For a while there, I was going to grad school and then the summer got kind of weird and along with all the other things that were going on, some people suggested I should consider transferring to a seminary where I could get some actual financial help. Since researching these options was proving time-consuming and . . . well, making decisions is never that easy for me and some of these were doozies, so I decided to take this semester, and probably next semester, off.
During this time, as you know, I made a few visits to other schools, the favourite of which was Princeton Theological Seminary. Probably because of talking about toilets with the students or something. The thing was, I just wasn’t sure I wanted to make the geographical move at this point in my life. Which is kind of silly, since I’ve made much larger moves with a lot less deliberation or hesitation, although obviously different factors have gone into those decisions. At some point over the weekend, I made the declaration that I had decided that, even if I got accepted to Princeton–even if they gave me money toward my studies there–I wouldn’t go.
Yesterday was Day 2 of Now Church’s annual Church Fair, and I stayed there most of the day, stopping at the house briefly afterwards before going over to The Boyfriend’s house to watch a movie with him and his daughter. During the stop-off, I checked the mail. Of which there was very little, it must be said. Another newsprint flyer with grocery deals–the sort of thing I throw in the pile of starter in the woodstove. An offer from a bank trying to get me to buy life insurance. (Don’t you love how junk-mail ads are called “offers”? As if the purveyors aren’t actually trying to get you to do something for them?) Some mail for my grandmother. And an envelope from Princeton Theological Seminary.
A thin envelope from Princeton Theological Seminary.
I suppose I’m lucky or something; I’ve never had a thin envelope from an educational institution to which I’ve applied before (I cannot report similar results with publishing houses), but I know what they mean. My first thought was, A thin envelope. I didn’t get in. Recycle bin. It wasn’t like I needed to read it. But, like the proverbial train wreck, I couldn’t avoid looking. The letter was polite but brief and unequivocal.
I’m still not sure how I feel about this. I wasn’t going to go anyway. It eliminates any need to make a decision. But . . . well honestly, for some reason I really did think I was going to get in. The less Christ-like part of me would have liked to have been able to say I turned an Ivy League school down instead of that I was turned down by one. I comfort that part of myself by saying I was just too evangelical or conservative or something for them, and they’re just not tolerant enough to handle someone like me, but I suspect that’s simplistic at best and not even true at . . . worst?
The thing is, I’ve been praying for clarity. There’s some way, or maybe ways, in which I am not Princeton’s type, and that fact certainly helps provide that clarity. It’s kind of nice not to have to wonder, in this particular case at least, what would have happened had I made the other choice.