Oh, the uncertainty! As I enter the second (and final–how bittersweet!) term of my master’s degree here at HDS I am particularly reminded of the anxieties, hopes, and expectations of the “waiting game” that occupied my senior year of college because, in the oddly cyclical nature of things, I am in it once again!
As I await the fateful decision from the law schools I have applied to this year, it is interesting to notice the difference in my experience between this unknown transition time and the one that preceded my arrival at HDS, and the ways in which my experience here has contributed to this difference.
Although I expressed to friends and family during my college transition phase that I was not particularly invested in any outcome, ‘what will be will be!’ etc., in my heart I was longing for HDS. Although I had originally had no intentions of applying to divinity school, after visiting HDS I was incredibly struck by how wonderful the community was here and developed an increasing desire to be a part of it. I wasn’t sure when I would hear about the decision so the end of January to March (when I finally heard) consisted of far too much e-mail checking with bated breath. I was constantly—and, retrospectively, sadly—living in the future: what would my life be like if I got in? What would I do if I did not? Although these thoughts and day-dreams occupied my anxious mind; they certainly did not contribute to the fullness of my savoring the last few months of college. So, I suppose if I was asked what advice I would give to a prospective student, it would be (as my advice always is these days): breathe, feel your attention on what is happening inside and around you right now, and limit the times you check your e-mail to a reasonable once a day.
Interestingly, my time here has enabled me to not only express to others the ‘what will be will be’ mentality regarding law school, but to really feel that way as well. While I certainly still routinely find myself preoccupied with ‘what’s coming next’ thoughts and daydreams, I feel less attached to these imaginings and to the results that will soon be rolling in. Through my classwork and spiritual practice here at HDS, I have become increasingly content with being myself, now, in the space and time, and confident that I am well prepared for whatever comes my way next; be it another three years of radically different education, or perhaps starting a job, or another possibility that has not yet even entered my mind.
But, to all who are reading this with anxiety, I can tell you that I’ve been there and what I told myself then–and now–is both incredibly cliché and incredibly true: what will be will be. Additionally, I’d like to offer a reminder my mother (who herself is a prospective HDS student! Hi Mom!) always gives me, quoting from the wonderful Julian of Norwhich: “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”