The Hunger Games- College Edition

…that’s finding money for grad school for you (stole this quote from 2 Broke Girls, btw).

Here are the stages that I underwent over the course of my search:

June. Of course you know since the summer that you want to attend grad school after your bachelors. But do you care to use the free summer months to send off applications, start preparing GREs or look into finances? NO. Why would you?! It’s sunny outside, after all. 

September. School starts again, you see all your friends, stress kicks in. Assignments, presentations, papers, deadlines, job, social life, sleep. It’s just a LOT to handle. By the end of the month, if you’re lucky, you might have a preliminary list of schools you want to apply to.

October. You exclude US schools, because they are SO EXPENSIVE. Also, their deadline approaches soon and you would have to take the GRE/GMAT. And that’s just a scary path you don’t want to go down. Expensive too. Why not Europe anyway? So much cheaper for EU citizens. Rolling application deadlines. No tests.

November. Shoot. European schools want to have TOEFL test scores. You tell yourself you will register soon (with “soon” turning out to be four weeks because you spend three weeks ranting about how stupid that is, seeing that you are attending an American university in Germany and have spoken nothing but English the past three years and who do they think they are, running around taking my money? You take another four days to tell yourself you will not give in to these stupid mechanisms of tests that say nothing at all and are just a way of taking your money.) Then you register. Almost full points. BOOM. Euphoria.

December. You find an international business school with campuses in the US. Perfect program. Great location. Everything fits. No GMAT. You apply, get in. You think: SAN FRANCISCO BABY! BACK TO THE US!! BACK TO THE PLACE THAT MAKES ME HAPPY!!! Then you wake up. They send you the price catalogue- $40.000 just tuition fee…huh.
You get a partial scholarship. Wohoo, just…a couple of thousands more missing

December, still. You realize that deadlines for all major scholarships have already passed. You accept the fact and move on..to student loans. An appointment at your local bank is supposed to help. The employee’s comment: “Well, that is a lot of money indeed and we can’t really help. Good luck!”. You go home, empty a bottle of champaign with your friend, sit down and think. The more time passes, the more desperate your money -getting ways become: they reach from becoming a starbucks barista over selling your eggs, becoming a surrogate mother and opening a sex hotline to another shot of vodka and the realization that you are pretty screwed.

January. Yet to come. If anyone knows how to get $27000, comment here. If anyone knows how to find shared living options in San Francisco, comment here. I tried craigslist but have only gotten dubious sex offers. And Western Union trash. Not very helpful. Otherwise I’m just gonna start collecting cardboard boxes already, so that at least I will have a place to live in San Francisco. Maybe with a nice garden in the back box. Could grow my own plants and just live off that for a year. If I ever make it to the States in the first place, that is.

Bottomline. Here you are, talented and poor. But, where there’s a will, there’s a way. I shall keep looking.. any hints appreciated.
Cheers mates!

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Family. Home. Happiness.

I have to go on a little bit of a rant… I wanted to post a list of things I love, it being Thursday, and as I started listing them, I realized they all centered around one thing today. That one thing is the feeling of being home.

I love that I have a crazy, warm, loving family, one that fights and argues and still manages to get along and have everyone sit together for weekend brunches. I love that they laugh about the silliest things, and tease each other, and yell at the cats for stealing the breakfast salmon, and complain about the snow, and make fun of my sister for being clumsy and my mother for being something very much resembling a zombie in the morning, and of me, for the excruciating slowness with which I drink my coffee. I love them to bits, and even if they annoy me sometimes, I could not have asked for a better mom, step-dad, brother and sister. My mom knows almost everything that happens in my life, she’s the one I turn to for advice about men and dating and love and friendship and the future. In turn, she comes to me for advice on how to set up her printer…

They’re a little messy, a little disorganized, a little overwhelmed by life at times, but they’re the best family one could have. My brother is the crazy brain who studies Math and will relate absolutely everything to some mathematical concept, leaving the rest of the dinner table rolling their eyes. My sister is the one who’s good with kids, who’s going to be an elementary school teacher and before that, an au pair in Australia. I’m the crazy one who decided to move away for university, who is better at English than her native tongue German, and who’s probably not going to come back and stay, at least not for very long.

And yet, every time I come home, it’s a refuge. I can catch my breath, reflect on my life, my goals, my relationships. I can recover from a break-up or entertain my siblings with stories of life at a campus university where everybody knows everybody else – depending on the mood. I become a kid again, spending entire afternoons trying (and consistently failing) to beat my siblings at Mario Kart (curse you, rainbow road!!), and I become myself again… taking long baths, reading lots of books, going for walks, finding my centre.

I am happy when I go out and explore the world. I love seeing new places, meeting new people, creating new goals, understanding new perspectives. Yet a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor, and sometimes the sea gets rough. Relationships fail, goals shift, some dream I had is no longer achievable. Life knocks you around quite a lot when you’re in your early 20s. Especially in those moments, I am so infinitely grateful to have a support network to fall back on. It’s like that cheesy Hannah Montana song… (yes, it’s happening, I’m quoting Miley Cyrus…):

“But when the lights go down it’s the ending of the show
And you’re feeling like you got nowhere to go
[…]
when I’m feeling down and I am all alone
I’ve always got a place where I can go
Cause I know
You can change your hair and you can change your clothes
You can change your mind, that’s just the way it goes
You can say goodbye, you can say hello
But you’ll always find your way back home.”

End of rant… and end of cheesiness.

But seriously, there’s few things I could think of that I am more grateful for than this amazing family. If nothing else goes right, I’ll always have them to come home to and start anew…