In addition, I had just flown from New York to Chicago and had a wonderful interview with a great mid-sized company (not to mention, I met Hanson). And after I had boarded the plane to go back to NYC, they had called to ask for references.
I was blown away. Things like this don't happen to me. Often times I will get lucky and some things will just fall into place, but never multiple things at once. I get a job, but have no apartment. I get into college, but not my dream college. You know the drill.
So I had to sit down and make a choice. And it was a really, really hard one to make. Especially when HR called and offered me the job with a pay increase and benefits that didn't make you want to cringe (like mine at my current job), but instead made me weep with joy.
I sat down that weekend after Halloween and thought long and hard about what I wanted, what I needed, and what I could afford.
Graduate school was what I wanted. I have wanted to be a writer ever since I was a little girl. I used to write short stories about eleven sisters and their parents - the Que family (which I was convinced would make me the next Ann M. Martin). My more grown-up dream was to write for a glossy magazine and Northwestern's pricey $80,000 dollar education could help me achieve that dream.
The flip side of the dream, is the harsh reality. My father always made it clear that if I were to go to grad school that I would do it on my own and with my own money. Money, which I unfortunately do not have. Money which would need to come from loans since I don't have time to apply for scholarships or grants since I would start school in a mere two months. Unfortunately, the problems don't stop at the money. Once I graduate, the hope is to leave with a degree that will make me more money in a higher position. This is of course not guaranteed. And I could potentially wind up broke, in debt, and without a job come January 2010. Not to mention that print journalism isn't faring too well in this economy.
The job offer on the other hand offers me the opportunity to save money (and with my raise and living in a cheaper city - I might actually be able to save for once!), the opportunity to grow and be successful in a career path that I hadn't considered at first but now have grown to enjoy, and I still have the opportunity to live near my family and Chicago friends. Not to mention I will have kick-ass benefits and get to travel! And more importantly, get paid to do so.
I think you see where I am going with this. When I got the call last week that I had officially received the job, I told them I would think about it. But ultimately, I have decided that this job got me just as excited as the idea of grad school did. So I called them and accepted the offer and I start my new job as Project Coordinator on December 3rd.
I can't begin to tell you how excited I am. I've started looking at one-bedroom apartments in the Wrigleyville and Lakeview areas. My friends in Chicago and I are planning wine exchange parties and Christmas parties and yoga classes on Saturday morning. My dad and I are planning dinners together and movies on Sundays. I'm excited to be back in my hometown.
And don't worry, I don't plan on giving up on my dream of writing for a living. Those stories about the Que's were where I started my writing career and I think it's about time I got back to my roots and start writing fiction again. My first order of business (after filling my craving for a Corner Bakery sandwich) when I move back to Chicago is to enroll myself in a creative writing course. I would love to keep writing, but on my own terms.
So as of last week, I gave my two week's notice at my current job and am going to be sending a letter of deferment to Northwestern (because a grad degree may be in my future - just not the immediate future).
I am on my way to living my dream and I couldn't be happier.