Do you remember applying to college?

Do you remember how you felt, packing up your application with the essay and mailing it off to your dream school with your wishes and hopes and dreams tucked neatly inside along with the paperwork. Or how about the “safe” school, the one that you felt sure you’d get into…and at least (hopefully) someone would take you.  

And then, one day you pull out a stack of catalogs and bills from the mailbox and buried in the pile of mail is an envelope.  Or perhaps a couple of envelopes. 

And you know by the size and shape of each one if it is good news or bad news.   It does not matter whether the envelopes are from dream schools, local or state schools, remote schools or safe schools, you never wanted to see a thin one in the stack.

That is how I felt today when I got the mail.   On top was a thin, Size 10 business envelope with my name on it. 

And it was bad news…

When it is thin, it is pretty much always bad news.

To clear up any confusion, this is not about me going back to college.  But, it is about that same awful feeling. 

My dream school was the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  It was the long shot of long shots for someone like me to get in.  And I rembember getting the rejection letter like it was yesterday.  I cried.  I mourned the loss.  And eventually, I moved on to a great school and had a great experience.  But the day the mail came, it still stunk.

Today, I felt that same knotted-up-kicked-in-the-stomach feeling for a different reason.

A few months ago, a friend encouraged me to apply for an open position a local foundation board.  I was so buoyed by her enthusiasm, I applied.  I spent hours working on the letter, poring over each word, wondering if I sounded too eager, too sappy, too Pollyanna, too formal.  I imagined the work I would do and the lives I would impact and I was so excited I virutally forgot that they could say no.

“Thank you for the opportunity to review your application.  We have chosen not to pursue your candidacy at this time.”

There were other niceties, but that is the gist.

And no matter how much I knew it was a long shot, and no matter that 3 months ago, I did not even have this opportunity on my radar, it still stinks.

There is a life lesson here. 

But for now, I am going to throw out the letter and pout a little.

And have HH get the mail tomorrow.




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