Monday, December 15, 2008

Not this. Maybe something else...

This is going to be a long one. So you might want to do something else.

There's a kind of satisfaction which comes with giving your best shot. Something often bordering on a sense of arrogance. When I decided to apply for a US MBA this earlier this year, I knew it was going to be a very uphill climb. Last year, I had closely seen someone go through it and even if I knew I would do things differently, I knew that I had a lot on my plate.

I had this feeling that this was going to be intense. And in a good way. I wanted to do it. I thought I was good at it. It would be something I hadn't done ever in my life. And it had the power to change many things.

Today I got a reject from my top school. A school I would have really wanted to attend. But wait. This is neither going to be a i-hate-this-flawed-process post nor a oh-im-ruined one.

I had done everything I had the power to do. I couldn't change my past. My weaknesses. But in effort and intent, I think I would have done better than a few who would get into the school. Blogs, emails, phone calls, forums, websites, brochures and info sessions. I did all the usual things. I made excel sheets too! But what I enjoyed doing most was asking myself questions. Asking myself what I wanted out of the two years at the school. And beyond. So by the time I submitted the application, I had clear answers to all of them. And most importantly, they were my answers. I wrote about them passionately. I poured my heart into them. It was quite liberating. I stringed together each sentence carefully. My transitions were good. The flow was there. I distilled out what my experiences and memories had taught me and I wrote honestly. Yes, I embellished my achievements. But they were small, personal ones. I feared they would get lost amongst the larger, earth shattering ones that others would have. Oh, you should have seen my essays. Each ending was unique. Each beginning had a bite. I know its like being boastful about myself. But they were. I don't always like what I write. But the essays... I really did a good job of them. The few who read my first drafts would agree.

Anyway, the fact that I have a major release to take care of tomorrow has sort of helped. And of course the new life. I am sad. I mean I had dreamed about getting the admit email so many times. I had played over in my head what I would do. What I would put on this blog. But now that it has actually not happened, I don't feel all that depressed or down. Somebody told be not long ago that I can make it a habit to cry about how things aren't going my way. But this email hasn't had a similar effect. At least no so far.

I am generally very critical of myself. So much so that I often hesitate to disagree or argue if I am absolutely not sure about my own knowledge or information. I hate seeing the faults in others till the point I am certain that I'm not misunderstanding them and that I have the facts right. So I wont hold a grudge for this. Disheartened? Definitely. Felt let down? No. Wished it had been different? Yes. Feel that the world around me has shattered? Naah.

This process has given me a lot of clarity. Loads of confidence about my ability to think and come to conclusions. I know it's not the right time to talk about confidence when you have just got a rejection. But it's after all the judgement 2 people made about my abilities and potential. And it's different from what I think of myself. There are still a couple of schools which might have different opinions about me. And even if they dont there's always a next time. But just having done this so thoroughly has given me immense satisfaction. I still think that I put in a great application.

I'm beginning to believe that what matters really is what you think of yourself. And then, what the people around you - those who know you closely, think about you. Because whenever I 've let strangers judge me, they've dissapointed me.

Anyway. Guess I am done rambling about nothing in particular. And yes, there are still new things happening everyday. Take temperatures of -32 degree for example.

A dream got shattered today. A huge one. It's perhaps time to start creating a new one.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about the ding. Having been at the receiving end of many, I exactly know how it feels like.
I was distraught, when I heard about mine - because like you I felt I had given my best shot and worked really hard, probably more than what other admits usually do.
But I don't know what to make of it; don't know why things turn out the way they do.
It is probably one of those failures that makes us stronger and more focused than ever before.
But there are still more schools to go, so chill in -32; thats why the concept of safety schools was devised :).
I hope soon you blog on..." Dear Atish, We are pleased to offer you a place..."

Atish said...

Anon: "But I don't know what to make of it; don't know why things turn out the way they do" couldn't have put it any better :)
Thank you for dropping by...

Rohan Rai said...

Hey man dont worry...A suggestion which may seem hollow...But thats the only one I have to give. U still have places to look forward to.Expecting a better tomorrow I guess would be a better way that to brood over a candy not 2 b yours.

As you say everything evens out eventually and eventually it will my friend. Do believe me, if not me than a better person 2 believe is urself.

anonymous coward said...

I'm beginning to believe that what matters really is what you think of yourself. And then, what the people around you - those who know you closely, think about you. Because whenever I 've let strangers judge me, they've dissapointed me.

Wow! This line made my day. I can feel your anguish after all the hard work and single-minded devotion that you put it. Like Rohan, any consolation that I or anyone offers is going to sound pretty hollow; so I'll refrain from doing that.

I guess its about situations like this that people say that the path taken is more important than the final destination.

Chin up!

Atish said...

rohan, anon: thanks guys :) really...

Shreyas said...

the honest irony of this application process is that there are two kinds of people who apply. one who eventually get selected and the others who come out enlightened and aware of themselves.
some would call it 'sour-grapes' if i say that i prefer being enlightened as you are, and perhaps thats the cost of that enlghtenment.
success failure will coexist, they have no independent standing...what is independent and absolute is your resolve and your perception...and I have also been through a similar experiecne like you in this regard.
cheers! you have won half the battle...