Last fall I applied to a prestigious graduate academic program. I had a meeting with a professor in my field (history) and we had a wonderful discussion. I admire her work, and she seemed genuinely enthusiastic about what I wanted to study.
Early in the new year, I heard, albeit informally, that I had been accepted to the program.
Yesterday, a form rejection arrived.
As a writer, I'm used to form letter rejections, and, if it hadn't been for the rumor that I had been accepted, I would have soldiered on through this rejection too. But staring down at those words, "We know this must be disappointing, but we must turn away many applicants..." I felt a fool. Bitch-slapped by life.
I will never, ever be able to go to graduate school now, I whined inside my head. I will never be able to face my former professors to ask for recommendations a second time. I had only applied to one program. Idiot.
Fortunately, I had tried hard not to boast about my acceptance, but I had shared my joy with my family. ("Oh, good, finally you're going to stop wasting your time writing!") And even my writer's group. ("If you waste your time on that, you'll have no time to write!")
My husband, ever sensible, told me to stop moping about the house, agonizing over the letter, and to just write and ask them if it was a mistake. That's crazy, I thought, You can't write to either a school or an agent who's rejected you and ask, "Hey, are you sure about that?"
Of course, this was a little different because I had been told a contradictory message before. I emailed.
The rejection letter was a mistake. My name had been accidently slipped in with the long list of those to be sent form rejections.
Now, if only agent rejections would turn out to be mistakes too. :)