Ad infinitum.

At least I’m not crying anymore.

There were a few moments today when my brain sort of went bat shit crazy hay wired, “does not compute, does not compute, does not compute.”

I put my phone down on the kitchen table at work, face down, I couldn’t look at the message again.

Did I just read what I read?

What did it say?

I had tears streaming down my face.

I tried to stop.

Pause, take a bite of my lunch, I’ve only got so many minutes before quiet time is up and the oldest comes back from his doctor appointment and the mound of Lego’s still needs to be cleaned up.



Did I read that right?



Take it from the top.

I flipped over my phone and read it again.

Dear Carmen,

Congratulations! The Scholarship Team is pleased to inform you that you have been selected as a recipient of the CIIS Opportunity Scholarship beginning in the Fall 2015 Semester and ending in the Spring 2017

The CIIS Opportunity Scholarship is a tuition-only award. At the beginning of each semester, your tuition account will be credited. Any additional fees (including registration fees) are not covered by the scholarship. Please read the contract below for rules and regulations.

Opportunity scholarships are made possible by the generous gifts from various foundations and/or donors.  As a future follow-up, you may be contacted by our Development Office regarding which of these foundations and/or donors funded your scholarship. 

Again, congratulations on your scholarship and we wish you success in your academic endeavors.

Warmest regards,

I Chen

Director of Financial Aid

Financial Aid Office


I got the scholarship!

I got the scholarship!

I got the scholarship!


What the hell?

I re-read the e-mail, yes, it’s addressed to me, yes, that’s my name, but that’s not the scholarship I was directed to send in another essay to.

In fact.

Fuck me.

It’s better.

The scholarship I applied to was for the Diversity in Leadership Award.

Nothing to sneeze at, to be sure, one full year of tuition–i.e. two semesters–of school paid for.

This is different.

This is a scholarship of Opportunity.

Holy shit.

And it’s for two years, not one.

That’s four semesters of school that just got paid for.

Holy mother of God.

I just got two years paid for.

Two years.

“How are you going to pay for the third year, eh?” My deviant brain asked in a moment of blank when I was sitting in the chair in the kitchen, trying to divide my attention between the baby monitor, the clock on the wall, and my lunch which was rapidly cooling off.


Shaddup brain.

Bask for one fucking moment, can you please?

Crying is basking right?

I don’t know that it has really sunk in yet.

I mean, there’s a part of me that is still in awe that I am going to graduate school at all, that I got in, that they want me, that not only do they want me, they are willing to pay for me to go to school.

There will still be costs, I still have to pay registration fees, but you know, I can handle the $300 deposit fee I had to pay when I accepted placement into the program.

Seems a fair deal considering that a semester for the Master’s in Psychology program at CIIS is $1,018 per credit.  At twelve credits a semester, that’s a bit over $24,000.

Um yeah.

Oh my God.

I actually don’t know the exact bill for tuition.

It’s a little confusing, there’s a lot of numbers in teeny tiny print on the website page for tuition and fees.

I do get that the scholarship is only for tuition, it doesn’t cover additional fees, which it looks like I can see right from the website is going to be about another $1500 or so.


I’ll take it.

What it appears to me is that I just was gifted approximately $50,000 in tuition.

That means $50,000 I won’t have to pay back to student loans.

I still expect that I will have to take out a few loans here and there.

I am still living in San Francisco, I don’t suspect that the cost of living is about to go down any time soon, despite warnings of pending tech bubble bursting (I don’t really believe it, although I am not sure the city can withstand any more increasing rent hikes, I’m seeing too many people I care about and love get priced right out of living in San Francisco), I doubt that it’s going to cost any less than it does now to live in San Francisco.

I live a good life.

It’s not ostentatious.

I don’t own much.

What I have is enough and I am happy and grateful for it.

In spades.

But working full-time now, making what I make now, I am living at just the threshold of getting by.

I’m not paycheck to paycheck.

But I am every other paycheck to paycheck.

And if I want something, travel, a scooter, a new laptop, I have to save the money, I have to crunch my numbers and I must have a spending plan.

I get by, I do ok, but I don’t see not taking out some additional loan money.

I won’t be working full-time for the family, I already have thought about what I could do to pick up extra hours here and there to make sure that I get things covered, but I wasn’t expecting the discussion that happened when I brought the boys back from the park.

The mom wanted to know if they should be concerned, if I was going to want to cut back my hours since I got the scholarship.



Not at all, didn’t once cross my mind.

My biggest wish is to get through all three years of graduate school without having to take out any student loans.

Fuck man.

I’m still paying on my undergraduate degree thirteen years later.

Less debt is better.

And my student loan debt is the only debt I have.


I’m not going to be stupid, I will accept money for school, I don’t want to work full-time, I’m going to be busy with full-time graduate school work, doing the deal, and hopefully writing a blog or two once in a while.

I will not kill myself.

And enough with all that.

I am not here to be anxious.

I am not here to worry about the rug being pulled out from underneath me or not having enough.

I have enough.

I am enough.

I got two years of graduate school tuition paid for.

I think I done alright.


I’m going to grad school.

Jesus God.

I’m blown away.

I really am.

Thank you and you and you and definitely you over there for all your support and love and congratulations and sweet words, I did not do this alone.

I had a lot of help and I am so grateful for it.

So grateful.

I don’t have words.

Despite this rambling blog.

Now, excuse me, I need to go read that e-mail again.

You laugh until you cry/you cry until you laugh

                                          Then you take that love you make/and stick it into someone else’s heart

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