Years after my academic exodus, I discovered that thousands of women share my same experience every day: fleeing the old world, boy’s club cigar room of Economics and embracing the unfolding field of Big Data. It’s interesting to think back on applying to graduate programs. After an initial rejection from the program I wanted, I spent the following year buffering applications, taking a course, and convincing myself that any ol’ Master’s would do. In fact, if all programs accepted me this time around, I said, the decision could be difficult! I had convinced myself to keep calm and not pick a program, but innately I had. Oh, I wanted this one all along, the Survey Methodology Master’s with the exorbitant credit requirement, the horrible schedule, the longest commute, the most expensive tuition…but the most prestige. That year I heard from Survey Methodology first. I felt my heart sink as I held the letter, blinking at it, thinking over and over that it was too thin. I stared at it for a solid minute, debating how I could bring myself to open it and what the answer would bring me. Convinced it was another rejection, I slowly tore the back of the envelope. Matt was with me, watching me carefully with his cool, supportive eyes that were already saying “I’m sorry”. He knew what I thought I knew: that introductory program packets don’t look like this. I slowly unfolded the letter, shuttering tears behind my eyelids while my chest already heaved with disappointment. Then, I saw one word: “Congratulations!” Gasps sputtered out of me. Misplaced spasms of disappointment turned to relief in mid-air, and I knew then what I hadn’t let myself know throughout the application process: There was no other program. This was the one, and I was in. Now, with one year left until my graduation, I remember the struggle, the late nights, the tears, and the accomplishments, and know I made the right choice. Here’s to my final year of gradschool! Come at me!