Apply to Grad School, Again?

I applied to the advanced short story course at UCLA Extension and did not get in. My mentor said, “Congratulations! You’re a writer. You need to have rejections.” There are many of these before the acceptances come. I am deciding whether or not to apply to grad schools again for next fall. This time, I will cross Cornell off the list (acceptance rate of 4 out of about 700+ students is not worth the application fee the second time around). I will also nix Columbia, NYU, Syracuse, and Sarah Lawrence, which would put me into deeper debt than I care to contemplate. I will apply again to Hunter and The New School. I will also look into schools in southern California. I am contemplating low-residency programs. I have a lot of research ahead, I think. Having done it once makes it a little easier – this time around I will not have to take the GRE, for example. However, I think I need a new personal statement. Definitely not looking forward to writing that. Do I know myself and what I want any better than I did a year ago? I think I knew myself and my goals well enough. Can I explain it any better now? I would like to think a year of writing has ceded improvement.
I was also rejected last week from an editorial job I applied to for a little paper in the Palisades. The editor was encouraging in his rejection, wishing me luck and telling me I was building an excellent resume. However, he only had one spot and it went to an L.A. Times veteran of 17 years. Knowing that this is what I’m up against makes rejection easier. Marginally.
            On the bright side, I wrote the first few pages of my novel today!!

Let the Novel Begin

            I have left C. I am sorry that it did not turn out as I had hoped, but now the way is open for new things. I am taking a program through Landmark Education called the Self-Expression and Leadership Program (SELP), and I am writing a draft of my first novel.
            When I was in the Greek system in college, I saw a lot of amazing things happen. I gained some incredible experiences and friendships by being in a sorority. I also saw a lot of really negative things happen. In line with my belief that fiction can affect people, I am writing the novel about a sorority girl with the idea that women who read it will be encouraged to think about how they treat each other. I hope to inspire questions: How do I treat my sisters? How can I create change? How can we empower each other? My goal: true sisterhood.
            As a part of this project, I will be conducting interviews over the next couple of weeks to find out how other people experienced Greek life. I will be asking my interviewees to conduct their own interviews, and it is my intention that through communication, we will spread awareness.
            The seminar ends December 6, so that means I have about 3 months to write this novel. Today, character sketches. So far I have a villain, a heroine, and a victim. Tomorrow, plotting. By next week, I will be writing 3-4 pages per day. This concept scares me, but as my seminar leader told me, even if I only write half, that’s half more than I have now!