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brooklynpoet


Feb 25, 2006, 7:40 PM

Post #1 of 30 (4236 views)
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Combating Post-Application, Pre-Acceptance Anxiety Can't Post

Because those of us who won't be getting any acceptances are too discouraged to post messages.

Is there anyone out there who identifies with the twisted, narcissistic, unrealistic thought pattern that has been plaguing me since Monday, February 15?

Other people are getting calls from programs. No program has called me yet. That means I won't be accepted anywhere.

And even if I'm accepted somewhere, it will be because their preferred candidates turned them down. I'll always be second-class.

And I certainly won't have a choice of schools. Not like the people who have already gotten calls from more than one of the schools I applied to. I must, therefore, be a talentless wanna-be.

So I clearly have to give up the whole idea. Yet my entire self-concept is based on the whole idea. So I might as well spend the next two weeks in bed.

Could someone please say something to snap me out of this?

Sincerely,

unacceptable brooklynpoet




(This post was edited by motet on Feb 28, 2006, 8:21 AM)


thee swimmer


Feb 25, 2006, 7:50 PM

Post #2 of 30 (4230 views)
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Re: [brooklynpoet] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

I think you need to wait until at least Mid to late March to press the panic button. Often schools contact minority applicants first, and there may be a long wait between the first and second (or even third) round of acceptances.

Don't worry BP. You're not second-class. SUBJECTIVE. It's all Subjective.

This is why we apply to many schools. In an ideal world I would have my choice between Cornell, Irvine or Iowa, but my girlfriend keeps telling me, in her inimitable Harry Potter way, that the "sorting hat" will tell me where I'm going. I just wish it would Hurry The *#@$ Up!


rooblue


Feb 25, 2006, 8:01 PM

Post #3 of 30 (4222 views)
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Re: [brooklynpoet] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

brooklynpoet,
I feel your pain, to quote our ex-President.
I'm at Warren Wilson now, but two years ago I was where you are.
Once I got to WWC, I was sure -- absolutely sure -- that I was the last person admitted for that term.
And you know what? It doesn't matter at all.

Once you're in someplace, you're in. No one knows or cares who was first. And thee swimmer -- I think it was thee swimmer -- was right: there could be a million reasons, having nothing to do with the quality of your writing, why other people are getting called. It could simply be that the people who read those applications reported in first!

So, it's Saturday night, time to give yourself a little break, whether it's a beer or bad TV or a phone call to a friend, whatever would give you a lift.

Your friend is right -- the Sorting Hat will do its work -- and you'll know, and life will go on.
Good luck.


gussy

e-mail user

Feb 25, 2006, 9:43 PM

Post #4 of 30 (4186 views)
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Re: [brooklynpoet] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi,

I second what both thee swimmer and rooblue said, so I won't repeat it here. But I'd like to add the following. We shouldn't forget that many (or at least some) people who get accepted now were rejected in the past. This only goes to show either 1) how random the whole process is; or 2) that resilience and hard work can improve the quality of one's work dramatically (on the assumption that the past rejections and the present acceptances indicate something about the quality of one's work). Or perhaps a little bit of 1), 2), and many more...

And for whatever it's worth, I haven't been called either, whereas other people who applied to the same programs I have applied to have already received the sorting hat's verdict :). You're not alone, man !! But again, it's too early to start the mourning process... allow me a horrendous platitude: we'll cross that bridge when we get there :)


brooklynpoet


Feb 25, 2006, 10:09 PM

Post #5 of 30 (4176 views)
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Re: [gussy] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, all. I watched Ghostbusters II on TV and am feeling somewhat more cheerful. Nothing calms hysteria quite like seeing Lady Liberty smashing the evil pink slime to pieces with her lit torch.

I will not allow myself to panic until March 15. :-)

--BP

P.S. In this particular case, "You're not alone, girlfriend" would fit better than "You're not alone, man." (The thought is welcome regardless.)


shadowboxer


Feb 25, 2006, 10:31 PM

Post #6 of 30 (4167 views)
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Re: [thee swimmer] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Often schools contact minority applicants first, and there may be a long wait between the first and second (or even third) round of acceptances.



thee swimmer


Feb 25, 2006, 10:45 PM

Post #7 of 30 (4158 views)
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Re: [shadowboxer] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

Let me add...Minority applicants who are ONLY selected because they are some of the most talented writers in the universe. It just happens (where I'm from at least) that some schools, for whatever reason (school funding rules or whatever), notify those students first.


shadowboxer


Feb 25, 2006, 11:02 PM

Post #8 of 30 (4148 views)
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Re: [thee swimmer] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Let me add...Minority applicants who are ONLY selected because they are some of the most talented writers in the universe. It just happens (where I'm from at least) that some schools, for whatever reason (school funding rules or whatever), notify those students first.

My last post got cut off. What I wanted to say was that very few schools do this. I can think of only one or two schools with this practice. Where are you from?


To the OP: Who cares if you're in the second or third round? It's likely that your classmates will never know unless you're at a school with tiered funding or if someone is crass enough to bring it up.

As a writer, you've got to learn to separate your ego from your writing.


boy named sue


Feb 26, 2006, 8:00 AM

Post #9 of 30 (4103 views)
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Re: [shadowboxer] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

brooklynpoet (i myself am an ex-brooklyn poet) -- i COMPLETELY relate. people have gotten calls from the programs (phds and mfa) i applied to. i have been brimming over with convictions of my own inadequacies. my subconscious also doesn't seem to want to cooperate with my conscious mind in helping me develop alternate plans in the event of universal rejection, as i keep dreaming of getting an acceptance letter. worse than nightmares. and why i am up at 7 on a sunday. and the post about minority writers helps not at all because i am one myself. although i didn't mention it at all in my statement...don't know if i should have? and i have been thinking, because i know i will likely reapply, how am i going to produce a portfolio of new poems next year that are better than what i submitted. not that i think my ms was great; it's that i fear i have hit my wall. maybe the sorting hat has decided i am not a wizard at all.

sorry for this self-involved post. but i do understand. i have felt very intimidated by others on this board. what do they say - failure makes you stronger? but i say that to myself, then i laugh. a crazy maniacal kind of laughter. i would rather be weak and successful, i think.


gussy

e-mail user

Feb 26, 2006, 12:50 PM

Post #10 of 30 (4053 views)
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Re: [boy named sue] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi BNS (by the way, would you care to share some words about your choice of codename? It's pretty puzzling :),

I share your feelings, but let me say three quick things:

1) rejection WILL be part of your life as a writer (it's a part of any profession, but more so in the case of writers). Think of submitting your work to publications: only a small percentage of it will be accepted.

2) take this whole thing as a rehearsal, and think that really, you'll be applying next year, not this one (I know, this sounds very dumb, but sometimes I get to bring myself into this quasi-hallucinatory state in which I believe that is actually the case -- I already made a list of schools I'd be applying to next year, and this helps :). But hey, there are people (in this forum and elsewhere) who applied the first time, didn't make the cut, then applied a second time, a third time, even, and eventually they made it; that should be a lesson for us all.

3) if you read and write with certain regularity, it would be a freakish accident of nature if your writing didn't improve in a year's work; don't worry about that -- worry about reading and writing regularly and the quality of your output will take care of itself.

Hope this helps,

Gussy


RainDog


Feb 26, 2006, 1:08 PM

Post #11 of 30 (4048 views)
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Re: [gussy] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

I, too, have already put together a list of schools to apply to next year -- anticipating across-the-board rejection. And it does help.


pw38292283


Feb 26, 2006, 2:12 PM

Post #12 of 30 (4018 views)
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Re: [RainDog] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

Just to reiterate what everyone else has said: don't worry, brooklynpoet. It's much too early to make any conclusions. In addition, I got into a program this year but that was after two years of getting nothing but rejections! So keep on at it, and you'll be fine...I promise.

You certiantly will not be a second-class acceptance! The admissions board has a terribly hard time making decisions because their applicant pool is oftentimes so talented, so there are times when they absolutely love someone who is on their waitlist...so no worries!

*AN IMPORTANT NOTE ON MINORITY APPLICANTS: this is NOT NOT true at most respectable universities. I have asked around and this just does NOT happen. Most schools-- for instance, Iowa, U Mass, U mich, for instance-- notify their top applicants all at once. Plus minority fellowships are oftentimes granted from the university not the creative writing department, so its not like being a minority will increase your odds. It will increase your odds of funding at SOME places, but that's only after you get in. ANOTHER IMPORTANT NOTE, a friend of mine is Asian and he just got into a few programs, and he was shocked to be notified that Asians are oftentimes not considered a statistical minority in academia so in all the schools he got into, he was not up for any minority fellowships. He wasn't upset, he just found that interesting.


boy named sue


Feb 26, 2006, 2:46 PM

Post #13 of 30 (4004 views)
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Re: [RainDog] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

thanks everyone. i too have been starting a mini list in my head for next year but i haven't thought about it too concretely because i, in what may be my last act of sanity, am going to wait until march 15 to completely freak out and make concrete re-application plans. (and that will be a little freaky, considering how i've already have some minor meltdowns)

i definitely have had my share of rejection letters from journals...but those seem to sting less than the ones from admissions committees. "your application has been carefully considered and been rejected/denied/deemed not worthy of our illustrious institution." blah blah blah.

i do read and write regularaly, so i know intellectually i should get better. but i often have feelings that i've hit a plateau and don't know how to push myself further. don't know if anyone else experiences this and what you do about it?

it was really heartening to hear about adam haslett in the other thread...how he applied twice before getting in. (i wish it was 5 times though, as someone else had erroneously heard) i just wish my name was jonathan safran foer. bastard.

gussy -- i point you in the direction of johnny cash. "a boy named sue" is a great song and always makes me smile. i'm not sure why i chose it because i'm neither a boy (although the haircut i've given myself makes me look like a 5 year old boy...) nor am i named sue.


sarandipidy


Feb 26, 2006, 3:04 PM

Post #14 of 30 (3993 views)
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Re: [boy named sue] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

I would wait until April 15th. Lots of acceptances seem to come mid-late March, and Columbia's have come in April...


rooblue


Feb 26, 2006, 5:52 PM

Post #15 of 30 (3936 views)
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Re: [boy named sue] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

BNS,
You asked about feeling if we've hit plateaus, and what we've done about it.... that is exactly how I felt before I started an MFA program. I felt that I was just writing the same story over and over again, different each time but not better. Looking back on it, I probably was getting better but the increments were hard to see. One thing that jump-started my writing was an online class I did through Vermont College. The teacher had a very specific notion of how a short story should be constructed -- and you had to follow that pattern or he sent you back to start over. Since then I've read hundreds of wonderful stories that don't fit his pattern, but at the time it was helpful to me, because it got me out of a box that I thought I'd gotten into. His name was Les Edgerton -- I'm not sure he still does the online thing -- but if he's not teaching there someone else is.

If you don't want to do an online course, there are several craft books that have exercises in them that you could do to help yourself break out of whatever rut you think you've fallen into. I think Madison Smartt Bell's book, Narrative Design, has some exercises, and there's a book by Pamela Painter and someone else called, What If? that has a bunch of good short fun exercises to try.

All of this is basic I know but I hope it helps.


Amethyst


Feb 27, 2006, 1:57 PM

Post #16 of 30 (3829 views)
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Re: [boy named sue] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi All--

I just wanted to let all of you who have rejection anxiety know you should hang in there. About three years ago, I decided to get an MFA and I applied to one school only--Warren Wilson. I got rejected. I was completely crushed. In a fit of self-pity, I called the WWC program office to ask WHY I had been rejected. Surprisingly, they did actually take the time to give me some information, although they didn't tell me specifically what the admissions committee had said about my application. They told me that my app was very seriously considered, and they encouraged me to reapply in the future. For various reasons, the incoming class that semester was unusually small, and they didn't have enough slots to offer to everyone they might have wanted.

Flash forward two years. I decided to reapply, this time to five different schools--WWC, Bennington, Vermont College, New England College and St. Mary's College. This time I got accepted to four schools and wait-listed at St. Mary's (which surprised me, because I honestly don't think that program is as good as the others, and I really wasn't sure I wanted to do full residency anyway). Now I am in my first semester at Warren Wilson. It's a lot of work, but I like it. WW has a very non-competitive atmosphere. I don't think anyone on the faculty even knows that I was not accepted the first time I applied--and certainly none of the other students know. There is a general sense that we were all good enough to get in, so we are all equally good.

I believe that if you really want to get an MFA, you will find the program that's right for you. Don't feel discouraged if you don't get in the first time. Believe in yourself, and you will achieve what you desire. I know that sounds trite--but it turned out to be true in my case.

Thanks, and peace to all--
Amethyst


brooklynpoet


Feb 27, 2006, 8:40 PM

Post #17 of 30 (3734 views)
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Re: [brooklynpoet] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello again all,

Thanks so much for all your posts. They've buoyed my spirits for the last couple of days. Though now I wish I'd titled the thread, "Combating Post-Application, Pre-Acceptance Anxiety."

I've just received an email letting me know I got in to Florida. I tell you this not to increase the fear and discouragement of those who haven't heard anything yet, but to prove that lack of perspective can be fatal to one's state of mind. Please forgive the cliché, but it really is darkest before the dawn.

--Greatly relieved BP


sibyline


Feb 27, 2006, 9:18 PM

Post #18 of 30 (3705 views)
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Re: [brooklynpoet] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

Congratulations! I'm really really happy for you. :)


darredet
Darren A. Deth


Feb 27, 2006, 9:22 PM

Post #19 of 30 (3701 views)
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Re: [brooklynpoet] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

That is great news. Congratulations!


brooklynpoet


Feb 27, 2006, 9:55 PM

Post #20 of 30 (3672 views)
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Re: [brooklynpoet] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks!


darredet
Darren A. Deth


Feb 27, 2006, 10:41 PM

Post #21 of 30 (3642 views)
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Re: [rooblue] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Rooblue:

What are you working on these days? The class with Les was great, and the feedback from everyone was excellent. I can't wait to start VC in June. I'm hoping to have at least half of the first draft of my novel done by then.

Darren


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Feb 28, 2006, 8:20 AM

Post #22 of 30 (3573 views)
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Re: [brooklynpoet] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Though now I wish I'd titled the thread, "Combating Post-Application, Pre-Acceptance Anxiety."



I can help you out there.



boy named sue


Feb 28, 2006, 1:26 PM

Post #23 of 30 (3502 views)
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Re: [rooblue] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

rooblue - thanks for the advice and the book tips. i had never thought of taking an online class, but it's an excellent idea. i've had a lot of trouble finding a writing group/community where i live so i am definitely going to look into this.

maybe the thread should be called ...post-application, pre-notification...? you know, to include us rejects. :p

and congrats brooklynpoet and everyone else who has heard these couple of days!


minnie


Feb 28, 2006, 1:39 PM

Post #24 of 30 (3492 views)
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Re: [boy named sue] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it should just be called Writers' Anxiety. Waiting to hear back from a program is just like waiting to hear back from a journal is just like waiting to hear back from an agent is just waiting to hear back from an editor. It was much better in the days when we could only check our mail once a day, now with email, one can check and check and check. It becomes yet another one of those tasks that seems to beckon when you should just be writing.


brooklynpoet


Mar 1, 2006, 6:27 PM

Post #25 of 30 (3364 views)
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Re: [minnie] Why Accepted Applicants Are Overrepresented on MFA Board [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, but this is the MFA board, so maybe slightly more specific is slightly more helpful.

Thanks for the change, Dana! Please don't feel compelled, but the point about "pre-acceptance" being exclusive is well taken, to my chagrin. I guess "Combating Post-Application Anxiety" would be less obnoxious.

Though I was really mocking myself when I suggested the retitling to begin with. I know irony is difficult to read in an online post, so I just thought I should point that out.

BP

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