As many of you know, I have been preparing for a Master’s program that was going to allow me to study at Lincoln College in Oxford this summer. Not only had I started reading the 3,000+ pages for the class, I had also started planning weekend trips to the Cotswolds, Paris, and London. I have conducted extensive research into the Musee d’Orsay and downloaded a map of the exhibits. Can I tell you that I was more than a little excited?!
Well, this afternoon I learned that the money for financial aid ran out before the school was able to process my application. On top of that, my husband’s car died last week, necessitating another major expense that was not planned for this fiscal year (or the next three years, to be honest). Consequently, I cannot in good conscience spend money to study abroad when we desperately need the funds for household expenditures. I’m not gonna lie, it is more than a bit disappointing.
However, I like to think of myself as the kind of person who believes “if it is meant to be, it will happen” and “all things happen for a reason.” It seems very apparent to me that the studies abroad were not meant to be for the summer of 2010. Therefore, there must be a reason why I need to stay home this summer.
I will be teaching 9 different classes next year – insanity by some people’s standards. Of those 9 classes, two will be totally new preps. I can easily use the time this summer to read through the new textbooks (one class will be a dual-credit English Composition course and the other class a creative writing course which utilizes the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum). I will have 9 full weeks to prepare for the fall rather than the 6 days that I would have had if the trip to Europe had panned out. This seems like a good thing.
In addition, this will be my first summer off in two years. I will be able to read for pleasure, not for school. Do you know how many reading challenges I can now participate in and not feel at all guilty? I plan to spend this weekend checking out A Novel Challenge to see which ones I want to join. I know that my first sign up will be Julie P’s 2010 EWs Summer Book challenge (I think I wanted to read 6 of the 18 books listed).
Lastly, I have been struck by the writing bug. Ever since my writing class last summer I have realized that my need to write has been buried far too long. Through various blogs and personal friends at school, this desire has been ignited into a full-fledged passion. I have several story ideas and I hope to use the time this summer to develop them into possible novel ideas (I want to model the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum for the students, and this summer will afford me the time to pursue that goal).
It has been a long while since I have been able to sleep until I wake up – rather than when the alarm awakes me. It has been a while since I have been able to read solely what I want to read, rather than what is dictated by curriculum. While the disappointment of studying abroad (a 30+ year dream) has been thwarted for the time being, I will not allow myself to wallow in self-pity. This can be a good thing — if I choose to look at the silver lining and not the dark cloud.