Remember that song? Totally dominated my Freshman year of college. Plus, I always love a catchy song that’s hook hides a political agenda (in this case anarchy).

This week I have certainly found myself knocked down a bit. The application of my previous post was rejected with a simple update to the online system that said: Denied Admission.

I’m sure that there is a letter on its way that says the equivalent of:

Dear A,

Thank you for your recent application to X University. Unfortunately, due to the large number of applicants, we are unable to offer you admission. Thank you for your interest in X University.


Form Letter Macro

X University

To be perfectly honest, I have mixed feelings on the subject. On one hand, it really was what I expected. But on the other, don’t we always hope that we are wrong in such expectations?

This is certainly not the first time I have dealt with rejection–professionally, personally, academically–I’ve been through it all. And after a time I guess it does get easier. However, that doesn’t take away the sting.

I suppose I could use an array of tools to make myself feel better:

They show preference for their alumni!

They have a reputation of being ageist and only taking people in their early 20s.

They have a preference for writers who fit within a specific style–I can’t be defined that way!

And while all those things are actually true, saying them to people or even myself doesn’t accomplish anything. The truth is this: I gave them a good application. Other people gave better or showed more potential for their specific program.

Now what?

I’ll admit yesterday I wanted to give up my PhD dream. But then a chat with a friend, some hot tea, guilty pleasure television, and a good night’s sleep brought a brighter morning and a new resolve. The next application period will be sometime in December for six excellent schools to which I didn’t apply this time for reasons of geography. I have ten months to make progress toward stronger applications. Specifically, I have to take the Literature GRE (gulp) and get more things published. Which means instead of feeling sorry for myself or blaming X University, I need to be studying and writing. Two things that, Denied or Accepted, I think I’m pretty good at.

Picking Myself Up,


PS. If anyone has taken the Lit GRE and has tips for studying, I would love to hear them!

Categories: Get Smart | Leave a comment

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