I can't remember, but I think it was Cara who said that this whole graduate school application process should be like a dating relationship. Maybe it was Britt or Laura, but whomever said it, I think it was an appropriate metaphor, which I will employ shamelessly in this post. I've put myself out there for several schools, dressed up my assets, in hopes that I can entice them into accepting me. At the same time, as I interview with them, it should go two ways. As they're evaluating me, they should also be wooing me into their program.
Like any dating relationship, rejection is inevitable. I knew it was coming; I just didn't expect it so soon. A couple of weeks ago, a school called me for my first phone interview. You see, this was so early it seemed like really good sign. My undergraduate professors encouraged me that things were looking good. You see, he, this school, was one of my top choices. The moment I went to his website, I felt enticed and excited about being with him. When he called, we seemed to hit it off. I couldn't keep my heart out of it. I started imaging my life with him, even looking up apartments in that town. I knew this was premature, I knew even if he invited me to come see him, there was no guarantee that he would choose me. I awaited his invitation, only to be met with silence. He said he would probably call next Monday, but nothing. (Good Lord, this is all too familiar) Two weeks passed, and I knew that in this case, no news was bad news.
Finally, this morning I emailed the professor I had talked with, to find out my status. The professor promptly replied, informing me that I hadn't made the short list to be invited to the Open House/Interview. While they weren't closing my file and there was a still a possibility of being interviewed, the chances were slim as ten times the number of slots available had applied. My fears were true. I didn't realize how much this school meant to me until I began to feel that I wouldn't be invited. The thought of losing it as a possibility made me want to cling onto it.
Like any heart that's aching, you still hope and dream for the impossible. Maybe that knock on the door is him, returning to you. Maybe the phone will ring, and his name will appear on the screen. Maybe you will bump into one another, in the grocery store, at a friend's wedding, and he will remember what he's missing. But that never happens. This afternoon on my break at work, I saw that I had a call from an unknown number and a message. My heart briefly soared. Maybe, just maybe, I would listen to the message and hear that professors voice, "We made a mistake, we look at your application again, we do want to invite you to come visit!" But instead, I was greeted by my dad's voice, updating me on news from cousins and uncles.
And like any rejection by a potential mate, you begin to wonder if you're still lovable. But as insecure as you may feel and as much as you doubt, you know not to believe lies like that. You know that you are worthy and lovable and that somewhere, is the right one for you. So, today, I will be sad, and maybe again tomorrow, but I will soon awake and look forward to other potential matches. Afterall, I do have a date with another potential in less than three weeks. Will it be magical? Will we be drawn to one another? Will this be it? It's hard to say, but still exciting nonetheless to await my suitors and hope and pray for the best.
It's amazing what a rollar coaster this application process has been and continues to be. One week, I'm stressed and worried that my applications won't make it in alright, and the next week I'm elated to receive two phone interviews. One day I'm relieved and joyous to turn in my final application, and the very next day I'm turned down by one of my top choices. I had no idea how emotional this would be. But I should have known. If it's not a boy, it's this, or a job, or a death, or a friendship, or a fight, or a trip abroad, or an illness, or a child. This is life. My one constant is my Creator and Savior who understands all of this and leads me, despite my fears and doubts and fickleness.