Monday, April 11, 2011

dealing with disappointment

Remember this post? Where I publicly announced the fact that I applied to grad school? Where I talked about needing calculus to be in the program and therefore starting my series of calculus gem and test anxiety posts? Well, I found out last week that I did not get accepted into the program. Boo.
old picture of a "boo" face I don't have bangs right now- though seriously considering them
I know it is a very competitive program at a very competitive university. I know that the fact that I was taking calculus instead of already having it may have counted as a strike against me and so could the fact that I hadn't secured any funding. A lot of factors go into being accepted or rejected from graduate programs and I know that I'm "good enough and smart enough"...but that doesn't mean it wasn't a huge disappointment. It was really the biggest major rejection of my life so far (what can I say- I've been lucky!), so it was definitely a tough blow. And can I just mention that I found out a day and a half before a calculus exam? Yeah, double boo. But, I think that so far, I've dealt with the disappointment pretty well and here's how I've done it.

Step 1- I cried.
No choice in the matter was something that I was really hoping for and it didn't come through. So I had my own little private pity party and had a good cry. (and once that was over, I told my husband so that he could feel sorry for me and join my pity party once he got home from work)

Step 2- I closed the books.
As I mentioned, I had a calculus test later that week and had some studying to do- which is hard and can be an exercise in frustration because I find calculus hard. I just wasn't in a place where studying would be effective or that studying was even remotely a part of what I wanted to be doing. So I took the evening off. Sure- studying that night may have helped me get a slightly better mark, but I ended up doing just fine on the test (take THAT stupid university that rejected me) and I definitely needed that evening off.

Step 3- I looked for the silver lining.
Since one of my goals this year is to remain positive no matter what life throws at me, I started to look at what the good things about not being accepted into the program. It means I'll have a "real" salary next year instead of a student salary and it means we might be able to buy a condo instead of continuing to rent. There is an important family event happening in October and not being in school means it is more likely that I'll be free to be there. It also means I won't stress myself into a pile of craziness as I try to adjust into full time student life. It still sucks to get rejected, but there are some good things about not going to school.

These are bachelorette party shots, not drowning my sorrows shots. I did not drink this much, don't worry
Step 4- I drank.
Yes, that's right- I drowned my sorrows in a big ole glass of wine and I stand by that decision :)

Step 5- I told people.
Misery loves company and telling everyone means that they are all there to support me. I've often felt like a giant failure when things haven't gone my way and have been almost afraid and embarrassed to tell people. Maybe it is a sign that I'm an adult that telling people sucked only because it meant that I knew they'd be sad for me, not disappointed in me. Plus, telling people leads to more of Step 4, because we all love to drink our failures away :)

The post-it speaks the truth
Step 6- I made the decision to still kick some ass.
Why make the decision to be miserable about it? I still have to finish this calculus class and I had to take the test. I had a conference presentation to do on April 4th. I have projects to do well at work. I have races to run...I have all sorts of life ass to kick without the program. Despite the disappointment, life goes on. While I do plan to contact the program to see how I can improve my application for next year, who knows- maybe it just isn't a good fit for me. I just have to go forward with the confidence that things happen for a reason. A door just closed, but I know that somewhere, a window was thrown open for me. I just need to find that window.

So there you have it- my steps to dealing with disappointment. It sucked, I cried, but all will be ok. (Even though I still have to learn calculus)
How do you deal with disappointment? What always makes you feel better?


jnelle said...

Sorry to hear about this, girl. Rejection is a tough pill to swallow, but it sounds like you're already 'up and at them' again! You'll find that window, i just know it!

Like you, a big cry is always some sort of weird comfort for me, after a rejection. When I found out I wasn't able to secure another student line of credit for school this past fall, i just let the sobs fall out of me - in the middle of the library foyer. It felt good, even with people giving me weird looks!

Big hugs. :)

Leigh said...

Sorry to hear that you didn't get into the grad school you wanted. Rejection is never easy, but hopefully a better opportunity comes out of this.

Ps- I think the reaction of crying is totally fair! I cry about everything...well not everything, but you know what I mean :)

kristen said...

I'm so sorry for this disapointment.

I must say I'm impressed with your coping skills. Honestly. The wine - totally justified. Duh! Get out a good cry, then look forward. I could learn a thing or tow from you.

As you know, it's not the end of the world. The timing just wasn't right at this point in your life. Your a hip, smart, cool chick. That university has nothing on you!

Marlene said...

Sorry about the program. :( Glad you are working through it and feeling better about things. Wine generally helps. And chocolate.

kristen said...

Thanks everyone.

Wine, chocolate definitely helped. And the sunny weather! Hard to be too sad when the sunshine puts a smile on my face :)

Anonymous said...

Sorry you're dealing with dissapointment. I try to deal with it by having faith it wasn't in the plan for my life and it wasn't meant to be. Not saying I don't cry sometimes though!

Rhonda said...

" ass to kick". I love this! It's so true - there are many facets to life and the positive attitude and that positive energy is going to work wonders!

Toronto Girl West said...

I'm sorry that things didn't work out with this particular grad program! :o(

Now I have to share that I'm a firm believer that where God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window! Which is to say that someday you'll look back on this and you'll see it all worked out.

And trust me, I speak from experience here.

When I was in undergrad I ended up with a pretty serious chronic illness that saw my GPA crash. And once it went down it was just so hard to get it back up.

Long story short, despite the fact that I took a year off to study at the Sorbonne (by which point I was healthy again and did well) I had an uphill battle when it came to getting into law school.

My LSAT was great and my extra-curriculars rocked but that GPA still hindered me.

I can still remember when McGill rejected me (my trilingual International law loving self desperately wanted into the program). Before the crying came this bizarre throbbing on the right front part of my brain. It happened instantly when I read the computer screen.

Anywho, point is that while the road to law school wasn't easy, I rocked the special admissions category all the way to UVic Law (the #1 ranked program that year). Now years later I can laugh about the whole McGill deal. And I can honestly say I would go to UVic again in a heart beat.

So courage (said in French) my friend! You will get where you want to go! Just look for that open window! :o)