Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hey Now, The Dream is Over

You'll write your personal statement in 2 days after toiling over and writing 7 different drafts. You'll start from scratch and it'll be gorgeous. Your boss will tell you there's something wrong with them if they don't let you in. Allison will read it and tell you it gives her chills. You'll submit your application 2 1/2 weeks before it's due. Next text your mom and tell her you submitted it and use 6 exclamation marks. She'll respond with Does this mean you can relax now?. Ignore her response and bask in your accomplishment.

6 days before applications are due you'll send an email inquiring about the status of your application. The reply you'll receive will confirm that your application is complete and will tell you you'll hear about admission the second week of April. You make a countdown on your desk calendar, right above the countdown of your trip to New York City in May.

March will be the longest month of your life, even longer than the month before your kidney transplant. You'll see a few movies, read 4 books, watch the entire season of "The Mindy Project". You'll look up Manhattan apartments on Craigslist, buy a ticket to Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z because they'll be playing a show when you'll be in the city doing your program. Figure you can sell it on StubHub if you don't get in. Your confidence will be at an all time high. Check for ticket prices and decide the red-eye is the only flight you can afford in June.

The end of March will find you freaking out about finances: how you'll finance the program without going into major debt, how you'll pay the deposit and still have money left for your NYC vacation, how you'll afford the plane ticket when the prices keep skyrocketing.

April Fools' Day will pass with a lot of pranks. You'll decide you're no fun because you don't understand the point. April 2nd one side of your earbuds will quit working just as the bus drops you off at work. You'll answer calls, read your book, reallocate purchase cards. One hour before you go home you'll check your email on you phone. Stephanie ---- will have sent you an email, the subject is -------- ---------- ------. Your heart rate will jump, your hands will shake.You will read the first line of the email in your inbox before you open it. "Dear Ms. Jackman, thank you for applying to the 2013 ------------------------. Un..." the preview will end with "Un" and you won't need to open it to know you didn't get in.

You'll read the entire email hoping that you got wait listed. You won't get wait listed, you'll just be flat out denied.

Then sit at your desk for a second, trying hard to breathe while expletives run through your head. You're entire future will shatter in that second and you won't know what you're supposed to do next. You'll go tell your boss you didn't get in. She'll tell you not to take it personally, but you will. She'll ask you what the admissions criteria are, but you won't know other than having a bachelor's degree, which you'll have had for 2 years. She'll say it must have been political, because you're from Utah - the crazy conservative cult state. She'll tell you to email the program and ask what they're looking for exactly because you're thinking of applying again next year. In your head you'll think 'I'm not going to apply next year. I can't wait that long, and if I didn't have it this year, I won't have it next year.' Next you'll go tell Rebecca, eyes will water and voice will shake, hand her the phone so she can read the email.

It will be time to go home. You'll be really mad that your earbud crapped out that morning because you will really need "The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me" today. You will put the earbuds in anyway, but half way home it will get so annoying you'll take them out and fume at how noisy the bus is.

You won't cry on the bus. But the second you step off and walk towards the car you will. You'll get in the car with your mom and sob. She won't know what's wrong until you can manage "I didn't get in" in a voice that will sound nothing like your own. She'll rub your back and won't know what to say. Finally you'll say "I didn't even get wait listed." She'll drive home when you've calmed down a little bit and say "I'm sorry. I know how much you wanted to get in. This is so disappointing." You'll appreciate her sentiment because you didn't think she wanted you to go. You'll say "It's getting a little frustrating... all this disappointment. I don't know what I'm supposed to do now." You'll regret putting all your eggs into one, overly confident basket.

You'll go home and immediately register for Writing for Charity, next unlike the place that just rejected you and delete the website from your Bookmarks Bar. You'll be careful not to look at the Facebook page as you unlike it. You'll want to head on over to Nordstrom and buy that Coach bag you've been wanting, and some shoes to match. You'll have all sorts of funds now that you don't have to pay for your program. Your mother will save you by telling you she's too tired to go to the mall. You'll realize you should save your money for New York in a month. You'll go to BestBuy and get some new earbuds instead, then to Kneaders for a brownie. You'll regret it after you eat it.

When you say your prayers that night you'll cry. You'll plead to know what you're supposed to do. You'll tell Him you've always had faith in His plan for you, but all these disappointments are starting to get to you. 'Please, please. please show me the way I'm supposed to go, what I'm supposed to do next, because I don't have any idea' you'll say as you get mascara on your pillow. After you say Amen you'll pick Rosie up out of her cat condo and put her on your bed.

You'll wear your charcoal gray dress the next day, and against your better judgement, pink shoes. The Joel McHale look-a-like will get on the bus, and this will make you happy for a brief second. You'll wear your sunglasses so no one notices the tears you're holding back. You'll hate yourself a little bit because you're acting like a child who didn't get her way. When the bus gets to campus you'll be grateful, but at the same time not. Walk slowly, miss the light. Only push the button because someone else is approaching the crosswalk. Stand outside the back door of SRI because you won't be ready to go in and tell Jennifer and Allison. Everyone was pulling for you and you'll feel like you've let them all down. You'll be quiet, sullen, slightly unpleasant that day.

Sit at your desk and check your email. Consider the University Staff Council application now that it doesn't look like you'll be going anywhere. Start to write a blog post and take your pills a half hour late. Watch the video your sister-in-law sends you of your buddy Thomas. It will make you laugh, and you'll be grateful for it. Then it'll poke your heart because you were so looking forward to being closer to Boston. Read the It Just Gets Stranger blog because it will make you laugh. Read a more serious post and wish that you and Eli were friends in real life so you could commiserate about the difficulties of life at the present moment.

Breathe in, breathe out. Drink lots of water to keep the new kidney going. You'll tell yourself the world isn't over, just yours is.

Then you'll realize you're being much too dramatic. Your world isn't over, just the one you wanted is.


  1. Exactly. The world you wanted. I'm very sorry (honestly...words on a screen are problematic for stuff like this) you did not get into the program you were hoping for. My roommate did not get into the U's doctoral program she'd been hoping for either. I won't tell you that your story will end like hers...she's actually come to the determination she doesn't want to be a school psychologist after all and certainly doesn't want to have three degrees from the U (it doesn't reflect well on one's resume...she has nothing against the school itself) and so will be studying counseling psych somewhere else. It's a better fit for her. Even if you don't believe it right now, I believe you can and will find your own better fit, even though it's hard to imagine there is such a thing. Just.keep.praying. Show the Lord you're willing to follow wherever He leads. Much love.

  2. That last line is perfect: "Your world isn't over, just the one you wanted is." That sums up every disappointment I've ever had, and probably everyone else, has ever had. The ability for that line to mean something to everyone who reads it, to reach out of the book and straight for your heart, that proves what an amazing writer you are. I love you cuz.

    Also, those people are morons for not picking you.

  3. Sarah, I still believe in you and I don't think your dream is over. So brace yourself as I rain on the pity parade but unless you have decided it's over, it isn't. Even if you have to apply every year for the next ten years to get in, so what? Will you no longer want to be an editor in ten years, just because you didn't make the next step today? Age doesn't matter. Time doesn't matter. Life will still be happening in ten years and so will your dream. I hope you can find the strength to push for your dream. And I'll be pushing for mine right along side you. I know the uncertainty is tortue but that is life and I know you are stronger and braver than that. I know we'll both be writing, editing and publishing when we're old and grey, eating your sugar cookies on a porchswing and laughing at the silly worries we had now.