After I had graduated college in the Spring of 2015, I had no job outlooks and 5 graduate programs had just denied me admittance. This was heartbreaking because I had always seen myself as a very capable and devoted student, especially to my area of study, of which I talked about all the time and love learning about.
My dream was so clear. I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted to go to graduate school for Speech Pathology and then I wanted to become a CCC-SLP in a school setting. I had a very positive attitude as summer of 2015 ended and the graduate school applications opened back up for SLP programs. I was going to do it this time. I was going to be proactive. I was going to get into graduate school.
I had done everything right from September 2015 until February 2016. I had done everything that my academic advisors suggested that I do in order to make sure I was accepted this time around.
I researched practically every school on the East coast and even some in the Midwest and West coast; I got new letters of recommendation; I took a class at the community college to show I was still pursuing being educated; I went on visits to schools; I got in contact with advisors and professors from each college I was applying to; I crafted a personal statement for 4 MONTHS; I took time on my application and made sure each was full and sufficient; I called my prior colleges and yelled (pretty much) every week at some poor woman who does transcripts to make sure they all arrive on time this year; I applied to a total of 11 schools; I did everything right.
After all that hard work, the rejections started to pile in my inbox. One after another was just a line of disappointment. And so, here I was, at the end of April 2016, and all I had was a pile of rejections, an empty wallet, and a heart so broken that it was rough even getting up in the morning.
I had given my all to this goal. SO MUCH of my time and energy went into this goal. These schools don’t know it (and probably don’t care) but they took so much from me. One day, I was writing an email to my friends and I had a weird epiphany. I will quote it here: “I’ve realized that during all that time I spent applying to those 11 schools that probably tossed my applications into the fire, life was going on all around me.” Life WAS going on all around me. I was stuck in this game of trying to get into a program, and time was passing by. It wasn’t wasted time, but rather “blinded” time. I was so blind to any other opportunities and experiences besides these programs.
I don’t want this article to sound like a “oh poor me, I didn’t get what I wanted so now i’m gonna bitch about it on my bullshit blog wah wah wah”. I take full responsibility for all that has become of my life. But until you’ve been in these shoes, you can never know. In past posts, I had chanted about how you have to keep trying and keep working at things; how you have to envision your goal in a different way. It was all very hopeful. But I return to my blog for the first time in 7 months with a hung head, ashamed to let people know I failed. But I was taking time off for a reason.
After I had gotten my last letter of rejection, I started noticing that qualities about myself that I once loved, I no longer possessed. Ambition, fun, happiness, knowledge, confidence, determination, optimism, money, writing, and worthiness.
Those are the things I felt were lost // so I decided to get them back.
1. My opportunities looked slim // I got a “real” job
I thought all my doors had just about shut. How the heck am I supposed to get a job in my chosen field without a freaking Master’s degree? I had gotten a call about a job that I applied for around graduation in 2015. They called me back in for another position they had to offer. I took the interview. I got the job. For the first time in awhile, I actually felt valuable and wanted. I felt like I can get out there and impress people. These schools didn’t want me, but someone else did.
2. I stopped having fun // I went to 7 concerts
All work and no play made Annie a dull GURL 😦 I didn’t feel like going out after a while. I was afraid to let the people who asked about grad school know that I had once again been denied. I had gotten my friend, Sarah, tickets to see Ellie Goulding back in December. The concert was in May and it just kind of snowballed from there. I’ve seen a lot of shows this summer and they were all worth it- a ton of fun with friends and great music. It was just what I needed to start enjoying myself again.
3. I lost confidence in myself // I started eating healthier and working out
When your dream tells you no 11 times within a 2 month period, it’s kind of hard to see yourself in a confident light. I was just so angry after all my rejections. Someone suggested I turn my anger into a physical outlet. I joined the gym and just started eating better. I’ve been sleeping better and I just feel really good. I hope to run a 5K by Thanksgiving. I realized that I should be spending time putting effort into goals that will benefit me and overall improve my life. Short term goals will get you to the big dream, one step at a time.
4. My ambition was minimal // I started a bullet journal
I was a literal mess. I couldn’t get organized. I kept forgetting appointments. I couldn’t keep track of my water or food intake. There were ideas I would come up with and then I would forget them. I needed to fix this & get back on track. My friend sent me these links on bullet journaling and I was intrigued instantly. I have recently become obsessed with brush script and coloring because it’s a great stress reliever and I get to be crafty (my favorite hobby). I took the idea of the bullet journal and ran with it. You can see more about my bullet journal here. so far, it has been one of the best things i’ve ever done for myself.
5. I was broke // I started an emergency fund
I had spent $1000 on applying to graduate school. ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS. That is money I could have saved to help me figure out a way to move out or help with my car payments or student loans. So very recently, I decided I need an emergency fund. Each paycheck, I am putting away a certain amount of money. Eventually I will use a portion of this money to help me with moving. Rome wasn’t built in a day and of course, there is so much that goes into “moving”. I just want to be prepared financially so that when an opportunity does arise, I can afford it #adulting
6. I was ungrateful // I sent thank you notes
I was really angry feeling unprepared for graduate school, chanting that the professors didn’t help me and my program set me up to fail. At this point, I was trying to place blame wherever I could. There are reasons I didn’t get into a graduate school program, but it took me a little while to be able to see that, and it had nothing to do with my professors preparing or not preparing me. So, I sent thank you notes. I emailed the professors I had that had a real impact on my education, and this time it wasn’t to suck up to them so they would give a letter of reference. I took time to talk about specific things I learned from them and how they have helped me in my career today. I am not where I want to be with my career, but I do not doubt that I have been prepared for all that will come my way, and my professors needed some recognition for that.
7. I felt unworthy // I “bought the shoes”
Have you ever heard to expression “go ahead and just buy the shoes”. It essentially tells you that if you see something you like, you should go after it/purchase it/etc. Well, for awhile I felt as if I didn’t deserve anything. I am not joking when I tell you that I was feeling really, really low. I started riding myself of the things that make me happy. My anger was just so severe & my self-esteem was low. Eventually, as I started gaining back my confidence, I started being open to more activities, people, places, and things again. In the end, it felt really good to buy those shoes.
8. I felt stupid // I did my research
I thought that I had nothing left to give to any other type of program. I thought that if this one type of program didn’t want me, then no other graduate program would want me. It was such a shame, because I never ever ever thought of myself as a stupid person, but that’s how I ended feeling at the end of all the rejections. I knew one thing though- that I wanted to go back to school. I wanted to have this next degree to help me get to a place that I want to be. So, I started to do my research and look at various careers that would suit my interests in the same way that Speech Pathology did. I’m not going to give too many details away, but I am looking to apply to various programs this Fall. this time feels different. Although I have been down this road before, it feels different to me. Schools with these different programs actually want to hear from me and they are interested in me. It’s been refreshing to see someone reach out to me instead of me having to practically beg them for a chance in their program. I’m feeling excited, refreshed, and knowledgeable about this next step.
9. I was unhappy // I cried, but i’m done crying now
I cried everyday for what seemed like a year. Every time someone asked me about graduate school, or about my job, or about anything involving the future, I ended up crying. I use to cry just thinking about the fact that I was rejected again. I use to cry for no reason at all. I had my time to be miserable, but I am now done crying. I am ready and feeling stronger everyday to take on the challenges that arise in terms of figuring out the person i’m going to be.the crying is done and it is time to start being proactive again. I have regained my happiness in doing little things for myself and doing things that have always made me happy.
10. I had no more determination // I re-evaluated my goals
I felt like I was just going to be stuck where I am forever. Living with my parents, commuting 45 minutes to work, driving the same car, and doing the same things. I thought I had reached the finish line and lost the race. It took me awhile to see, but I now know that I have so much opportunity standing in front of me. Like I had mentioned before, I am just beginning to realize that the world is wide open playing field, and life can take you down any road that lies ahead. The problem with my pursuit to get into a Speech program was the fact that I was SO blinded and saw no other alternative to my future other than being accepted in a program. I don’t see it that way anymore. I can see that there is more than one finish line now that I have taken off my blinders.
11. I stopped writing // I started to work on my blog again
One of my biggest regrets through my “time of mourning the loss of dream” is the fact that I stopped using my blog. I was so ashamed to come on here and tell people I had failed to be accepted. I had just written so many other posts about how I feel so confident in this goal and how I was going to succeed this time. Writing, however, had always been the love of my life and having this blog had been such an awesome way to share that with so many people. I am so excited that I have returned to my former glory, and I think I may have even returned better than ever. The blog has a new look, and I plan on posting weekly.
So, I am glad to introduce the new pages to the blog:
About (previous but new!)
I am also psyched to have an Instagram account for the blog. You can follow it @anewnormalineverything! You will find pictures of food, travel, my journal posts, and fun crafts that I’ve done!
For those who have waited for this day (aka just my friends and my Aunt Patti LOL) I’m so glad you’re back and hope it’s been worth the wait. I am determined to make the best out of my time here on Earth, and I hope you all enjoy watching it play out here on my blog.