Control Freak

I am not good at not being in control of things.

The last couple of days have been very difficult. My academic reference letter did not arrive by Friday’s deadline. I got a phone call Friday night from the admissions office to let me know that if one arrived on Monday they would accept it… but the person who agreed to write it didn’t answer the nudge email I sent last week or the more frantic nudge I sent this week. This cannot be good; I don’t want to believe that this person has flaked out on me, but neither do I wish on them any of the unpleasant circumstances that would plausibly excuse not sending a recommendation letter timely.

I am hoping it’s my fault for somehow not communicating the deadline clearly.

I already had a vague plan of trying, somehow, to find another reference — despite not being in touch with any of my former professors save the one who isn’t answering my emails. I’ve been out of school for seventeen years now, and while I fancy myself reasonably well educated it’s very uncomfortable for me to ask someone else to vouch for that if they haven’t worked with me directly. So beyond that, I’d formed the long-range plan that if the reference never showed up, I could still enroll as a non-degree student (at my own considerable out-of-pocket expense) and cultivate an academic reference for next year’s admissions cycle. Not my first preference, but at least a fallback position. Damage control and situational analysis, it’s what I do.

I was encouraged to really try to get a reference in by Monday, and that they understand people in the “non-traditional student” age bracket often have difficulty getting a formal academic reference, and that I should think creatively…

So I got on FB and begged favors, and if things go well I will have an academic reference letter (in the informal sense) in the admissions office, via fax, by Monday. I am not relaxing too much until they tell me everything is there.

I still have my fallback plan. I was starting to like the fallback plan – disappointing, yes, to delay my enrollment by a year, but it would be safer and more cautious.

Which, I think, is why I need to push forward anyway. So much of this process is about seeing the risks and taking them anyway — my freudian typo, “seeking the risks.” Indeed.

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