A few months ago I got letters from the grad programs I applied to saying I didn’t make the cut. You may remember me writing that sad post about the tears I cried and my determination to figure out a new dream/plan of action.
Some people didn’t like that I suggested you have to give up on things, but sometimes I convince myself I’m okay with failure in a desperate effort to handle the rough realization that I don’t get everything I want.
I know, #firstworldprobs.
When I heard a no from the programs, I had to tell myself I had other options – even though I knew I didn’t. My dreams hadn’t changed, but the wind in my sails was straight up stagnate (ie: the whole effing boat was sinking and my shoes were bricks).
Not getting in felt like everything I’d worked for was wrong and insignificant.
Loads of friends sent me encouraging notes to cheer me up.
Eff grad school, you don’t need it
Grad school doesn’t make you a writer
You’re still #gold
The support was incredibly sweet, but I still wasn’t okay with not getting in. I wasn’t ready to accept a no, and thinking I needed grad school to become a writer wasn’t my issue. I knew an acceptance letter from Brooklyn College didn’t mean I suddenly became a columnist for Slate or Vanity Fair, but when I got rejected I realized I wanted grad school for me – not for a job, or a future life I envisioned. I wanted it for me to selfishly keep doing what I like doing.
And I wasn’t ready to let it go.
I decided to email all of the programs and beg for guidance.
If New York has taught me anything, it’s that I’m a VERY small fish in a VERY big pond, and for some reason that’s actually comforting when you’re asking important people for things. Maybe that’s weird, but my thought process is – These people don’t know me. Cap Green emailing them literally means nothing.
So I emailed ALL OF THEM.
If that sounds like the most desperate thing you’ve ever heard – it is.
And it gets worse. I didn’t just write the random, no-reply email address that sent the heart crushing rejection my way. I pulled up each programs’ list of English professors from the university sites and emailed EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM.
(Perks of a background in stalking/PR)
I didn’t ask them to accept me, because I really didn’t think that was a possibility. I asked for help. I told them I felt my window for grad school was closing, and I wasn’t ready to give up. I tried to keep the pleas professional, but I’m sure they sensed the tears hidden within the syntax.
I received a few emails from professors stating I should “keep writing” and not lose hope.
A few weeks went by, and I received a letter from the head of English at Brooklyn College. I opened thinking – I know, I know, you said no.
I GET IT.
But that wasn’t what he wrote. Instead, he suggested that I resubmit my application to English Literature, as he thought I’d be a ‘perfect fit’.
So I did. I gave it one more shot because I had no shred of dignity left.
Two agonizing weeks later I got a letter in the mail saying I was in.
I don’t know if this is inspiring or exhausting to hear, but I guess the whole point of this post is to say –
Sometimes you do get exactly what you want. Sometimes your hard work pays off. Sometimes you get the shot you thought you deserved.
I know it’s cliche and annoying to hear when you’ve been actively fighting for a break that won’t seem to happen, but don’t give up on what you want. Fight for it even when people (like me) tell you not to.