Rejection: A Wealth of Possibilities

What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.
–T.S. Eliot

Yep, when The Rhetorical Purpose summons the T.S. Eliot, something serious has happened.  In this case, it’s the rejection I received from Temple University’s MM&C doctoral program. Don’t get me wrong–I appreciate the merciful brevity of the two-paragraph form letter I received today, but it did not provide any insight into the areas in which my credentials were lacking, so I need to do some investigating. I wish I could say that the form letter was how I was notified, but it was actually the previous night, when I happened to check the status of my application online, and found only a new status of “Applicant Declined.” Needless to say, it was a rather sleepless night, a foodless day, and a monumental effort to stay focused in the classroom.

Musser put it in perspective for me, though, when she said that rejection often makes you realize what people really think of you, and she’s right: all day today, my friends, family, and colleagues offered comfort and support, and made me feel valued in a way that an impersonal rejection letter could not diminish. I received hugs, kind words, handwritten notes, Hershey’s kisses, and tea.

In my contemplative state last night, I took a mental inventory of what disappointed me most about the rejection. Strangely, it was the thought of not taking the screenwriting class next semester as part of my coursework. One of my stories, The Black Marble Club, is in partially finished novel form, but I’ve always seen it as a screenplay. I was looking forward to using that for the class. The great thing is that I can still work on that project in a screenplay class–there’s no reason I need to be in a PhD program to do that. I found the realization comforting, and that’s when I channeled the T.S. Eliot. Endings are the same as beginnings, and the pathways that I would have needed to ignore in order to go to graduate school beckon once more. Are they the beginning or the end?

About Jesse Piersol

Griot. Filmmaker. Fatbike aficionado.
This entry was posted in Rhetorically Relevant. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Rejection: A Wealth of Possibilities

  1. dawnreitz says:

    As the band Semisonic sang: “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

    Nice perspective, Piersol. Proud of you and your message. Thanks for setting an example for your students and friends.

    Can’t wait to read the screenplay…

  2. Pingback: Turning a Dead-End into an Inspired Detour « 30 Blog

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