Goals for 2013

I will have to admit that 2012 was really good to me. I dare say it was one of the best years that I’ve had in a very long time. While it had it’s up and downs, I attribute my changes in life to the fact that I set goals for this year. While that might be a bit cliche-ish in the realms of Higher Education, it does indeed work when a plan is laid out.

If you read last year’s post, then you will know that I no longer set resolutions for the New Year. That whole business is done. I will set 10 goals as I did a year ago and try to accomplish as much as I can. I completed 60% of my goals for 2012 and I will try to do better in 2013.

One of the things I am most proud of this year is joining the ranks of the Huffington Post. However, I haven’t written anything for them since May and it has been very noticeable to me. I need to refocus and write more Huffington Post Articles. While I personally feel that I have no excuse for the drought, I know that May was the beginning of all the major events in my life.

In general I need to write more. I have been very passive about writing for many different reasons and yet I also feel limited in the venue in which I present my blog in. I have decided that is it time for a change in websites. I plan on doing a site switch early in 2013. In the effort to gain more exposure for myself I created an additional site on wordpress that has remained unused. I will follow up on details when it become ready. I will still keep this site however.

Writing remains important to me and when my Macbook crashed, I felt very fortunate that I backed up all my writing before the hard drive had to be replaced. One of my goals that I failed to deliver in was to self publish my poetry. To be quite honest, I never had the money to do this. While I was investing in myself, I had to sacrifice a few goals. Now I need to put this back on the table and get this done.

Speaking of money, I believe I am in a great position to finally get my financial life in order. I’m making debt reduction the highest priority in 2013. All those years of owing people are done for me. I am not saying that I am making crazy amounts of money because I’m not, but I am finally comfortable with my income. Now, I can get rid of bills that have been plaguing me for awhile. One thing that a divorce does is really kill your finances and now after 3 years, I am ready to put myself in a better position.

With putting myself in a better position financially, I also have to find an apartment. My situation has always been temporary and now that the holidays are almost over, I can concentrate on this very important goal. I love Washington Heights and remaining here would be ideal, but who knows where this search will lead me. I do not want to be too far from Barnard College so being on the west side of Manhattan is critical. At the end of the day, I can live someplace that is quaint and affordable. I would like the neighborhood to be decent. I think I can manage that.

My health remains very important to me. I need to find a PCP and a dentist.  I already replaced my glasses so I can check that off the list. However, the most important thing to me is to lose 20 pounds this year, preferably by the summer. This is not as vain as it sounds, while I want to plan to go somewhere warm, the idea is just to be as healthy as possible. I will admit that clothes seem to fit better on me when I do not have a gut blocking the way. I have several things planned to main my health including a 5k run.

I also need to go to some games in 2013. I am not just talking about Met games or Knick games. I am not adverse to going to Yankee games. I have not been to the new Yankee Stadium. I have not been to the Barclay Center either. I think going to sporting events is a crucial part to being a New Yorker. There are tons of things to do in this city and going to games is one of them. I am also looking forward to the All Star Game in Citifield in July and the last Big East Tournament that Syracuse will play in March.

Some how, with all this going on, I would like to start the Master’s Program at Columbia University in the fall of 2013. I am waiting for the fall because I am not sure how busy this upcoming spring semester will be. This also gives me more time to research what I need to do. I am still aiming for sociology at this point but, with all the programs that CU offers, I need to look closely at my options. I am not going to forget my ultimate long term goal of getting a Master’s Degree.

Finally, the one thing that Christmas as reenforced with me is that I need to spend more time with friends and family.  I have always been that person to get caught up in what I am doing. Sure, I can multitask all day, but sometimes I seem to forget what is important. In many cases, I have a bad friend to many people or a bad cousin to others. Overall, I think I need to recalibrate the way I spend my time and with whom. I am grateful that I am with a woman who understands my need to sort of be everywhere with my family and I think there is going to more times when it seems I am spread thin, but it is family so it ends up worth in the long run. In terms of friends, my mission is to reconnect. That will mean lunches, dinners, drinks, and possibly parties…clearly this is not a bad thing.

My goal is to do 90% of the list above. That may sounds ambitious since I really want to do a 100%. However, I know from experience that life changes and shifts from month to month. I am ready for 2013 and everything that comes with.

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3.5

About a month ago, I wrote a blog about my troubles with my undergraduate life. I named it 2.1 because that was the GPA I graduated college with. Nothing to be proud of. I got lucky to even graduate and in many ways I felt like I wasted my undergrad years. Fast forward to present day and I have a new number to smile at: 3.5

I have been very much on the fence with graduate school, there is no question about that. It is not because I do not want to do it because I do. It has a lot to do with where I do it. I’ve made it no secret of my desires to leave Syracuse to go back home, but I figured while I’m still here I might as well continue my education. Like most things in my life, I figured that I will just take that leap of faith and figure out later how I’m going to land.

This semester was no different. I took the History of Urban Education as a last minute decision. You may recall that I decided that this year was all about “no more excuses,” so this was one of those things I had to stop procrastinating about. This was class number 4 and at this point, I had two A- and a B- ( Economics…blah). For those counting…that left me with about a 3.3 and change. Up to this point, I had never gotten an A in a 3 credit class. Sure, an A- is great but it is frustrating when you are shooting for the highest marks.  Not to mention that the only As that I have ever gotten was in one credit classes…so it means next to nothing.

So, I took this class not knowing how hard it would be. It turns out that when you take classes that you are actually interested in, they are not that hard, its just a matter of how much work you are willing to put in. I think about all the long nights. Coming home from work at 9pm then reading until about 2am. I am not sure about anyone else, but doing that week in and week out tends to make you read slower because of fatigue. But, I continued down this path because I wanted to get my first A ever. The two A- before it were just about heartbreaking enough.

I did all my work and what was required of me. I met with the professor a few times about the topic of my 20 page paper. Just when I thought I found the topic I wanted…I changed it at the last minute. It was just not flowing. It got so bad that I had to ask for an extension at the last minute. I realize now that the title of my paper is a tad redundant: Latinos in Urban Education: The Struggle for Inclusion in Public Education. Some people had asked if they can read it, but I was holding off until I got the verdict on the class.

I wish I was lying when I say that it felt like blood, sweat, and tears went into this paper. But when I think about the struggles in my life, this was the one thing that I can control. I know that if I can get this work done, I can be more than what I was in my undergraduate stint. I need to prove to myself that I am indeed an A student.

I did it. Today I checked my status online. I got an A. One of the few things that I did not screw up. One of the few things I can say I did right…and I did it for me. I cannot tell you how many times I felt worthless, but today…I feel that I can do anything. I have a 3.5 as a grad student…3.7 in my area of concentration.

All my frustrations have been worth it. I am an A student. Turns out that I always was.

2.1

2.1

Think about that number for a bit. We are often defined by numbers. We rely on them when it comes to assessment. We assess products, sports, stocks, and grade point averages. Society uses these numbers to gather a value on something. Many mathematicians will tell you that numbers do not lie, especially when it comes to things like science. But, can numbers really put a value on knowledge?
Ever taken an IQ test? I haven’t, but I know that they are designed to place a value on how smart someone is. So assuming that you are either naturally gifted or perhaps went to the right school, you can be deemed really smart or as dumb as a doornail. Over the years, there has been evidence to suggests that standardized testing is racially and culturally biased. After all, not all school districts are created the same. Urban school do not have the resources as private or suburban schools. So how do we really place a value on who is smart?
I don’t think it should come as a surprise that most high school do not prepare students for the rigors of college life. No one is really prepared for the freedom of moving away and living relatively alone on/off campus. For most students, learning is on a whim and sometimes success in the class room can happen through mistakes. Maturity plays a huge roll on how a person deals with distraction. Yet, some students are able to fight through things to get great grades. Unfortunately, others struggle with just life in general and may find it hard to survive the grind of college academics.
We should just assume the getting into college is a stretch within itself. A institution, like Syracuse University, has to see something within the students they accept, which would reasonably mean that schools do not just except stupid kids. So why do students do poorly versus others? I would like to take into consideration my own issues.
I graduated from Saint Raymond’s High School for Boys. I do not think that I was different from any other potential college kid. There was a thought about myself, however, that I wasn’t that smart. My guidance counselor did not think I would get into Syracuse University, I clearly showed him otherwise. However, when I did get in, I often wondered how I was going to do. I really didn’t try all that hard in high school, it was as if I really didn’t care. I was picked on, my parents were getting a divorce, and I felt generally ugly since I was one of the few boys who wasn’t dating for most of my 4 years there. Yet, the one thing I always remember hearing in grammar school as well as High School….Anthony never applies himself.
College kicked my ass. I had many distractions and i just didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was a student leader that cared more about the cause than about myself and by the end of my first semester of sophomore year, I was at a crossroad. My grades were horrible and I almost found myself kicked out. If it wasn’t for barely passing my religion class…I would not be a alum of SU. This wake up call lead me to pick a major that I wanted and do so much better in my classes. I still graduated in 4.5 years but I had this feeling that getting into grad school would be a long shot.

A few weeks ago I was talking to a student of mine. He was not in a great mood. He felt his grades defined him and my heart went out to him. I told him that despite whatever he graduates with…he can still be whatever he wants to be. Last week, I had a similar discussion with a student on the opposite end of the spectrum who has a grade point average that I have never seen in undergrad and it made me think about my grade point average currently. The good thing about SU is that you can check your current grade point average on line. I look at my grad school grades and I smile at the 3.3 that I fought hard for. I figured that if I get an A in this current class, I will be at a 3.5
Something told me to look at my undergraduate GPA. I had to cover my mouth because I hadn’t realized how low it is… 2.1
I almost fight tears thinking about this. I could have done so much better. I just could not get over my own shit. I was so immature that I could not see what I was doing to myself. Sure, I could blame girls, my parents, my work-study job, or the lack of guidance. I really have no one to blame but myself. I hated most of my classes because they just did not interest me. I did well in cultural courses and alright in my English courses. Sigh…I had to ask myself, why is it so different now?
Now…I care more for myself and I love my classes. I am invested into my own education and I love to learn new things. I am far from stupid but that number is a mark that I count against myself. Yet, it isn’t a value I place on my intellect. I consider that 2.1 GPA (which was earned 20 years ago) to be a measurement of my maturity.

My Year in Review

It seems like when we get to the end of every year we talk about how fast this year went. It makes me wonder what everyone else is doing because the last few years have been anything but fast. This past year is no exception and I am okay with that. I feel like I had too many losses this year, however, the successes that I did have outweigh all of that.
I started out the year figuring that I knew what I was doing. I made some resolutions that did not come into fruition. I started on what I felt was a great path into grad school. I chose to put all my eggs in one basket and put in my application to Sarah Lawrence. The Application process included bios, transcripts, and recommendations that lead to my ultimate failure. I am not sure why I was not accepted but I took it all in stride.
This year I gained some friends and I lost some friends and in some cases I regained some only to lose them again. It was not a particularly easy year for me in the friend department. I wonder if I have been misunderstood in certain cases or perhaps I cannot be friends with every woman I meet. There is no coincidence that I lost most of them when my girlfriend came into the picture. Some things can’t be helped eventhough I believe that some friendships are repairable. I do realize I need to do more for my friends in the future.
There have been some affiliations that I very happy to be a part of. The November Media Group made me take my name and my persona on this blog seriously enough to consider myself a brand. So I did a photo shoot in March in order to have some head shots for publicity later. I thought this was a good investment and I am not opposed to doing this again in the future, it was indeed a great experience. Another affiliation that I am really proud of is The LatiNegr@s Project: Being AfroLatino. I was able to bring to together 3 other individuals to form a teams that is completely committed to education of the Afro Latino experience. Together we can do more than I ever could through our sites and on twitter.

Speaking of Twitter, it was a big year for me tweeting. I was able to get a company like Pep Boys to hear my gripes about them and their service. I finally met Frankie Negron when he came to Syracuse University to perform for Fiesta Latina. The best part of this was when I picked him up from the airport and the first thing he says to me is….”You look just like your Twitter pic!” He is an awesome dude and I hope I get to work with him again. I was also nominated for a LATISM (Latinos in Social Media)  Best Latin@ Micro-Blogger award. I didn’t win but it was nice to just be nominated.

I also found what it meant to be truly single. I never really got into what my life has been since the divorce but it is not cake walk. Sure, I may have hinted at things here and there but those who have been through a divorce know that struggle becomes synonymous with surviving a broken marriage. I am not even referring to the institution of marriage, I am talking about dealing with people always asking about your ex-wife because somehow they are the last person in the world to know. There is also the fact that bill collectors give zero fucks that divorce happens.
Being truly single means most of those things you hear about bachelor life that has not been glorified. The fast food diet, the single man laundry day (thank God I do not use a trash bag to carry my clothes), the unshaven beard, the piled up dishes, and other things I wont get into because this is a family show. Needless to say being a divorcee is not a fashion statement and I have learned to deal with everything and to be as open and honest about things as I can be. Surviving a life that was once a two income life is a challenge when it become one. After a full year, I can say that I am a proud survivor.
My truly single days did not last long when I started seeing my girlfriend in July. This is the woman that I wrote all that poetry about. While I will not go into detail about this whole thing since I do enjoy a bit of privacy when it comes to this part of my life, I will say that things are going better than I would have ever imagined. I always take time to reflect and realize that I am a different person than i was years ago and will continue to learn from my past mistakes in relationships
The job prospects always seem bright when they appear, especially since I completed my 10th year at SU. I made it a habit to look at all the job openings I can find each Sunday. I was so confident that I would find a job this year that I bought two suits from Men’s Warehouse not only for work but for some potential interviews I had lined up. In June, I had two interviews with Yeshiva University in Washington Heights. This was following a phone interview I had several weeks before. I was 90% sure this was going to happen. I kept it quiet because the whole thing with Sarah Lawrence made my parents believe that not everyone is on my side and can toss negativity out there into the universe. Needless to say, It did not work out at Yeshiva and neither did it work on at Columbia University when I interviewed there in November. 
Overall, I wanted to write more and complain less. There seems to be a surge in popularity of this blog that I am humbled by. I look at the stats and page views only to see that this year has given me more hits than ever before. In fact, November has been my most popular month. Much of it seems to be past posts that have led to me getting paid a small amount of money for something that I wrote 5 months ago.
More importantly, I still maintained the ability to be creative through either poetry or writing a short story. I am still committed to pointing out racism and injustice where I can, as well as calling out men or boys out on their crap and showing the world the true colors of people or magazines. I look forward to year 3 of this blog as I try to expand myself as a brand and as a writer. 

Dr. Inspiration PhD

Commencement is finally over. The Class of 2011 has left and the campus is not empty. I am left to reflect on my thoughts about how the school year played out and how this calendar year is shaping up for me. I think that I finally have my life back. April has always been a hard month but getting through it is always a challenge and an experience. So when May comes, it is a surreal feeling of finality. This is my 9th graduation and this particular year was bittersweet.

This year I have seen many ups and downs and despite it all, I still seem to be very good at my job. My lows consist of various failures that I have refused to let stop me in my ultimate goal of leaving Syracuse and return to my friends and family in New York City. That leads me into my second goal of getting my Masters Degree and going back into the higher education field on the academic side through teaching college courses in writing. I take this all into account because I feel that I have found my goal but have also found obstacles in my way of achieving this.

Interestingly enough, one of the first events that I end up having to handle is the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony. This is where the PHD program candidates walk across the stage and get their hoods to declare they have indeed become a doctor in their field of study. I watched as a dear friend of mine, Dr. Paul Buckley walked across the stage and I thought to myself…that could be me. Why shouldn’t it be me?

The rest of the weekend was filled with ceremonies and convocations that sort of blurred into together. Seeing various students in their gowns and meeting their families in a time of happiness are always great to see. But, in the back of my mind, I was asking myself that question. I know that I do a lot of talking on this blog, this forum that I give myself, where I put myself on blast and let the world know how I am feeling and what my dreams are. This forum that has gotten increasingly hard to write in by the minute. I have been talking to talk, but not walking the talk. I need to change this.

So once again, seeing Dr. Buckley (because I have that much respect for this man) at a reception just for him, I listened to everything he had to say about the life and family and how he had people to get him through it and inspirations that he had to look at. I can see that he had an inner peace that I am not sure I have seen in anyone else. It is the kind of inner peace that one has one they reached something that was so hard and so worth it.

Perhaps this is what I have been looking for, an inner peace, something to accomplish. Will getting a Master’s Degree be enough? Maybe not, can I imagine someone calling me Dr. Otero? Yes, actually, I can. I need to fight for this dream, but what will I a doctor in? Well I have some ideas that will be for a later post. But, I feel that I have spent so much time and energy in thinking about love and my lack of woman when I should just improve on me. I thought about a slogan that just made me laugh when I thought about. This is not to offend anyone, but more to motivate my desires and me: Fuck Bitches, Get Degrees. 🙂

I am not content with my place in the world and now that I have carve my niche, but you know what? I am done talking about this. I am done writing all this down. I need to do. I have my plans that I have not told many people because I feel that I jinx myself and I am just tired…so very tired. But, this weekend reminds me that there is always hope in the inspiration of others. I can find that inner peace in the things that I accomplish. I have often wondered what the universe has in store for me. I hope this is it.

As for Dr. Paul Buckley, he will remain the inspiration, that bar that I need to hold myself to. That example of inner peace I will need to not only obtain, but also accomplish.

I am a Survivor.

A culmination of months of hard work was summed up in one letter that I raced home to read. I opened that letter from Sarah Lawrence College. I was not accepted in the MFA program. I simply closed the letter and placed it in with a pile of other rejection letters that I have received over the last 2 years. I am not happy but I am not sad either. Quite frankly, I am mad.

I am mad because I feel like I cannot escape this place. I know that I put my business out there for all, so it doesn’t bother me that I can yell out into an open space and say “I want to go to graduate school!” I believe in my heart that I will do this. I believe that I will become what I want to be come. If anyone who knows me knows that when I get pissed off, I become determined.

I see these rejections of job opportunities and now grad school apps as people telling me that I cannot do something, that I cannot be what I want to be. This is not going to happen. I am more determined to be successful and more determined to be more than what I am right now.

I am just tired of being told I am not good enough. Let me say right now that I am better than good enough. No one has walked in my shoes and has taken the shit that I have taken. No one can understand how patient I have been with all the people and events in my life. People love to judge me and think that I am not going to make it, but I got some news for you: I am not going out like that.

From this point on I will raise the level of my game. I will apply to Sarah Lawrence again, but she no longer the only school I will apply to. So she needs to know I plan on seeing other people. I followed my heart and now my heart will follow me. I will broaden my focus and my horizon. I will continue to write and I will continue to create and I will make a list of school tomorrow to apply to. I am also not limiting myself to just schools. I am putting myself back on the job market.

As a matter of fact, I am taking that letter from the pile and posting it up on my wall. I want to be reminded of this. I want to see this everyday so I can be reminded that I am meant for something bigger. I am better than my undergraduate grades, I am better than any graduate school fee, I am simply better than what I was an hour ago when I read that letter. So, please do not feel sorry that I did not get in, feel happy that something finally got me to be angry enough to see my full potential.

It has been in my nature to take time and lick my wounds and feel sorry for myself, but not anymore.  It is time to make my own destiny.

I am tired of losing. I am a sore loser and I plan on winning. I am not bitter, I am better.

Three Candles.

St. Patricks Cathedral

So I did something today that I have not done in a long time. I prayed…in a church. Sure, I have prayed before and I feel that I have conversations with God every so often, but I do not see myself as a religious person. Perhaps more spiritual more than religious. In any case, I want to St Patrick’s Cathedral and I prayed for my life.

I do not get into religion much but it is safe to say that I am a recovering catholic. I have 12 years of catholic school under my belt and I can tell you that my thoughts of organized religion are not good. Over the rest of my years, I think I have developed some sort of relationship with God. In the end, I think that is the most important thing. I rather have that individual relationship than have group tell me how I should live my life and who are the sinners.

Although being a Latino means that you have certain belief of the spirit world. I am not stranger to this and while I wont get into them all right now, I think that there is spirits in this world that are both good and bad. But, they will only effect us if we let them.  So there needs to be the understanding that I do hold those beliefs that were passed down by my family.

I have found myself praying more often than not over the last couple of years. I have prayed for my sanity and for clarity in my life. There were times in which I just did not know what to do and I have to do the one thing that 12 years of catholic school taught me to do. Since then, I think I have been able to just be me and fight hard to get where I am trying to get to.

Last week I called my mother and I said to her that I needed a huge favor from her. I needed her to pray for me. I needed her to know how important getting into Sarah Lawrence is. My cousin got into the Harvard doctoral program last year and I know they prayed for her…lol. That is not to say she is not brilliant because she certainly is. I just know that she had the support and I needed that. I think she was shocked about my request and happily said she would do it…on condition: I needed to find a catholic church, light a candle and pray with the prayer card she sent me last year.

I knew she was going to pray for me and I definitely felt that I needed to complete my end of the deal. I originally looked for catholic churches in Syracuse, but for some reason, I wasn’t comfortable. I didn’t feel right going to a church I didn’t know for the first time. That may sound weird, but that is how I felt. So I thought that once I get back to NYC this week I would go the one of the churches of my past schools: Holy Cross on Soundview Ave or St. Raymond’s on Tremont.

Turns out that I went to neither. Today I had several errands to run. I met up with a great friend for lunch and another friend who I haven’t seen since we were kids. All of this in the mid town Manhattan made me realize that I should go to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Why such an elaborate place? I have been there several times over my childhood and teenage years. I had my High School graduation there as well. For some reason, it just felt right.

So, I went in and lit 3 candles. I sat in one of the pews and pulled out my prayer card, it was in Spanish. I read it the best I could (which I think is pretty damn good).  When I was done, I thought about all the people in my life. The ones I love. The ones I care about. The ones I worry about. I asked God to not only help me find my way, but to help them. The only thing I really want to do in life is to help people. My way is to help people through words. I know that cannot be too bad.

I felt good when I walked out. I know I checked in on Foursquare that I was there and I got a text from a another friend who saw I was at the cathedral. She asked me if I could pray for her. I told her in so many words: “I already have.”

Fate Acceptance

This is a big week for me. I have been dealing with many things all at once and I will say that all of it makes me nervous. I think that this is the reason why I have not been posting so much. All of my thoughts are focused on this grad school app. It has made me think about everything; my future, my past, my love life, and my family. But, yet I have had the patience to deal in the only way I know how.

The problem is that I do not want to talk about the same things over and over. I can have 30 blogs just on this subject but then it would only show how neurotic I am getting about this. So, I have been keeping calm, collected, and taking each day as it comes. I try not to think too much about anything in particular. I am also spending the week in NYC to help me pass the time since Syracuse University is currently on spring break.
I have a photo shoot this week that will help promote myself on the November Group site. I am excited for this because this is something that is for me.  I have done photo shoots for work but they are not the same and I do not believe that those photos really capture me in my essence. To be honest, I do not like how I look in many of the pictures that are taken of me, however, I leave them up on Facebook because it what I look like.
The funny thing is that it is not like I have had writer’s block, because that is not true. I have been writing short stories.  I have written and edited one and I have been working on another. Many times I will write because the mood hits me. I think that creatively I am still alive but it is the cultivation that I am working on. I am very much an emotional writer and will write as long as my emotions can carry me. Of course, editing is something completely different. I can write the essence of the story with pure emotion but I do not need to be in the same mood in order to edit and add on. It has been an interesting process.
At this point it is just all about patience. I have come the conclusion that this whole thing is about fate right now. If it was meant for me to get into Sarah Lawrence then I will. I know 2 years ago I wrote several blogs on fate and choice. All of this has made me think about the notion of fate and whether our choices in life make a real difference.  I personally think that we choose the things that happen to us by putting ourselves in the right or wrong situations.
I have put myself in this situation just so other people can decide my fate. This is out of my hands, although, I made sure that I did everything I could to make all the deadlines in order to make this possible. Still, it comes down to someone else’s choice. It makes me think about job interviews and how anyone of us can work hard to present ourselves in a positive light in order for someone else to decide if we are good enough. With interviews, we have a certain level of control because I believe we can control out ability to do well or bomb horribly. This application process in not the same, I feel in less control.
I have been reading about acceptance. I think that acceptance is something that helps my patience and my entire thought process on fate. When it comes down to it, we control my own emotions and no one can make us feel anything. While situations my influence our emotions, we can control our own crazy. I have arrived to this point based on the fact that I cannot make a big deal either way on what happens to me. I cannot get upset when something doesn’t go my way as I once did. The key is always understanding what has the potential to bother us and what is that really upsets us. 
I have accepted my fate, no matter what it is because I know what I was born to do.

Undergraduate Reflections

I feel like this is a big month for me. There is countdown clock in my head that is ticking down the days until I get this letter. It is becoming all that I think about. I cannot give myself a real reason why I would not be accepted to Sarah Lawrence College. I really feel that this is a right fit for me.

However, I look back at my undergraduate years and I think about how I could have done so much better. I was so lost in everything that was not my books. I went into college blind to how hard the environment could be. I went away to get away from warring parents. I continue to think that this was the best choice for me. Syracuse University is where I eventually found something within myself.

However, those 4 years were indeed hard. My grades certainly reflected this. I spend the first 2 years trying to figure out what I want to do in life. I took all these liberal arts classes that were ok, but there were some that I could not wrap my mind around. Math was something that always kicked my ass, but it was African American Studies classes that kept me somewhat focused.

Women were foreign territory to me. I had no idea what I was doing and they distracted the hell out of me. I got lucky a few times by fooling around with some girls here and there, but I was so convinced that I was just not good enough. I was not confident in myself despite the fact I may had a few girls who liked me. The one thing that really noticed was the fact that it was only black girls that seemed interested. I spent much time wondering why women of my own culture were not interested.

This was part of me recognizing my place in this world. I began to figure out that I didn’t quite fit in either black or latino culture on campus. In the end, I ended up hanging out more with my African American friends. I felt that I connected more with them, but I was just beginning to understand my own roots. My grades still suffered because I was really not thinking about school as much as I was thinking about just surviving day to day. Sure, I went to class but, I was taking classes in things I really did not care for.

Then, by my junior year, two things occurred. I finally selected my major and I finally got myself a girlfriend. She was not technically my first girlfriend, but she was my first real relationship. In terms of my major, I finally chose English. I also became a student leader on campus and it seemed all things were going right. This is where I finally felt that twinge of confidence. I begin to love my classes and love the person I was becoming. My grades finally improved but, I ended up graduating with a GPA that is not what I call to great.

I think about all of that now and I cannot wish that I could do it all over. Everything that has happened in my past has shaped my present. I am who I am because of the path I walked. So, I have to live with the bad grades because I was just no focused enough. This is why I have such an affinity and understanding with the students I mentor and supervise.  There was no one like me back then. I make the choice everyday to make sure that students know I am here and I have been in there shoes.

My grades in graduate classes are what they should be. I am averaging an A-. Although, it was just three classes, I took them while working, on average, of 55 hour weeks. I just hope that it is enough to sway the panel of admissions or whomever makes the decision that I am indeed good enough.

The Waiting Game

“All human wisdom is summed up in two words – wait and hope” – Alexandre Dumas Père

This is where I am right now. Waiting for my fate to be revealed by letter from a school that I am so desperately wanting to go to. I have had a certain quiet confidence about me but, I have not been cocky in my assessment that I would be a good for Sarah Lawrence College. Since I entered my application in January I have been slowing making plans with my life. I know exactly what I am going to do.

However, this is the waiting game. Although I may be one of the most patient people you may ever meet, anticipation of what will happen slow eats away. Sure, the nervousness is starting to set in. I have been trying my best to move on with my life for the past year and a half and it has not been happening (not from lack of trying) at the rate I would like it to. Now I have a real chance to get out of here and I feel the nerves getting tight.

I do not have a plan B at this point. I really didn’t have a plan B when I applied to Syracuse either, but I was forced by my dad to apply to schools that I really did not want to go to. I have always been the type that when I want something, whatever is the next best thing does not match up. I can remember as a kid collecting the Transformers and I tried to be as authentic as possible. When other people would buy me similar toys that were transformers but were the bootleg kind, it felt cheap.

What I do not want is to get to the point in which I just leave this place with no job or no school. So failure is not in my thought process at this moment. So I wait. I think about how much I wait on a daily basis. I realize that I have so much patience with people in general. I do not panic in most situations because there is no point. I know that I will find a way. The problem is when other people have my fate in their hands. I am not very good at selling myself and I have the hardest time doing self assessments at work. That is why I had such a hard time to do my bio.

This is where my patience will pay off. I have those people who already assume I have gotten in. I love them but I am not so sure. I do not want to assume a thing. Then there are those who ask me all the time if I have heard anything or when will I hear something.

So let me just say that I did receive a letter from Sarah Lawrence College yesterday stating that they will mail out decisions for my program on March 17. So there. I have a date that is ingrained in my head so much that I am sure I will have a count down at some point in my thought process. What makes this funnier is that I will be in NYC at that time, which means that I will not know about a thing until I come back that Sunday on the 20th. Once again, patience will play a key because I will not call any of my roommates to read me the letter. I need to see those words myself.

Patience is the world I live in.

“Patience and fortitude conquer all things” – Ralph Waldo Emerson