Monday, June 13, 2011

Adios, Austin (part two)

So the GRE happened...

It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t great either. I keep trying to stay positive and focus on the fact that one test doesn’t define who I am as a person or determine the rest of my life. But when all you really think about is getting into graduate school, it’s kind of hard not to think that.

I started bawling hysterically when I left the testing center. It was pretty dramatic. I immediately called my advisor and made an appointment with her for the following morning. I rushed to her office and collapsed in the chair near her desk. I’ve done this a few times before, so she didn’t exactly look surprised. They know me so well in the advising office that they let me just go straight to her office instead of checking in at the front desk (you call it excessive, and I call it a toll tag). Anyways, I started blurting out a million questions. Should I take it again? Was this competitive enough of a score?  They’re changing the test in August so even if I want to take it, will I have time to prepare for the new one? What should I do? WHAT SHOULD I DO?

She shrugged and smiled, “Well, I guess it’s up to you. I’m not really the person to talk to, honestly.”

I just blankly stared at her for a few moments. I felt like I had just been diagnosed with some horrible disease and I was asking my doctor for a recommendation, a suggestion, an idea, for the love of god, anything. And my doctor just shrugged and said, “Well, I guess it’s up to you. I’m not really the person to talk to, honestly.”

How is this helpful at all? Aren’t you an advisor? Isn’t your job to give people advice?

I left her office feeling even more lost. I had originally asked all of my friends to come over to help me say goodbye to Austin, but honestly, I wasn’t in the mood to see or talk to anyone. I wanted to cry in bed for the rest of the night, watch the Food Network, and come up with a new life plan that had absolutely nothing to do with graduate school.

But I knew that if anyone could make me feel better about everything, it was my friends. So the night was still on, everyone came over, and together we drove to South Congress to hit up the food trailers.

There is something pretty extraordinary about the food truck scene in Austin. Not only can you find your typical hot dogs and burgers, but you can also find some unique gourmet food. Our first stop was the Mighty Cone. The little trailer has become a pretty popular joint here, and they’ve even been featured on the Travel Channel and Food Network on numerous occasions. All of their snacks come in these little tortilla wraps, but in an easy-to-hold, drip-free paper cone. It’s pretty ingenious. I had the chicken-avocado cone, which had slices of chicken and avocado fried in a batter made from sesame seeds, corn flakes, crushed red pepper, and almonds, and topped with a light cole-slaw. Soul satisfying.

We spent some more time exploring the food trucks. John and I decided that if I never get into grad school and he never gets into med school, we’re just going to start a trailer that sells fried oreos and other artery clogging items. I don’t think the world is ready for this.

We usually make plans for the rest of the night, but what consistently happens is this: we plop down somewhere in the living room, start discussing something ridiculous, and we don’t get up until one or two in the morning. We talk about everything and nothing. We laugh. We tell each other stories. It turns out that this was all that I really needed to say goodbye to Austin. I didn’t need to go food-trucking on South Congress or catch a movie at the Drafthouse. I didn’t need a drive to Mt. Bonnell or a late-night pancake run to Kerbey Lane. I needed to be around the people who love me, support me, and accept me no matter what.

I didn’t get a perfect GRE score. This is not my first disappointment, and it will not be my last. But I’m not going to allow this to make me take the important things for granted, including how lucky I am to be going on this trip abroad, and the amazing life that I have waiting for me at home.

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