Monday, February 2, 2009

The Rollercoaster Takes a Vertical Dive

I just got rejected from my top, #1, SuperFuckingRockstarHolyShitGuaranteedToAlwaysHaveAJobAfterGraduating program. 

The timing of the rejection seems to suggest that I did not make it past the second round of cuts. For all I know, my application never made it past the grad school to the department. 

This was also the school that would have kept me from having to move out of the region, whose campus I refused to visit or even drive by lest I jinx myself somehow. 

I understand that their admissions are very, superfucking competitive, but still I wish I could know - what was it about my application that wasn't good enough?

One thing I now know that does not sit very well with me:

I am not one of the Best of the Best. :(


Eugenie said...

I am not one of the Best of the Best. :(

I call BS on that. Sure, you're not "best of the best" according to their standards but that by no means defines who you really are.

Psych Post Doc said...

I'm sorry to hear this.

Odyssey said...

JLK, grad school admissions are a crap shoot. It's a lot like reviewing grant submissions or deciding between candidates for faculty positions - the differences between those in the top 25% are minuscule at best and are often subjective. Rejection from SuperFuckingRockstarHolyShitGuaranteedToAlwaysHaveAJobAfterGr certainly does not mean you are not the "Best of the Best."

PhizzleDizzle said...


I'm sorry to hear that, but I am with everyone else. The top can be soooo subjective in the end just because there are tons of people per spot. By the end, it's almost arbitrary (which is little comfort, I know, but hopefully it is, well....a *little* comfort)

But I know what you mean. Any time I am rejected for something, I think, "but what WAS it? I did my best and I have no idea why you are rejecting me"'s hard to deal with but in the end stuff will work out and it will be ok. I think you rock and plus, moving isn't the end of the world :).

Comrade PhysioProf said...

I am not one of the Best of the Best.

Your personal worth is *not* defined by some random-ass grad school admissions decision! If you are going to continue in academia, you are gonna have to thicken your skin and not personalize rejection. Because in academia, rejection is the *norm*.

Professor in Training said...

What everyone else said. The success of your grad school experience is dependent on what you do while you're there not where you go. The recent discussions on choosing a postdoc lab also apply to choosing a grad school/advisor ... pick the program/mentor that fits you and your interests the best not the place with the biggest reputation.

leigh said...

sorry you didn't get in. but look at it this way. now you're gonna have to accept moving to a different part of the country. i highly recommend this. you will learn a lot more outside of the university by getting out of your comfort zone.

Silver Fox said...

Hang in there, JLK! Some schools foster some notion of "best of the best", but that doesn't mean that if you go somewhere else that you won't shine! You will. Ditto to everyone above. It can be very disappointing, happened to me once, I'm okay - you will be great!

Ambivalent Academic said...

I'm so sorry for your disappointment!

Everyone's already said it but I'll say it again - random grad school admissions madness does NOT dictate who is and who is not the "Best of the Best".

You will get in somewhere else and then rock the socks off of all those people over at SuperFuckingRockstarHolyShitGuaranteedToAlwaysHaveAJobAfterGraduating program, and they will think, "Damn, why didn't she come here?".

Then you can rub it in their faces if you feel so inclined.

The other upside is that maybe aft you can get a real job there. In my field at least, it is sort of frowned upon to take up your professional career at the same place where you studied. If it's the same for you, now you won't have that conflict.

You know, there's a funny story about Bill Gates and the Stanford CompSci program. I can't remember if he flunked out of it, or was outright rejected, but I think it's rather obvious that he didn't need them to be an awesome computer geek. He has since donated enough money to Stanford that the CompSci building is "the William Gates Computer Science Building". That's just to say that sometimes the "best" program isn't what you need to be the BEST at what you do. Hang in there - it will work out.

Psych Post Doc said...

I don't know if this helps at all but I rejected from grad school (not my top program, not the best of the best, but all of the ones I applied to) 2X.

In the end I got in, went to a great school, got a kick ass post doc, and just submitted my dissertation as a sole authored paper.

Timing is a large part of the equation in these things and unfortunatly completely out of our hands.

JLK said...

Thanks, guys. :)

I'm not questioning my personal worth, but this particular program was the one I have been working toward ever since I went back to school.

I mean, random grad school decisions and all that aside, getting into the #1 or #2 grad program in your field is the ultimate validation of the work you've put into your academic career so far. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. Sorry, but they are.

@AA - I have every intention of doing exactly what you said. LOL. Going somewhere else, outperforming everyone and then rubbing it in their face eventually. :)

I still have one SuperFuckingRockstarHolyShit program left to hear from, and one ReallyGoodFuckingSchoolNoOneCanRubTheirNoseAt program. So we'll see what happens.

scicurious said...

I'm so sorry. But it's true, rejection is the norm (ask me how many times my latest paper has been rejected...). Also, really, grad schools are a crap shoot. You want to make sure you've gotten into one where you will be able to do the research that interests you, and it doesn't matter if that's Harvard or Podunk U, as long as the prof's good. And you'd be surprised how good the profs can be at Podunk U.

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