Finally! I can finally say that my ducks are now all in a row...I have my loans, I have my accommodation, and I now have my VISA! I just received an email from the consulate this morning stating that my visa application has been approved and they are next day airing all of my stuff to me, including my passport with the visa sticker.
For those curious about the time frame:
5 August: Biometrics appointment, mailed off completed application to Chicago consulate
10 August: Received email from consulate stating that my application had been received and was being reviewed
23 August: Received email from consulate stating that my application was successful, visa was issued, and package was next day aired to me
24 August: Should receive my packet back, including my passport with the issued visa
It has been stressful, but now I can officially just be excited to move in THREE WEEKS. Holy cow. I see a lot of laundry, packing, unpacking, repacking, and tears in my future!