Many of you have made inquiries regarding my post-graduation plans. Perhaps this is for stalking purposes. Understandable. Or perhaps you’re curious as to who’d actually offer me employment, so you’ll know which publications to steer clear of in the future. Again, understandable. Well, I’ll tell you: I have no friggin’ idea. (That sound you hear is my parents changing the locks.) But I can tell you what I WON’T be doing next year, and that is attending Columbia Journalism School. I know this because they told me so.
Welcome to April. For us seniors, it’s drop ’em, bend over, and grab yo’ ankles time. We are receiving letters. In them, people are “regretting to inform” us of things and wishing us luck on careers that they just extinguished.
“Oh, and we threw some anthrax in there for ya. Tallyho!”
I just spent two weeks obsessively going to the post office five times a day like a crackhead on the comeback to her dealer. Finally, a few days ago, there it was in my mailbox: The sad, anorexic envelope, so thin it’s currently being cast for a show on WB.
Of course, there’s little I can do. Mostly this is because I am in the fetal position. So, unable to do anything else, we (the regrettably informed, I mean) spend our days lying around trading rejection letter war stories. My brother’s roommate received his rejection letter from Goldman Sachs, which was postmarked a week before his interview even took place. One friend received her Harvard Law School rejection on her birthday. So she sent the small envelope back, saying that she was returning her present in exchange for the larger size.
I, in the name of time and completely wasting it, have spent every day re-reading my letter. Before we begin, let us pause and ponder the term “admissions committee.” Seeing as they spend most of their time rejecting people, I feel this is false advertising. Honest journalism, my ass. First, the rejection committee denies your “request” for admission, but seems to have no problem accepting your application fee. This is because the committee is actually Miss Cleo and one’s future can only be disclosed for $75, mon.
Then comes the best part: “We want to assure you that we reviewed your application thoroughly–” The hell? Thanks for THOROUGHLY rubbing the salt in the wound, buddy. Is that supposed to make me feel better? Assuring me that there’s no possibility a mistake was made? At least let me live in my arrogant fantasy world where somebody else’s name was accidentally put on my acceptance letter. I’d rather they just sent me a post-it that said, “You know, we had so many applicants, we flipped a coin. It happens.”
Instead they go on for several paragraphs. Yes, please prolong the agony. No, no epidural, thanks. “We felt you needed a year or so more of journalism experience before tackling our rigorous program–” Huh? I need more EXPERIENCE in journalism to be accepted to journalism SCHOOL? That’s right, schools across the country, in an effort to make their jobs as easy as possible, will only be accepting qualified professionals from now on. Sorry, but if I’m actually able to obtain experience in journalism after graduation, I probably won’t quit my job to attend journalism school. But why don’t you send Ted Kennedy to bartending school in the meantime.
Then comes the part that is more self-important than, well, me. “Many applicants not admitted to the Journalism School nonetheless make substantial contributions to journalism.” If they actually think I’m stupid enough not to know this, no wonder they denied me admission. It’s a good thing they put in that part about the world not being flat, because I would have tried to jump off it after reading this statement.
“Thank you for your interest in Columbia.” Why, you’re welcome. Did I also mention my interest in firearms? Finally, it’s signed “Sincerely.” Evidently, they are very sincere about rejecting me.
As bitter as I may come off in this column, I’ve actually recovered quite nicely from this disappointment. After all, life ain’t fair and, if you don’t agree, explain “snugger fit” condoms. One has to experience the darkness in order to truly appreciate the light. And speaking of the bright side, my future is not completely up in the air (although my rejection letter is — fluttering in tiny pieces.) I have some job prospects that look really promising. I’ll tell you all about it in my next column. For 75 bucks.
Noelle Hancock, who is never bitter, is a senior in Saybrook College.