Application Process Memories

I’m home. Winter vacations have just started and I feel deeply blessed of being home, near the ocean, enjoying the perfect caribbean weather at Cancun. I got to see practically my WHOLE family last Saturday: 52 people from all over the world gathered at my mom’s living room eating “Mexican” Christmas food: turkey, “bacalao” (codfish) and “romeritos” (some kind of herb in mole and shrimp cakes). During this wonderful celebration, I realized that I haven’t seen most of these beloved people for at least 1.5 years at my cousin’s wedding two days before embarking towards our new life at Boston and therefore, at MSPP.

I remember the application mid-December MSPP deadline that I faced two years ago. I only applied to two places: MSPP and another place. I really wanted to go to MSPP and once the deadline from the other place has passed I realized that my application was far from incomplete as I hadn’t realized I needed to do some huge part of the application process that I didn’t do. When I realized that and the University contacted me, I thought about my traditional psychoanalytic professors and their theories of sabotage: I really wanted to go to MSPP and apparently I sabotaged my only other application to a place I really didn’t want to go as bad as I wanted to go to MSPP.

I began my application process on August of 2008, so exactly one year before starting school at MSPP. My application process began with doing my TOEFL because I am an international student and TOEFL is required in the application process for international students. I remember thinking that I needed to think of at least 3 or 4 other places apart from MSPP as they send the scores up to 4 or 5 different institutions, so I had to come up with other programs, which I did through browsing for other APA accredited programs through the APA website.

I did a lot of research on the other institutions and programs, and finally chose my 4 or 5 programs based, well, on the program orientation, but also on the cities that these programs were based as I was moving from another country and wanted to make myself sure that if we were moving we would move to a city we (my husband, my dog and I) loved. Just by that thought, my options dropped dramatically. Once I decided on my other programs I decided to work on MSPP application as it was the place where my heart was placed.

I feel that I learned a lot from MSPP just by their application process. For instance, I remember telling myself that I would tell them very personal things on essays, about my motives for being interested in psychology. I knew it could be a risk but at the same time I thought that I really wanted MSPP to see who I am as a person so that if there was a fit it’d be a profound fit. At the end of this process I knew I really wanted to be at MSPP and didn’t apply to the other places (with that one “sabotage” exception).

On the first days of 2009 I got an e-mail about my application status: I got an interview! I was at my parents’ at that moment and I recall I was screaming and jumping through their living room. Then I went into the interview and the rest is history.

One piece of advice for you interested in applying to MSPP or to any other programs would be to be as sincere and authentic as possible in the process. One thing that really helped me before my interview was to sit down at my favorite bookstore in Cambridge with a cup of coffee and really just journal and write from my heart answers to questions such as, Why MSPP?, Why psychology?, What are your strengths?, What are your weaknesses?, and so on. Journaling really helped me ease my mind and find true answers to those questions.

After I got accepted at MSPP the moving process began, and it was a lot. Lots of packing, selling, and giving away things. Lots of Sunday afternoons at craiglist and google maps thinking about our new life in a new country… As I said in the beginning “I’m home”, but when I’m in Boston, I’m home too.

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