I got my classes!

25 Jul

.. ALL of them!

Miraculously, and uncharacteristically for a post-baccalaureate transfer student (who is the last of the entire school to be allowed to register for courses), I got ALL of the classes I needed!

But let’s back up first …

Back in early 2013, I applied to Western Washington University’s Pre-Physical Therapy program in their kinesiology department.  I was told that it was highly unlikely that I would be accepted due to most of their fall science/movement courses already being full, particularly in Kinesiology.  For me, going to Western opens more doors than going to a community college like Skagit Valley College (though it is ranked #2 in the nation for community colleges): My target schools–Duke, University of Washington, Columbia University and University of Colorado–view credits from a university far more favorably than those from a community college.  When I checked with Duke, they said that it was unlikely that they would consider community college applicant due to their already highly competitive pool.  So at that juncture, when I head the news, I figured I’d try for Western and if I didn’t get in, I’d go to Skagit and settle for going to lower-tier schools with less going on in the field of research (It’s my dream to do research on yoga from a PT standpoint, and combine the two modalities for holistic healing).



I was just getting settled into the idea that I’d be going to a community college, then to a smaller, private PT school when I ended my morning run this spring at the mailbox and pulled out an envelope from Western.  It was more exciting than my first time as an undergrad … I had, in fact, been accepted to Western’s competitive Pre-PT program as a post-baccalaureate!

But if we back up even further, we come to math.  Oh, math … part of a reason I went to an arts school was so that I could avoid taking any more math.  And this goes back even to High School, when I opted out of precalculus and took an AP Art course instead.  Then at Columbia, the only math course I took was called “Math for Survival,” which is self-explanatory (though quite fun!).  And since then, I haven’t missed math one ounce.  But as I started looking into physical therapy schools, I realized that there’s quite a bit more math that I need, so I decided to change my approach.  I decided to learn to like math, maybe even LOVE it.  And to do that, studied for the GRE (which was also, eventually, required for me to get into PT schools).

So back in September of 2012, I fell off the face of all my social networking platforms and delved into the study of math.  I studied every day for eight weeks, and then I studied even more.  I was basically teaching myself the math skills that I … never had.  At one point I even hired a tutor to help me learn (re-learn?  If so, I don’t remember learning in the first place!) how to simplify square roots and factor algebraic equations.  Boy those guys are expensive if you’re not a student!  GRE test day came, and I scored okay on the math section, good enough to apply to PT schools with, which was worlds better than I would have had I not studied so diligently.  I had intentions to continue familiarizing myself with math, but as the months ticked on, my GRE math study book collected dust.

These past few months have been crazily busy (in all the best ways), and, despite my best intentions, I only cracked that math book open one time before my math placement test, which I was required to take before I was permitted to register for courses at Western.

A lot hinged on this test.  I needed science classes that required math prereqs.  In fact, nearly all my classes required at least Algebra & Precalc.  It had been TWELVE YEARS since my last math class (no wonder I didn’t remember what an explanation mark meant in the math world!).  If I didn’t test into Precalc, I would not be able to register for my needed classes.  If I couldn’t register for my needed classes, I wouldn’t be a fulltime student.  If I wasn’t a fulltime student, my financial aid would not process.  At that point, I would be jobless and financial-aid-less, which would not be a good combination.

So, this morning, I arrived at Western’s Science Math & Technology building, and took the test, at 7:45 am.  I guessed on the answers I didn’t know.  Then I painstakingly waited the rest of the day, through how-to-register sessions and advising sessions.  I kept checking my student account to see if my math scores processed yet, to no avail.

Class registration started for us post-bac transfer students at 3:20 pm sharp.  Our accounts were universally locked until that moment of truth.  We met in a computer lab with an advisor and a student assistant who walked us through the process, offering tips and strategies for how to register quickest.  Still, no sign of my math test score.  I wrote down my ideal schedule, then wrote down backup classes and re-affirmed that if I hadn’t passed that test, there was no reason for me to be attending school that fall.  Time seemed to go in reverse.

Then finally, at 2:30 pm, less than an hour before I was slated to register, my math scores posted.  And … I had scored AWESOMELY WELL!  I could register for whatever classes I needed.  Whew!  I could barely believe it was true.  I just stared at the screen for a minute.  Then I flagged down our student assistant to make sure it was true.  She smiled at me and said that yes, I could register for whatever classes I needed.  What a huge relief.

But it wasn’t a complete relief: I still had to get a seat in the four classes I needed to fill my schedule so I would be considered a fulltime student.  Most classes had 1-4 seats open.  There were probably over three hundred people at Registration, and I sat in a room with twenty other Pre-Medical students who all had their mouses strategically hovering over the “Register” button.  Nearly all of us needed to get into the same classes.  I had my ideal schedule (class codes) written out in my notebook beside me.  The clock ticked on.  The girl next to me said, “I feel like we’re in a game show or something, about to win a million dollars or something…”  I literally had butterflies, so I took some deep yoga breaths and told myself that what is meant to be will be.

3:20 struck!  At the moment of truth, I speed-typed my class codes in.  Biology … click … “this class is full.”  Precalc … click … “this class is full.”  Statistics … “this class is full.”  Psychology … “this class is full.”  Grunts, gasps, and sighs from my registration-mates.  The girls next to me exclaimed, “Oh my god what am I going to do?  None of my classes are open!”

Strangely, I did not panic.  I consulted my list of all possible biology classes and began punching in numbers in random lab/lecture combinations.  “Class is full.”  “Class is full,” then magically, one of the lectures let me in.  One of the labs let me in.  On to Precalc, my second priority.  After a few tries, one of the courses let me in, and amazingly, it did not conflict with my bio/lab schedule.  I punched in Psychology, and BAM!  I’m in.  Miraculously, all these classes worked into the same schedule.  Stats was still full, but I had registered for 14 credits and was only allowed 17 at this point, so I couldn’t have registered for stats anyway.  Suddenly, I was official!

Not only would I get financial aid, but I also got all the classes I possibly could have.  Stats would open again for me on August 26th, when I would be permitted to register for 18 credits (interesting rule).  I sat at my computer and stared at my listing of courses, feeling dazed.  Throughout the room, my pre-medical peers let out exasperated groans.  The student assistant asked one guy, “What can I do to make this right for you?” and was met with a cold, “Nothing.  I’m screwed.”

I can say that many of the other transfer students in that room walked away disappointed, with half-full schedules, or classes that they took not because they needed them for their major, but because they needed enough credits to be considered a fulltime student.

After I finalized my course registration, I left the room and could barely hold back tears.  There was so much at stake, and so much hinged on that day, and now it was over.  I felt silly for worrying so much about the math test, but also felt a sense that something greater than me was at work.  As the reality sinked in, I was overwhelmed by gratitude and a profound sense that I am walking my path, flowing right in line with what I’m meant to do.

Really, truly, this experience has reaffirmed for me that if you believe you can achieve something, and you work hard and surrender to the process, you can accomplish anything.

Do what you dream!

Do what you dream!

It is our responsibility to ourselves and to each other to chase our dreams.  Especially our most outrageous ones.

From math tests to lucky numbers, here I am, ready to embark on my journey to PT school.  I will excitedly keep you posted along the way.


5 Responses to “I got my classes!”

  1. Jessie July 27, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    Reblogged this on Jessie Tierney.



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