First year, Guest post
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Next Year

by Lara Prescott

It’s mid-February and you haven’t seen an acceptance yet. You’re checking Facebook ten (OK, twenty) times a day for word on acceptances. You’ve resorted to Googling people who’ve gotten in so you can compare your work to theirs. You’ve succumbed to Grad Café rumors.

On the day you get rejected from Michigan, you lock yourself out of the house and have to walk barefoot in your pajamas down an iced-over sidewalk in a town you hate to fetch a locksmith.

It can’t get any worse.

But it does.

March brings a smattering of more rejections and you call your mother to tell her that you’re just not good enough. She feels your pain, and tells you so, but wonders why you’d want to go back to school in your 30s in the first place, which she doesn’t tell you.

In April, you get accepted to a school you can’t afford. It feels good for a minute. Then you do the math.

On the day you receive your final rejection—from a school that misspells your name—you begin a new story. You don’t yet know it, but that story will get you into half the schools you apply to the following year.

And next year, when you get an acceptance email from your number one choice, you stand up from your desk and scream. You actually scream. You wonder if you’d have screamed if it had come easier.

Image: Let Ideas Compete


Lara Prescott is a first-year fiction fellow at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Southern Review, The Hudson Review, Tin House Flash Fridays, Day One, and others. She wants you to apply again next year.

If you’re interested in contributing a guest post to The MFA Years, visit our submissions page.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for writing this.
    It’s been really hard on me. 3 rejections in a row. I tried my best, I don’t know where I went wrong. I see my friends, getting their acceptance emails, whereas I’m trying my best to stay away from the dark thoughts. I’ve cried to sleep, thought about ending it all (I know that’s a bit exaggerated but that’s I feel right now) I keep on coming back to my parents house on the weekends, because rejections are a bit easier to handle when they are around. This morning at breakfast, something reminded me about the rejections and I burst out crying. I have another result pending that’s going to come out on my birthday – seeing how the previous have gone, I don’t think there’ll be any celebrations this time around.

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