graduate studies in being too afraid of rejection to apply to graduate school

While everyone had lists of undergrad universities they wanted to attend, I had lists of graduate programs. After senior year of high school, life got really very messy because I forgot that there were a whole other four years in between high school and grad school. I had my life planned out. All my adventures envisioned. Obviously Europe because that’s what starving writers want because why wouldn’t you want that?. I would travel and own a bike. Lots of biking. (Seems like the European thing to do maybe that’s cliche maybe it’s not I don’t care I want to bike around a nice place in nice weather in a skirt and cute blouse.) I’d end up staying there because it’s Europe, hello, and eventually own a cute little book shop that I lived above. (This is an actual life I imagined for myself.) And I guess at the time (circa 2009), graduate school didn’t seem impossible because I was still writing and doing productive things and my brain was still an actual brain shape and not oatmeal mush.

You see, after I graduated undergrad, I gave myself a little break. I stopped writing. I stopped researching. I stopped basically everything let’s face it. I graduated and become a bum also a mall employee also an avid cinnamon pretzel eater. I moved to Texas in hopes that it would get me closer to what I wanted. I thought a new adventure would give me some new inspiration and new desire to write. I planned to apply to school and I’d be able to get in state tuition because I had been there a year. I was making strides to get my life to be where I (more realistically) imagined it being.

And yet, here we are.

Moving to Texas and moving back maybe stunted my growth more than I thought it would. It put me back a lot of money. It changed my entire outlook on myself for a few months. I beat myself up about it. Lost a lot of confidence for reasons I created for myself. Another year went by. I looked at old writings. Tried to submit them to contests, journals. No word. No entry. Creative writing is a field of heartbreaks and more heartbreaks. (Very dramatic it seems.) I let myself stop writing because of it. I wasn’t good enough. And maybe I won’t be good enough for a top writing university.

But here’s the thing that I have come to learn and accept and use to move myself forward: I don’t know if I’ll ever be good enough if I don’t ever give myself a chance. Thus, I have given myself a deadline (aka I have taken all the deadlines from different grad programs and pretended I made up these deadlines on my own to make myself feel better about my level of productivity). Except, while I have come to a realization that I need to take a chance, I am still experiencing three problems with these deadlines and these problems are as follows:

  1. I haven’t written anything new since probably my capstone class which was cough cough two years ago. (I’m old.) I basically can’t even be called a writer at this point because writers write things that’s why they’re called writers. I’m probably just a thinker because I think about writing a lot and I think about what I’m going to write just as much but I don’t ever actually write anything (except maybe this). That’s just how my life works at this particular moment in time. Obviously I was hoping that once I (the multiple universities) set these deadlines that I would automatically start writing again, but, unfortunately, all these deadlines are in December and I think I’m probably experiencing senioritis for the first time (I was a really great student all through school and loved doing homework) because all I do is think about all the stuff I have to do and then don’t do it.
  2. My second issue is that creative writing programs are so picky like why can’t everyone just get in??? Let’s all just write and go to school and be friends and sit outside with books in our hands and messenger bags around our bodies. Ok, before you say anything or think anything about me, you should know that I know grad school is hard to get into because only the masters of their crafts get their Master’s Degree (haha this is so funny to me I don’t know why). But, ok, please bear with me for a second but one of the programs I want to apply to literally takes twelve humans. TWELVE. Let’s think about how many humans are on the face of this good earth and then think about how there are only twelve of them studying creative writing at MY top choice university.
  3. My last problem is kind of just my own issue and it might sound dumb, but I’m kind of afraid to apply to grad school and get rejected because I’m afraid I’ll just stop wanting to write. I’ll stop ever dreaming about doing something with my life that I care about. I’ll work in the mall forever because I’ll feel like there is nothing else I can do. I will feel unqualified to do anything I love again.
So these are very casual things that I know I need to get over. These are things I have to work on myself but it’s very hard to convince yourself that you’re good enough to get into school when you haven’t written anything in probably 24 months. I know that’s all on me just being a better creative writer and actually writing something down somewhere one time and hoping for the best. And I guess it’s also on me to just apply to grad school because there’s no way for me to be accepted yet, there’s also no way for me to rejected yet?? (Do you guys believe it when I try to be/sound positive???)
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2 thoughts on “graduate studies in being too afraid of rejection to apply to graduate school

  1. I just happened upon your post and I just wanted to say that I think you should go for it. If it is your dream then hold fast to it. If you never apply you’ll never know if one of those twelve spots has your name on it, and if writing is your true passion, no rejection letter will ever be able to take that away from you 🙂

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