Taking the Big Risk

I am currently in the process of applying to graduate school. That is one of those statements that I never in my life thought I’d make but here I am.

Putting together one’s record for such an application is a bit of a daunting task. There are some logistics involved – getting my transcripts and official test scores sent to the right place, figuring out who to ask to write recommendations for me, registering and taking two pre-requisite classes that you need for the program. None of these logistics are difficult, but they can be time consuming, what I have found to be most difficult is writing my essay. I am applying for a program in marriage and family therapy and understandably, they want to know why I want to do this and why I think I’d be good at this.

I don’t think “cuz I just know” will be sufficient.


I’ve sat at a blank page for far longer than I care to admit. It isn’t that I don’t think I’ll be good at this. I know in my heart of hearts that this is what I am called to do. The reasons it has taken me so long to get here aren’t really germane to this piece but I have a good understanding of the fact that I had a lot of work to do to get to this point. But I am here now and I am beyond excited to move forward with this plan. Yet, I have struggled with how to describe that to someone in such a way that they will understand that I will be a great asset to their program and that I have worked very hard to get to that point.

College was a very difficult time for me. Recently I visited with a friend from college and she wistfully said “don’t you wish we could go back?” My response was an emphatic “HELL NO”. The idea of going back to college can bring ice to my veins. I was so depressed during that time. I was so very lost and I was in the wrong place. Worst of all I didn’t have the language necessary to get myself the help that I truly needed. If I went back to college, it would be to do things very differently – different school, different major and probably some anti-depressants.

I have struggled with how to present that to the admissions committee of the school I wish to attend. How do I make someone understand the darkness of that period while also demonstrating how far I have come from that period? How do I show to strangers who don’t know me what everyone says to me when I tell them of my intentions “Oh Amanda, you were made to do this!”

This is a very personal story for me and something about which I am both passionate and also wistful. I wish I had figured out my issues much earlier in my life. I wish I wouldn’t have lost so much time hiding from the world, scared of showing up as myself. I also know that because I had to travel this path to get here, I am going to be able to help others to travel their path without judgment and with a deep understanding of the gray of the world.

Making a big career shift will be quite an adventure but I also know that the way that we best serve the world is to play to our strengths and do the things about which we are passionate so I know that no matter how difficult this process is – in the end, it will be worth it.

Amanda Lipnack

If you truly want to curl my toes, give me a chance to make a difference - for you, for the community, for the world.Few things make me happier than supporting the folks around me to be the best and happiest people they can be.This, of course, winds up taking on a multitude of flavors but generally comes through by being a good friend, a good coach and an excellent paint color picker.

I'm a single lady living in the suburbs of Philadelphia with 2 cats named Leo and Toby (after characters on "The West Wing" - one day I will have the ability to recite the entire series by heart.That's a noble goal, yes?).

I've had a varied career doing a bunch of technical stuff that isn't that interesting to folks who aren't doing it but my real passion is writing.I also get the fabulous pleasure of coaching people from time to time and that brings me amazing joy and energy.

If you want to hang with me there are things you should know:I curse.A lot.I like hoppy beer.A lot.I like big and deep red wines. A lot. I adore my friends.A lot, a lot.I am passionate about politics (or a big geek about them - you choose).I'm an accidental but rather passionate Unitarian and few things make me happier than my dining room table surrounded by people I love.And picking paint colors, let's not forget that. Find me online here.

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