At Least I Didn’t Look Like This Guy…
Tags: California, Cambridge University, Canon, Churchill Scholarship, Disappointment, England, Gates-Cambridge Scholarship, Geneva, Getty Villa, Graduate School, Los Angeles, Malibu, Marshall Scholarship, Photgraphy, Photo, physics, Rebel XSi, Rejection, Southern California, Switzerland, Tamron AF 28-300mm f/3.5
I was rejected today
As I am a senior physics major who plans to become a professor, this year I have been writing and submitting applications to grad schools in the United States (10), the UK (1), and Switzerland (1) along with American fellowships (2) and fellowships for overseas study (6). I’ve always been a little more ambitious than my accomplishments warranted, aiming very high and hoping for the best. This strategy has worked well for me for the last 21 years and I plan to keep it up, but today was one of those days of rejection that this strategy inevitably brings. In high school I planned to study abroad in England during college. Plans changed a bit, but I still ended up spending a great summer in Switzerland (hence all the pictures from Geneva on this blog). Still wanting to go to England, I applied to the physics department at Cambridge and three fellowships that would pay for me to go there (the Marshall Scholarship, the Gates-Cambridge Scholarship, and the Churchill Scholarship). After being rejected for the Marshall in November and the Gates in December, today I found out I didn’t get the Churchill either. I’m a little bummed since, in addition to rejection being unpleasant, I was admitted to Cambridge, so it feels like I’m very close to going, but without funding I can’t go, which adds a little extra layer of disappointment. Oh well. I knew these scholarships were hyper-competitive when I applied. Writing all the different essays about my motivation and plans was a valuable experience as I go out into the world, helping me to articulate to myself as much as to the different committees a clearer (though still not narrowly defined) vision of what I want to do.
I will sulk a bit today and then get on with it. I try to cope with rejection in a constructive way: I won’t avoid thinking about these rejections or tell myself that they were unfair. Of the three scholarships, the Churchill was the only one that sent me a rejection letter via snail-mail, which I appreciate in part because I keep all of my rejection letters. I figure some day when I’m successful maybe I’ll frame all of them, a memory of the ups and downs along the path to what I’m still confident will be success in life.
When I opened my rejection letter today I figure I probably wore the disappointment a bit on my face. I don’t think I looked as distraught as this guy, though. He’s one of many “statue of bearded man”s at the Getty Villa, where I spent the day yesterday. It is quite a serene place. You should spend at least a few leisurely hours there if you ever have the chance.