With four graduate school applications done and mailed, Kristan Jiggetts was crossing her fingers
. She applied to UCLA, the University of Southern California, Loyola Marymount (all in or near Los Angeles) and Columbia College in Chicago. The holiday break took her on a winter training trip to Puerto Rico with the swim team, she took a chemistry course (science requirement fulfilled!) over Jan Plan and her thesis (an analysis of films that target teen audiences) was beginning to take over her life. It was almost enough to keep Jiggetts from thinking 24-7 about her future.
But not quite.
For instance, because she's applying to film and production programs, most of the schools requested writing samples, and she'd been thinking about this. "I sent the screenplay I wrote and almost every creative writing story I've ever written at Colby," Jiggetts said. "But one of the main schools that I want to go to is USC and their application was one sheet, and it said exactly what I needed to write and essentially said, 'If you can't handle answering these questions concisely, then you're not coming here!' They didn't want any materials. I had to write down exactly what my goals are and why I am attracted to this programin one page. That's more stressful because if I messed up on those eight hundred words, I guess I'm thrown out. It was hard to pare down what I wanted to say."
It is difficult to avoid feeling pressure with graduation looming, especially when some classmates already know where they're headed. "One of my roommates, the economics major, is actually now employed," Jiggetts said. "She got a job in the fall, so she's all set. But the rest of us are still kind of on the fence.
"My parents have been really supportive of the grad school option, which is interesting because I would think that they would just want me to go out and get a job at this point. Every once in a while I say to my mom, 'What if I don't get into grad school and don't get a job either?' She just says, 'Relax. Most people don't know exactly what they're doing. They're not going to have the next thirty years planned out on May twenty-fourth.'"
What if Jiggetts doesn't get into graduate school this time around? "I've been trying to make a contingency plan, but I've also been trying to stay optimistic and think that this is going to work out," she said. "If it doesn't, I guess in March or April I'll have to try to find something else. Most of the jobs I would apply for would open up around that time anyway. I've still been looking around but I haven't found anything.
"Maybe I'll just head out to L.A. to do anything that will get me working on a set. Sometimes I think I should look into something else that interests me, like publishing, but then I keep thinking I should stay with what I feel I would love to do [film] and just go with it until it completely falls apart or until it comes together."