot see the next step does not mean that He does not see it, or the many to follow thereafter.


You have my prayers. :) (And btw, I know you didn't need to hear any of that. Just reaffirming things I'm sure you already know.)

Tim said...

Ahhh, Adoro, I am sorry about that. Hope you get things worked out....