The Small Envelope.

I’ve never had a problem getting what I apply for–the only college to reject me was the University of Iowa for grad school, but Bowling Green ended up being such a good fit that Iowa’s rejection doesn’t even register in my tally of life’s disappointments. Same with when I applied for a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship: I really wanted the one at Harvard, snagged the one at Amherst College instead, and I loved it there so much that I place Harvard’s rejection squarely in the “your loss” category.
A month ago I applied for a scholarship to complete my 2nd master’s degree. It covered the entire cost of the program and required that I finish the degree in 19 months, which would mean two years of significant pay raises for me.
Since the scholarship is at the podunkiest of podunk schools, I never really entertained the idea that I wouldn’t get it. Colleagues have taken grad classes through this school (which I view as a glorified degree factory; perhaps the scholarship committee sensed my hubris and rewarded me justly) and laugh at the simplicity of the coursework. I have great letters of recommendation and really thought I was a shoe-in.
Then yesterday, the small envelope arrived, telling me how competitive the applications were and #SorryNotSorry, I didn’t get the scholarship. But please–apply for financial aid and take out more student loans to get a 2nd master’s degree from us!
I was surprised at how bummed I was at reading the rejection. Had I won the scholarship, I would have taken my laptop with me to Japan and balanced classes while on my 6 week vacation. So I spent most of the evening focusing on how much better my vacation will be without the stress of classes.
More reasons why it’s good I didn’t get the scholarship: 
  • Time to work on my book. 
  • Pursue other educational experiences more relevant to teaching journalism
  • Clean out my TiVo every week
  • Keep up with the personal training schedule
  • Continue seeking the ever-elusive work-life balance
And I’m certain that if I really tried to find more reasons why this is a good thing, I could find them. The sting of rejection is a bit less painful right now, and I suspect that by Friday, I won’t hardly think about it. But today, I’m going to wallow just a little bit longer.
Tomorrow, I will have a plan. 
And in 21 days, I leave for the vacation. The epic, homework-free vacation.

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