Dear Jenna Tamimi,
I regret to inform you that after evaluating a very strong admission cohort, the Faculty Committee on Admissions is unable to offer you admission to the Ph.D. program in Theatre.
I know that this is unpleasant news. Unfortunately, we must necessarily base our decisions on materials that reduce unique and complex individuals to the components of their dossier. Nevertheless, I can assure you that your application received the most careful consideration and that the committee’s decision was taken after much deliberation.
I wish you success in your future career, and thank you for having given us the opportunity to consider you for admission to Columbia.
Carlos J. Alonso
I’m sorry not to have written you sooner. We had an exceptionally strong pool of applicants this year, and both the candidates to whom we offered admission accepted. I only wish we could have taken more students!
Perhaps it is the theater person in me, but I feel rejection has molded me. It is a part of me, and while is can be painful; it does not have to be completely negative. I think of all the unanswered emails I wrote to my distant father. His refusal to speak to me has strengthened my determination to live my life honestly and for myself. I think of my undergraduate theater program’s rejection of my directing proposal and opinion of me as a “feminist kill joy” and how that motivated me to successfully direct and produce feminist plays off campus. I think of the unfortunate knack I had for falling in love with, and in turn being rejected by, the most emotionally unavailable dykes. But, had I not felt that heaviness in my heart, eaten my body weight in ice cream, and cried on the bathroom floor, I don’t think poetry would mean as much and I don’t think I could really hear the beautiful pain in Patsy Cline’s voice when she sings “Crazy” or know the sweetness of the love I am fortunate enough to have today.
Yesterday while talking to one of my best friends about rejection, her words of encouragement were simple, “Well Jenna, you have always done best when you have a force to work against you”. She’s right.