First there was discovering my teacher. Who saw me and gave me a big welcoming hug. Asked about my summer and my family. Chatted with me and the Master’s student about his work in England last week.
Then the choral office, the place where We The Choral People go to hang out and have a place to be, was open. I no longer felt like a bag lady schlepping around looking for a place to park myself between Events; I have a place now. It’s a place with an uneven linoleum floor, battered furniture, and sopranos screeching vocalise exercises across the hall all the live long day, but it’s mine. Better: it’s ours.
And at academic advising, the director of graduate studies responded to my request to accept a different music theory course in lieu of the one that conflicts with my major seminar by telling me that since I “scored very high” on the theory diagnostic, it would likely not be a problem. (This was about 10 minutes after my substitute adviser looked at me doubtful when I said I wanted to take qualitative analysis in music education this winter, telling me, “you know, that course will probably have a lot of reading and writing in it.” I just nodded and said calmly, “yes, I know.” Dude. I’m a doctoral student. I just did a frigging theology degree. You want reading and writing? Take a theology degree. Bring it on, man.)
That high score on the diagnostic means a lot to me. Mostly I just like doing well at what I attempt. But more than that, this time–this exam represents my first objective and clear statement of “I belong here.” I mean, aside from getting into the school, but that can always be a fluke, I guess. I got in, I’m here, and I succeeded at the first thing they’ve asked of me.
And the second thing? I say again: Bring it on.