Thesis Update: Rejection, Parents, Life

Still been reading a lot of things that seems kind of fruitless right now. Hopefully that will change. My new goal is to be basically done with my thesis this weekend (including revisions). It sounds crazy because I still have a chapter that I need to write and major revisions I need to make but I figure I won’t have many distractions this weekend (my best friends/the people I spend the majority of my time with will be away for the weekend) so it’s a possibility. I’m just excited to be done with it soon.

Since coming to Princeton, I’ve experienced more rejection than I ever have in my entire life. It’s been pretty humbling. Usually it’s sad at first though. I just got my last bit of rejection when I heard back from another grad school program. Having gotten bad news from all but one program, which I have yet to hear from, I felt like I should call my parents and let them know that my plans for next year were really up in the air. I was just planning to call my mom and dad and tell them that they should be praying about my future plans and that I really had no idea what the next step was going to be for me.

When I got on the phone with my mom, everything was fine. I told her about my recent string of rejections in a pretty calm tone and we talked a little bit about other options. Then, all of a sudden, the waterworks came. I wasn’t sad that I didn’t get into those schools. They were nice but I wasn’t banking on being in those places. I was upset that in that moment, it felt like my future was unknown and my Princeton career had culminated in these rejections.

Let me explain: I, like many other Princetonians, was good at high school. I never had to work hard and I got good grades. When I got to Princeton, things changed a lot. At first, it just seemed like I would have to work harder to get the better grades, but at a certain point it felt like no matter how hard I was working, I still wasn’t going to get the grade I thought I deserved.

A lot of Princeton students feel this way for sure. It’s a pretty frustrating, feeling. So getting that most recent rejection was just a reminder of what I’ve felt my Princeton career has been. I was disappointed and upset and I just didn’t really want to deal with it.

When the sadness came, my mom showed me yet again how much people change. I remember not too long ago on a ride back to campus explaining to my parents that I wasn’t going to be pre-med anymore and I didn’t want to be a doctor. I remember how confused they both were when I told them I had no idea what I was going to do but I wasn’t majoring in psych, or chem, or bio, or any other thing I had previously thought I would pursue. I remember sitting in the back seat crying while trying to explain during this heated discussion that maybe I wanted to study religion or english or even classics. Thinking back to that moment makes me feel so small. I was just a kid and all I could do was tell the adults who raised me that I didn’t want to do what I had been saying I wanted to do for so long.

So the other day, when I called my mom, I expected a similar reaction. It’s not that my parents are overbearing or anything, they just expect us to do well and they don’t want to watch us fail (like any parent, really). So I expected a slightly heated conversation with my mom forcing me to figure out what I really wanted to do. I figured I’d sit through it and end up a little more disappointed and down on myself than before but then I’d get over it. I was preparing myself for the worse.

But the worse never came. Instead, my mom told me what I wanted to hear 3 years ago but was probably more helpful in that moment: You’re still young, you have your whole life ahead of you. One failure won’t determine your future. It’s ok that you don’t know what’s next. God’s already taken care of it. Even now, thinking about myself a few years ago and thinking about where I am now, I can’t help but cry. Not because I’m sad about anything but because 1) things and people in my life really have changed so much and 2) in a way everything is exactly the same.

So I thank God for my parents, because they really do remind me of God’s love for me. There’s not a day I call them when they don’t tell me how proud they are of me (and I haven’t even done anything!) and that makes me feel good and loved. I have no idea what the next year of my life will look like and that’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever faced but it’s good to know I have people who love me and won’t let me give up.

Onwards and upwards!

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