Where do I go from here / What would you do?


Senior Member
Atlanta, GA
This may be a long post, and it may not be in the correct section of the forum, so please feel free to move it if necessary.

My move to the U.S. is imminent. We (partner and I) completed an immigration interview at the U.S. embassy in Paris a week ago. We will be entering the U.S. as diversity visa immigrants (lottery winners) before August 21 of this year.

At this point, a few things have come up which have compelled me to seek general life advice from this forum, you who are most likely to "get where I'm coming from."

I applied to six graduate programs in mental health counseling and/or school counseling in the U.S. thinking that, depending on where I got admitted, we would move to that place. I was denied admission at Johns Hopkins as well as University of Maryland. I was waitlisted at the University of Denver. Due to the way my applications are going, I am not expecting any positive responses from UPenn, Harvard, and UC Berkeley. Those admissions decisions are due in March.

I probably aimed too high, thinking that my application would be sufficiently compelling with a mixture of a decent undergrad academic record (Cornell University with 3.0 GPA), a decent 'diversity' profile (LGBT+, lived in many places, multi-cultural, fluent in four languages), and a not negligible amount of experience in social services (one year of Direct Support internships helping disabled persons, one year of paid Direct Support Professional experience, volunteering + extracurriculars).

At this very moment, I am nervous. This has all been a bit of a painful reality check for me. I have been preparing to apply for graduate study for what seems like three long years: ME/CFS and rolling PEM on the daily or weekly, slowly gaining experience, putting myself through a 14-month training program (since this profession requires a diploma for practice in France), asking for, and translating many recommendation letters, keeping up with all other facets of daily life with my partner, dealing with doctors and working through medication to remain stable, earning health rights and residency in Europe...

So, here I am, asking myself if I will ever be competitive enough for graduate study. I may be entering the U.S. this Fall without being accepted at any program. Renting an apartment will be expensive whether it be Boston, San Francisco, or Denver (to a lesser extent).

I will probably have to take the time to find the right doctors, start a new chapter, and all this while also looking for a suitable job.

When I moved to France in 2018, it took me at least a year to get my bearings, to find the right vocational program, study, get field placement opportunities, and finally land a job. I am no longer sure what this will look like once I arrive in the U.S.

Cannes, where I currently live, is a small town in the South of France. It isn't so intimidating because there aren't so many options to choose from ; finding the training program, when I had actually identified it, was rather easy -- I knew that Direct Support might be something suitable for me.

At this very moment, I don't even know where I might land in a really vast country. Through being rejected at the aforementioned graduate programs, I was quickly reminded that career advancement in the States is no joke, it is very competitive.

Depending on where we move, we will either, or all together be: very far from France, or paying triple the price for rent (San Francisco > Boston / Denver). Boston has extreme weather in the Winter. Denver seems like a developed, urbanized place though I am not sure why I would move there versus the other cities if I will not get admitted for graduate study. Statistically, getting waitlisted means I will likely not get admitted.

Of course, this is a long post because I deem that it is justified -- this is an important decision. I know that I will be financially supported during the move. Essentially, my direct family will help me reach the U.S. and move in somewhere clean and sound as well as comfortable.

And yet, specific choices will have to be made, and those choices will depend on me. Beyond the choice of the city, I am not sure what I will need to focus on first.

I would love to "make something" out of my health condition, though I am not sure what that would look like on a career / professional level -- how that would translate into a job. I don't know much about hiring opportunities at the ME/CFS clinic in Boston, in fact, I know next to nothing about it other than that it is run by OMF.

I am admittedly a little unreliable as a professional candidate because of my chronic fatigue -- I don't know how to exhibit full, unabashed confidence when marketing myself *because* of my ME/CFS, which taxes me cognitively every now and then, even at work. Although I have not been beyond reproach by my manager for sometimes arriving late when we begin early (6:45AM), I have maintained my job, and even performed well, for one year.

I have the will and energy to make a difference, especially as it pertains to the state of ME/CFS as it currently stands, in the sphere of public health, but do not know how to achieve this, or if any 'conventional' path will take me there swiftly enough, without raising skepticism from my partner and direct family if it went on too long without being employed.

If that were pre-eminently a dead end, I suppose I would attempt applying to graduate study next year, once I gained an additional year of professional experience in social services / education. I would love to work at an adoption agency, or continue to support disabled persons and/or ordinary persons including children, to thrive. That will probably require moving to a city and figuring out what employment resources / opportunities become available to me.

This post turned out to be very much a stream of thought type monologue -- just in case someone really identifies / relates, and knows how to advise. Feel free to respond or PM me, whichever way works best for you.
Last edited:

vision blue

Senior Member
Nice to know CFS is not on the list of diseases for which the US denies immigration!

If youre waitlisted in US grad schools or med schools , it can help to phone frequently. Remind them they are your top choice. Email the one youd be workingvwith as well with a question on one of his/her papers

I guess one or both of you has money to afford rent and food if youre planning grad school rather than employenent

Since you were a student at cornell, you already know the US and its different regions

Congrats on the lottery winning!