This week started with a message in my Inbox I did not wanted to see: a rejection from one of the institutions I applied to. I was able to apply to only two programs and this one in particular, was the one I had the greatest hopes of getting in. I politely asked the department the reasons of my rejection, if there was something I can do to improve and if they would recommend me or not to re-apply next year. Maybe is not in their policies, or maybe they were just rude; but there was no reply.

To this date, I haven’t heard back from the other program; so given the fact that there’s been more than one month since I sent all the application materials and that some admissions have already been sent; I’m expecting to receive a rejection from them as well.

I started looking for alternative places and programs where my stats could make me look as a desirable candidate with strong chances to be admitted; but those programs have few if none scholarships available. The few that have some scholarship programs include only the benefit of a partial remission of tuition; which is not enough aid for me. So I really don’t know what’s the next step for me, or if there is actually a next step I can take.

At this point I feel a bit tired and frustrated. The application process requires a lot of effort and energy- specially the emotional type – and when it all comes to nothing; you just don’t know what else to do. You don’t know what to tell to those professors you annoyingly chased for months asking for a recommendation. You don’t know what words you should use when friends and relatives ask you over and over again what’s up with your plans. You have always been so centered, so responsible, that they always thought you were smart and you could achieve anything. That the sky was the only limit. They don’t know I’m like anyone else; not bright, not smart, not “special”. I don’t have an outrageous talent. I’m just me. And maybe, unlike most around me and who are apparently like myself; I’m not going to hold a masters’ or a doctoral degree’.

You hear conversations everywhere, between your family and your work place; and the university you went to. Everything leads you to the idea that you are nothing without at least a masters’ degree. I have heard too many stories that start with “Mr. X is an idiot. He couldn’t study anything beyond a licenciatura” or “Nevermind, she’s only a licenciada” (licenciatura is our equivalent to Bachelor’s degree, although it requires a bit more of coursework, usually five years instead of four and the coursework is far more focused). Am I an idiot?

I have always wanted to teach but no serious university, logically, will hire me without at least a Masters. I want to publish. I have so much things written here and there, in English, in Spanish, from novels to essays and topics I’ve been studying at work… but am I going to be taken seriously if the book cover says only “licenciada”?

The clock keeps running and people keep asking what am I going to do with my life. It seems I must have some things defined before I turn 30, but I have none. Maybe it’s due to money, politics, lack of opportunities, a Revolution in the middle, low salaries, high inflation… or maybe is just me who’s trying to adjust to a certain expectation without knowing if this expectation belongs to me or to others; and if I should continue or if I should just give up and look for some other dreams. Maybe is time for me to sit down and think, beyond my circumstances and beyond expectations that were settled even before I was born; what am I really want to do with my life and specially, what can I do with my life? What is the kind of life I want to live? Am I suitable for grad school or am I suitable for something else?

The pressures for a woman my age are subtle, but endless. If I want to be a mom, I should do it in less than 10 years because otherwise I will be too old. My biological clock can’t be cheated. If I don’t get married and settled independently before I turn 30, I’m going to be part of that obnoxious groups of “forever single”. And before I turn 30 too, I should have a more respected position in my work, it will not look good if I still hold the position that a recent Bachelors graduate could hold. Grad school also goes to the list of things I should do before I’m 30. And I’m 26, one day I’ll wake up and I’ll be 30 and there is no way, realistically that I can do so much in so little time. If I keep trying to do that, you will be reading endless stories of – what else? – frustration.

It’s time for me to be an adult, to take failures and live with them. To realize I’m never going to be what everyone is expecting me to be. That I live in a environment hard enough, and sometimes even harder for a woman. I live in a place where women salaries are considerably lower than their male counterparts, where you can’t use a short skirt for going out in hot humid day because man will “compliment” you in a rather disrespectful way, where you are expected to do all the household duties plus go to work while your male counterpart is not forced to help you (thankfully, this is changing), I live in a place where woman most be extra careful when walking alone because they can no only be mugged but also raped; I live in a place where sanitary pads have disappeared off the shelves and there is no one making a big deal out of it.

Maybe is time for me to look for what really makes me happy and do my best effort to achieve it. If it’s grad school, it should come to me; some program, some institution should accept me; some scholarship should be available and I should have merits enough to fulfill it. If It’s not grad school, none of that will happen. Maybe my life won’t be about that. Maybe it’s photography, or the piano, or the paintings, or my writings – the narrative part of my writings, perhaps not much the “serious” studies…- Maybe it’s art or music. Maybe it’s my own business. Maybe it’s a life focused in a family life alongside with my boyfriend and my hypothetical kids. Maybe it’s just something else. Somewhere else. Maybe I’ll be someone helpful, somehow “important”. Maybe I won’t be any of that. Maybe I’ll stay exactly as I am now, irrelevant, oddly normal – except for one person. And maybe it’s enough.

Or maybe it’s just me, whining over and over because of a simple e-mail; unable to know how to deal with a rejection.

Image taken from HERE, no desire to steal anyone' copyright.