Feb 17Liked by sofía aguilar

I was just rejected from my dream MFA program (in art practice). I just had the realization yesterday that I may not get in anywhere that I applied.

I feel for you. It’s a strange bittersweet feeling. I can’t stand the optimistic advise that my parents/ friends are giving me. “Your portfolio is so strong… you’re so talented… I can’t believe they didn’t accept you.” etc… I really wish people would stop calling me talented. It is such a cheap compliment. It is more flattering if people would engage with my work. I’m pursuing art because it is what I love to do… it is how I want to spend my life…

Also, I feel terrible like I let down my recommenders. Yet, I have a strange happiness. People cheering me up has the opposite effect of compelling me to feel sad. But I’m not sad. Getting rejected is refreshing insofar as I’m finally receiving an honest evaluation. I need to confront reality and deal with the fact that my work is disparate and I don’t have much professional experience… Getting rejected has made me even more determined to dig in and defend my choice to be an artist.

It was cathartic to read your post. I hope that you were able to develop and refine your craft despite not being at an MFA.

How are things after a year?

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Thank you so much for checking in and for your kind comment, that means a lot! It's cathartic that I wasn't alone in feeling the way I did. Since sharing this post, I've continued to pursue writing, working on a variety of projects including a column, and leading creative workshops and giving lectures in different genres. All of it has been both a healing and educational learning experience for me. It reminds me that even without a degree, I can still do and pursue the things I love, and be a leader. I'm holding off on applying for MFA programs for now but I'm actually in grad school right now! I'm getting a master's in Library and Information Science, which has been so so fun and a much better fit for me at this point in my life (I talk more about this in my most recent newsletter). It's been wild to realize that I was always eventually going to get a master's, just not in the field I expected, and that's been pretty empowering. Goes to show that there is always something else out there for you!

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