Dear Elizabeth. Unfortunately it has not been possible to grant you admission at this time. The 12 words no Oxford applicant ever wants to see, but for me my whole educational world came tumbling down on the 9th of January as I officially became an Oxford reject. Rejection is has been no stranger in my lifetime and I’m sure it will reappear in a variety of forms in the future. So what was it about this that stung so much?
Was it fact that I felt as though I had let everyone down who had helped me with the process? (Big shout out Sally and Paul while we’re here) Was it that going to Oxford had been a dream of mine for over a decade? Or was it being told that the intellectual abilities I have always prided myself on were in fact far from sufficient that truly hurt? These were all just contributing factors to the emotional rollercoaster I have experienced over the last 4 weeks, and although tears were shed I have started to come to peace with the outcome and come to terms with my emotions.
Let me take you back. 9am Wednesday 9th January. I am stuck in the same traffic jam, having barely moved and inch in the past 45 minutes, anxiety through the roof playing over every possible outcome in my head. My stomach growls, either from the racing emotions or more likely due to the lack of breakfast I had consumed. Lord knows I need my porridge in the mornings! 9.45 I’m getting closer to college and my messages start to ping through on the passenger seat from the MFL Oxford Applicants Group chat informing each other of offers and rejections that have just come through. I begin to shake knowing that as soon as I have parked up, I will be informed of my Oxford fate. I have to admit even just writing this I can feel everything I felt, as what seemed like every red light in Lancashire stood between me and my Oxford decision. So I pulled up having just done the fastest reverse park of my life, fear not blog readers, I still nailed it first time ;). Anyway I refreshed that email box faster than (idk insert something fast- my brain is tired) and there it was an email staring me in the eyes. I opened it and there it was, checkmate. My Oxford Rejection Letter.
You know that little internal voice you have in your head that is constantly chattering away, yeah well mine was silent. She didn’t say anything. She just stared at the words blending into a muddle on the page, blurred by the drops that were forming in my eyes. I texted my family, but there was no reply. So I rang my Dad to break the news to him and as soon as the words “Dad, I was rejected from Oxford” escaped my mouth, the reality of the situation hit me. Floods of tears begin rolling down my face but all was well as I had anticipated there being some kind of tears and so cleverly refrained from applying mascara. I sat in the car for 10 minutes trying to settle myself before plucking up enough courage to walk into college. Walking into college requires a brave face at the best of times and even more so after you have just been rejected from your dream school.
One thing that I was dreading was having to tell everyone of my failure. Naturally people were intrigued and over the course of the day I received many texts, phone calls and had face to face conversations in which I informed those close to me of the outcome of my application. Although it didn’t get easier, my poker face improved and by the end of the day I was telling people of my rejection with a distinct lack of emotion.
The 9th of January wasn’t a day of pure disaster, it was in fact the day that I left for the airport for what would become the best trip of my life surrounded by the best people I could ask for. I ended what I initially thought would be the worst day of my life with an overwhelming sense of love from those around me. Although I started the day in tears over a university, I ended it in a huge bed with my best friend watching the Goldbergs brushing our teeth with charcoal toothpaste. And for the next 4 days the antics of the 9th of January were effectively out of my head.
Fastforward to two weeks later and my Oxford appliaction feedback arrived in my inbox. Let me tell you that shit was brutal. As if facing rejection wasn’t hard enough but to be then told that I have severe limitations in spoken French and that I lack intellectual flexibility in German was not easy to take onboard. Thankfully I was over it at that point and so the emotions weren’t quite as raw as they were 2 weeks prior. On a side note, last week I went for an interview at Lancaster University for which my feedback read “I was blown away by Elizabeth’s intellectual capabilities” which I found slightly humourous considering what Oxford had written about me. Of course the point of the feedback was to give reasons as to why I was not granted admission and yes the email outlined more than enough reasons as to why come September I will not be studying in Oxford, so for all intents and purposes it did fulfill its primary function.
By far the hardest part of the last 4 weeks has been the reactions from others that I have had to deal with from “I’m so sorry its their loss” to “I’m really surprised I thought you were the kind of girl that could get a place at Oxford” and of course people are just genuinely disappointed on my behalf but it truly doesn’t make the situation any sweeter.
In terms of feelings towards the process and my appliaction in general things have changed dramatically over the past 4 weeks. From I hate everything and everyone, to oh my goodness this was such a blessing in disguise, to I didn’t even want to go to Oxford anyway *sob*. The emotions have come in waves and although at first I did regret my decision to apply to the University of Oxford, looking back I certainly don’t any more. If anything I am well prepped for my speaking exams now, knowing the kind of situation you will be put into. I also met lots of amazing people through my application to Oxford, some people who I will definitely be staying in touch with in years to come. So there you go that’s how you turn a negative into a something of positive!
I truly am so grateful that for all the help that so many people gave my in my pursuit to study at Oxford (you know who you are) and to get to the interview stage was such an achievement for me. Although the outcome certainly wasn’t what I had hoped for, I am pretty much over it now. In all of this I have learnt one especially important message and that is if it wasn’t meant to be it wasn’t meant to be and that God has a plan for us all. So although I may never have an Oxford degree it really doesn’t mean that my future isn’t bright.