안녕하세요. 잘 지내세요?
It has been a month and things have kind of gone a little downhill. Not enough to set me back really far or anything like that, but I’m sure I could be farther along than where I am now.
A few months ago, I applied to a language immersion scholarship program that I was sincerely praying that I would get. It is called the CLS Program (Critical Language Scholarship Program). People chosen to participate in this program get to spend the Summer in their chosen host country in a Summer intensive language program. They attend a university in that country, get a language partner to practice speaking outside of classes, stay with a host family in order to know what local life is like in that country, get the experience of what university life is like in another country, build relationships with people in another country, and most of all they get to learn their chosen foreign language as a way to progress in their language learning journey, which in turn can help them in their respective future careers.
The application process is tedious and extensive (as most application processes are. College apps anyone??) and I worked hard to write great essays (going to my school’s writing center, having multiple people read and edit for me, etc.) and to get good letters of recommendation. I was counting on this Summer being the best Summer of my life. Even though I knew this was a popular scholarship program and that thousands of students apply to this program but only around 10% get accepted, I was sure that I was going.
I’m sure I don’t even have to tell you what my final notification said.
There was no reason why. Just the generic rejection letter that sounds apologetic and tells you to try again next year. Not only was I rejected, I didn’t even make it to the second round of application picks which actually made me feel worse. I’m not sure why I felt so confident that I would get accepted, but I was. And because I didn’t, I felt silly and naive and it put me in a bit of a funk. I haven’t touched my Korean books ever since I got that discouraging email. Unfortunately, this is not the only time I have been rejected for things like this which adds to why the rejection letter hurt so much. Long story short, I get rejected A LOT. For scholarships, jobs, schools, reduced school tuition, jobs, assistantships, and did I mention jobs?? Then I get stuck on asking myself questions like: What is wrong with me? Why not me? Am I a bad writer? Did my recommenders write me a bad letter and I didn’t know it? Why. Not. Me?
Maybe the judges don’t understand how this will relate to my future career. Maybe I’m the one who doesn’t understand and was just trying to convince myself that going to Korea will be beneficial to my future career somehow.
Then I start questioning whether or not God heard my prayers and if he cares or not.
All of this constant rejection is why I hardly have any worthwhile experience in my life. There are 18 year olds that have more work experience than I do; 20 year olds that have more travel experience than I do. When you look at my resume, aside from my education, it is filled with trivial jobs and other things that I don’t even want to do for the next year let alone for the rest of my life. And if money was my primary worry, I would be a broke college graduate (despite my two degrees) that doesn’t even make enough money to pay her car note, let alone move out of her mother’s house.
But alas, I cannot control it.
I do still plan on self-studying though. Why? 저는 한국말을 좋아합니다! And if that is grammatically incorrect, it’s because like I said before, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve even blinked at my Korean and I’m trying to pull from memory. This has been a bit of a setback but I plan on pushing forward and maybe finding my own way to South Korea one day.
I guess I really just wanted to get on here and say that (besides venting a little) if any of you have experienced disappointing setbacks in your language journeys, just know it’s never too late to pick it back up again. And if things aren’t going according to your plan, make a new plan! I’m already brainstorming my new one. The journey doesn’t have to stop just because someone said ‘no’. I have grown really passionate about language learning and my goals of learning my chosen languages and actually using them will definitely come to fruition.
Happy learning, everyone.