The Results Are In

For the past four days, I have survived on what has felt like barely strung-together heart palpitations and wheezing. The results from my MFA application were to be delivered in early December, and thank God that day has come because I think the anticipation was literally going to kill me.

I’ve never checked my email more frequently. Nearly every conversation I’ve had with my fiance this week has started with, “I haven’t heard back yet” and replied with, “When they said early December, darling, I don’t think they meant the first working day of the month.” As you can see, I monopolize all of the ridiculous anxiety in this relationship while Chris gets to, enviably (sometimes), be the cool one.

Well, today the word finally came. In a very gracious email, I was not accepted to the MFA Creative Writing program.

What I felt first and most acutely was relief. Truly, it was the not knowing that had tormented me the most, rather than the fear of failure. If I had not been confident in my portfolio, I would not have sent it, so I cannot and will not berate myself over what I should have written differently.

I know I’ve projected my anxiety on quite a few kind people over the last few months who asked about my impending results, and who offered support and positivity. And while I tried to take that all to heart, I always knew that the program acceptance rate was very small, and that there are so many talented writers in Canada and throughout the world who had applied as well.

As of writing this, I have not told anyone but Chris. I’m not looking forward to sharing the results with the instructors and mentors who had agreed to be my references. I know that their disappointment will be with the results rather than with me, but it’s still hard for a keener like me to not be seen as successful in the eyes of her teachers.

For the first time in the last four months, I am not looking far ahead, but rather at the present. My anxiety had quite crippled my creativity, and already I feel so ready to get back to writing without thinking about how it would read as an assignment, as something to be marked.

So for now I am not a master. I’m holding onto my amateur status so I can compete in the Olympics. I’m excited about all the great things I get to learn, however and wherever they manifest.



    1. The letter was really diplomatic: we only have a 25% acceptance rate, many students who apply again are accepted, our opinion is not the be-all-end-all of what is good writing, etc. They don’t give any specific remarks to individual portfolios.

      1. I sent an email in the spring explaining my education background because I didn’t want to work on a big portfolio just to lose out because of technicals of my degree, and they said my degree was acceptable.

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