Thursday, March 17, 2011

Getting Rejected, Round 2

So, the latest turn of events hasn't exactly been the best. I was rejected to Calarts character animation for the second year in a row yesterday, and well I have a lot to say about it so I'm just going to say it all.

For those that aren't aware, yesterday was my 19th birthday, and in Canada that's a pretty big deal because that's when you are a legal adult and can drink and all of that. So I was pretty excited about it. I had plans to go out with some friends after class and get our drink on as soon as possible. We stopped by residence so I could drop off my stuff, and as we were leaving I checked my mail out of pure habit. I don't like not knowing whether my mailbox is empty or not, but I really did not expect to get a letter yesterday of all days. And so of course, I got it yesterday. I peered into my mailbox and was surprised to see a white envelope from behind the tiny little window. I didn't actually know what I felt next, but I remember thinking "oh god oh god oh god" kind of like I do when the rollar coaster slowly goes up the first hill (I hate rollar coasters) and not actually believing that it could be it. I quickly hoped it was from my bank or something, but I could see the neon orange letters that said calarts on the envelope right away and my heart sank. I quickly ripped it open, read the first line, and stuffed it back into my purse.
Then I headed out with my friends to the pub across the street and spent the next few hours downing a couple pitchers of beer and excusing myself to go to the bathroom very often so I could look at my letter, cry a little bit, and come back out. But I was quickly taken by the beer as I had had nothing to eat that morning because I forgot to set my alarm and woke up 10 minutes after my class had started. After sitting in the pub for a few hours, we left, took a pit stop at the grocery store so I could down a large toblerone, and then decided to walk to the liquor store and get "supplies," and besides I wanted my rite of passage. That's when I finally managed to admit to my friends I had gotten my letter. So that happened and we came back to my place to watch movies and hang out and use our "supplies" copiously. I don't honestly remember much of that part of the day, and then around 9 I went back to the pub across the street with more friends (another rite of passage, as people underage are not allowed in after 9) to eat nachos, play pool, and have a few more drinks. Afterwards I bought a large bucket of ice cream and came home to get on my computer and do a little damage control, i.e. talking to people to make myself feel slightly better.
So basically, I tried to forget about the bad news of the day in the best way possible on your 19th birthday in Canada, and it worked for the most part I suppose. But still, it was not a pretty sight. I have always imagined if I would hear from Calarts on my birthday, seeing as it falls in the middle of the month they send out letters. It was my dream come true to be accepted on that day (honestly, what could be better) and my worst nightmare that I would be rejected on that day.
Last year when the news reached me I accepted it silently and got on with my life, but this year is going to be a lot harder. I think the worst part is that I really felt capable of it this year, and I worked my ass off on that portfolio. I had a lot of people tell me it was good work, and my chances of being accepted were good. And most of all, when I compared it to other accepted portfolios I'd seen, I felt fairly confident. My work spoke of me well, and I thought I had a decent grasp on structure as well as expression, which was my main goal. I really thought it could happen, and I've been fantasizing about being at calarts all year long. So I guess reality is a bit harsh.
It's hard sometimes, seeing everyone else you know from high school go on to college and university easily. They all got accepted, went to school, and are studiously working towards their degrees. I want so much to be like that, to be working my way forward, but my direction is all zig-zagged and kind of fucked up. This is the only school I've ever really seen myself at, because I know it can squeeze the most out of me, and it's frustrating to know that I'm not ready, or even to know that I feel ready, but the portfolio reviewers don't agree. And when I think about it, there are so many other fields I could have pursued with my life and been successful at it. Many other animation programs, art programs, art schools, or even universities have and would have accepted me. I could be great at any one of them. I'm hard working, good with facts, and determined to do my best. I could have been a scientest or a lawyer or some shit like that if I had wanted...I could have done anything! But no, I chose the only thing I suck at (besides maybe physics...I really don't get physics at all) Dedicating yourself to the thing which is the biggest struggle is a huge commitment, and it is always my biggest fear I will regret it one day. I don't wish to regret pursuing my dreams and passion.

I'm really sore from yesterday and my restless sleep last night, but there's no use wasting time, I'm setting up a new game plan as of right now. Even though it hurts me deeply, and I'm so depressed and so sad it didn't work out again. It's humiliating to be in there, involved and showing your work to people, to being a part of things and for people to even expect you to get in and you get shot down. I'm always so embarrassed when I think I can but I cannot. Like when you raise your hand in class to answer a question and you get it wrong. I stopped raising my hand a long time ago, but I thought it would be worth it for this.
Anyways, the game plan.
Well first of all I am going to wait to hear back from the other two schools I applied to, which were Sheridan and Laguna. Sheridan should tell me probably within the next two or three weeks at the latest, so it won't be a long wait. I'm not sure about Laguna. I sent them my portfolio a few weeks ago, but I don't really know how long they take to get back to you, or even if they have received it yet. I don't really care much though, I don't have a strong desire to go there. If I am accepted to Sheridan, I will probably decide to attend seeing as it is a good school and affordable as well. Laguna, well, I guess it's good to have options. However, due to my latest set back I don't have that much confidence in my work. There were over 1000 applications to sheridan and only 120 spots. So when you think about it, to get in you have to be better than 900 other people, which is a lot. I certainly don't feel more skilled than 900 other people.
If I am not accepted to either school of my choice, I will return to the USA. I know I could take another year to continue my foundational studies at Sheridan, but I'm tired of throwing money at anything but a degree worth having. It's too expensive to keep doing this. This year has been amazing and very, very helpful. I learned so many things I feel give me all the tools I need to be an accomplished artist. I'm grateful, but enough is enough.
Anyways, this potential return is riddled with a lot of possibilities. Number 1, I go back to live with my father in Colorado, work a minimum wage job somewhere, and put together a new portfolio. Number 2, I go back to live with my mother in South Carolina, although I don't think that would be the best option because there are no life drawing venues where she is moving to. Although she is getting a puppy, so it's a tempting idea. Number 3 is just an idea, and I haven't brought it up with anyone nor would I know whether or not its ok, but I would like to move to the LA area. I have an Uncle out there who has a nice, mostless empty house that his two teenagers have vacated and gone off to college from, and I think I could get a job, pay a small rent fee, and have a lot of life drawing options, as well as the closeness of calarts to help me. I mean, I've made a few friends out there over all the years of being involved in the forums with all the applicants who eventually made it in, and more than one have offered to give me whatever help I need. A very kind gesture of them, and I wouldn't mind taking up their offer. I'd need to clear this with my family obviously, and it would be tough to move to a new city where I don't know anyone or have any friends, but I think if I had a job I could make it by.
Besides, I am vowing from here on out my new best friends are pencils and paper and nothing else. I can't keep getting so distracted by my social interactions with other people. When I hear about all the most successful artists, they did nothing but draw, all the time, 24/7. And I feel ashamed in knowing that I do not do that. How can I expect to be great without putting the work in? I need to buckle down, focus, and breath in drawing on a constant basis. Living in a new, art-focused city full of strangers would probably help.
Anyways, those are my options and we will see how they play out. I'm really, really bummed calarts is still unattainable to me. I know it's just a school, but really, the acceptance would have meant a lot. I have come so far from last year, but it still falls short, and that's a hard reality to face. :(


  1. Awe Meri :( *hugs* You're strong and mature for a 19 year old and i'm sorry your birthday ended up that way... life forces you to learn your lessons in shitty ways and if anything you can see this as another way to push yourself harder. You're still young and have the versatility to go where you want to go, do what you want to do. And you're definitely not lacking in skill.. even if they think you're not good enough, i'm sure persistence and hardwork will be your winning key in the end

    - Melissa. C

  2. I need to write you a LONG reply, but I am supposed to be in class. Remind me asap!

    - puddle (Amanda)