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Choking on rejection, coughing up resolve.

From the month of December to the middle of March, my brother and I were busy creating artwork to submit in our portfolio for a summer intensive program. While he took it nonchalantly, getting distracted by anything and everything, working only when someone told him, I took it very seriously wanting with all my heart to be accepted into the program. I showed my artwork to my art teacher, a very strict, yet kind woman who was even offered a place to work at this summer camp. She gave some pointers, saying that if I took them, she was confident that I would be assured a place in the program.

During the seemingly endless month of March, I was juggling rehearsal for my dance recital, writing essays, filling out applications, and going to interviews for high school magnets, working on these pieces of artwork, and, of course, still trying to maintain my grades. Despite all of this, I put my hardest effort into making my art the best that I possibly could. It consumed me for hours, but I didn't care, as long as I got a place in the program.

After finally finishing my pieces and going to the audition for the summer camp, I felt very confident that I would get in. Yesterday, exactly two weeks from that day, I found a letter in the mail from our school district, addressed to the parents of my younger brother. My mom opened it excitedly and we both shrieked with joy when we saw that my brother had gotten into the program, despite his trivial approach to the task.

My heart sank after that, however, realizing that the program had sent out the acceptance letters first and the rejection letters would soon be coming in the mail. I stifled a sob, excusing myself to my room to let the angry, frustrated tears come out.

To calm myself and attempt to rid myself of my increasingly menacing mood, I found my old sketchbook, ready to rip the pages out of it thinking that if I couldn't get into a dumb art program that my brother could, I must not be worth anything at all. Instead, I started flipping through it, looking at how much better my art had gotten over the years. I was hypnotized by how the colors and lines seemed to jump off the pages and enter my mind, instilling a facade of wonderously vivid beauty and tranquility.

Thinking rationally again, I realized that it was the programs' loss that they hadn't accepted me. If they didn't want a hard working young artist amidst them, it was their choice and their problem, not mine. A steely wall of resolve built up all that had crumbled, revitalizing my courage and composure. I realized that you have to get past all the setbacks to live a happy life, not consumed by hatred and guilt. I realized that any hard work was not a waste, even the hours that I spent painting, sketching, and coloring were not a waste because they had showed me my full potential. They showed me what I was capable of and what I could do if I set my mind to it. And although my guilt at rejection almost overcame me in the end, one spark of resolve started a fire to keep me going, reassuring me throughout everything I did from then on out.
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