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Hanna Snider – November 2007 Grad

I did LifeWorks in 2013, three years after graduating college. My career was just beginning to take off. However, while I had (and have) a job I am passionate about, I knew I wanted to pursue more education and earn an advanced degree. It was a fundamental want in and of itself! I was also excited thinking about the opportunity and the doors it would open up throughout my career. However, until LifeWorks, my interest in going to graduate school was passive. I found myself researching programs on the internet, but as soon as I looked at the cost, I would shut down. I stopped pursuing graduate school before I had even started – I feared the cost.

Wings, however, taught me to stop making decisions based on money. I chose to put my fear of debt aside and shoot for the moon. To do this, I applied structural tension – a concept I learned about in LifeWorks. I developed a clear vision of where I wanted to be, and this is the vision I settled on: “I am walking to class on the first day of graduate school. I made it! I’m at a first-rate public affairs program, gaining the tools I want to advance my career and make a contribution.” I allowed myself to dream big – I’m at Princeton or Harvard! To achieve this vision, I had to complete a number of steps along the way: study and get great scores on the GRE, write killer essays to convey my vision to graduate admissions committees, gather letters of recommendation, etc. LifeWorks gave me the tools to break the goal down. My six month LifeWorks goal was to achieve an aggregate GRE score of 333, and my mantra was “intelligent and free, scoring 333.” I ended up with a 329, an exceptional score for me.

I put 100 percent into my essays. I turned down social engagements as the deadline approached, using my vision to pull me through and remembering the “deeper yes burning inside.”

And just two weeks ago, I was admitted to my number one school: Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs. The jaw-dropping bonus? I was awarded a full-tuition scholarship and a living stipend. Had I let fear rule my decision, I wouldn’t have applied because I didn’t trust that I would be able to afford the cost of education. After going through Wings, I learned not to “get rid” of the fear, but rather, to do it anyway! Money flowed in, and now I will be graduating debt-free. I also get to keep the savings I accrued to defray the cost of graduate school! I was reminded of this teaching from Wings: not only do I stop making decisions based solely on money, but rather ironically, money flows into my life more freely!

Some other neat Wings-related landmarks:

  • The Angel Card I drew in Namaste was “expectancy,” which to me means adopting an attitude of faith, expecting good things to come. When I looked up the meaning, I thought, “Dare I have expectancy toward this graduate school process? Do I dare expect to get into a school like Princeton with full funding?” The answer is yes.
  • My nature name is Humble Tiger. I have two thoughts on this. First, it turns out the Princeton’s mascot is a tiger! Second, I recall learning that humility can only be gained once one has developed a strong ego. I think attending Princeton is definitely a step in building my ego, so one day I WILL be HUMBLE Tiger.

That’s enough for now. My new task is to develop an equally compelling vision for what I will do once I graduate. I have some ideas, and I am creating a balance between having a clear vision and being open to outcome. There is no telling what I will learn at Princeton. But if I’ve learned anything throughout this process, it’s to approach my goals the future with an attitude of expectancy and to remember the power of a clear vision and structural tension.

–Hanna Snider