When I started college as an undergrad, there were a number of people who were certain I would quit. To this day I still have no idea why – it’s not because I’m a bad student, I actually enjoy academia. If I were to guess, I believe they always thought I would realize I didn’t need a degree as a performer and would drop out in result.
Within four years, I graduated with two concentrations (that was faster than most music students with only one concentration) and in my last two years, I had even decided to go on to study as a postgraduate student. I applied to a number of different schools, but I wasn’t accepted and so I began to move on with my life, started a relationship and pursued performance.
While most of my friends were picking their courses, I was feeling rejected. Then the letter came. It was entirely unexpected. I had almost completely abandoned the idea of university when my brother shouted at me from the end of the stairwell “Shannon! There’s a letter for you from some university.”
Some university? It had been months since I had applied and I had forgotten entirely that there was one school I had not heard from, one I had applied to only on a whim.
I had already been through the acceptance or rejection process once as an undergraduate, so my next question was already ready. Was it in a big envelope or a small envelope?
“It’s in a big envelope,” he called from the bottom of the stairs. “I think…”
My initial thought was that it was too late to have received a university acceptance, but as I descended the stairs my thoughts were “holy crap, holy crap, holy crap – am i really going to do this?” At this point, there was only one school I hadn’t heard from and it would mean a big change.
I opened the letter and it sounded like a rejection. It had to have been some cruel joke. As I kept reading, the tone suddenly changed and I realized that the letter was, in fact, an acceptance.
I panicked. I had only submitted to this particular school as a longshot and never expected to get in. I was at a loss. My parents were in Greece on vacation at the time, and I called desperately, trying to get a hold of them for their advice.
I called a few friends and my boyfriend to tell them the news, but we were all too shocked for it to register. Finally, my mother returned my call.
“Well, are you going?”
Ah, that fateful question I had been avoiding. I threw the idea around in my head for a moment, more seriously than I had when I replied.
“Well, I guess that means I’m moving to Ireland.”
It was the day I made the decision to become an expat.