So, I applied for an MFA program at Hollins University and was rejected.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it.
It’s obviously a bummer, of course – because who likes to be rejected? – but I’m not over here rending my garments over the decision either.
When I received the news, I was out having an early dinner with my mother and little brother. I checked my email as I’m wont to do and found an email from the university. I opened it and read it and thought, “Oh, okay.”
That’s essentially it.
It sort of felt as though there wasn’t a huge impact on my life, whereas, when I applied for undergrad, all those many years ago, getting rejection letters from my second and third choices sent me into a spiral of tears (I was accepted to my first choice and graduated from that university.)
Perhaps I’ve simply gotten better at handling rejections in the intervening decade. Or maybe it wasn’t as hideously important to me.
It hasn’t really even made me doubt my abilities as a writer, which I honestly thought a rejection might. It’s possible that the panic hasn’t sat in yet as it hasn’t been a full 24 hours at that time. I don’t think that’s likely, however, as I tend to flail with the quickness.
I think it has something to do with why and when I applied.
I toyed and played with the idea of applying for the MFA at Hollins once I found myself unexpectedly unemployed in October of 2015. I made a list of things to do and try (because I do so love a list) and of possible avenues I might take. Going for an MFA was one avenue.
I started a Master’s Degree and had to put it on hold due to financial and health reasons a few years ago. I figured that not having a job was a good reason to try and start over.
As the months trudged on without me finding work, I thought, ‘Well, I like being educated and I like writing. In an MFA program, I can spend two years combining both of these things!” So I went and applied at Hollins.
This, I guess, is one of the reasons I’m not hugely doubting my skills. Applying in general wasn’t the work of months/years of careful contemplation, but rather a few idle thoughts. And my choice of program was really more about geography (I.E., in my home state and about four hours away from where I actually live) rather than consideration of Hollins’ style and my own.
I don’t know if this means I’m an absolutely terrible writer or if it’s that I’m a writer who simply wouldn’t fit at Hollins or whom Hollins wouldn’t fit. Maybe I’m not terrible but there were people simply better than I. I’m also employed now, so I’m not hanging by a thread and looking for something either.
Eventually, I go back for a Master’s because it’s what I want. There’s much I’d like to study and I’ll actually give proper consideration to if I’d go for an MA or MFA and in what.
As for now, I’ll work and write when I can – when time and depression don’t zap away my flow. I’ll do what I can, when I can and I’ll be okay. And if I’m a terrible writer? Well, that certainly hasn’t affected the popularity of some truly terrible books.