...conquering the feeling of rejection.

"My proudest moment is conquering the feeling of rejection and realizing I am so much more than what a piece of paper tells me.

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education with an endorsement in Communication Disorders from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in May 2016. In that final semester before graduating, I had applied to a total of 10 graduate schools to pursue my master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology, and by graduation day, I had been waitlisted for one school and the rest had responded with no’s. I was banking on that one school to tell me they had a spot for me, and I had been accepted. Unfortunately, that time never came. Because of this, I was at a standstill; what was next for me? All of my classmates that were in my graduating class had been accepted and were moving on to graduate school. Me? I didn’t have a next step planned. Eventually, I decided to start working in the schools as a classroom assistant hoping that it would make my resume look better since my GPA and GRE scores weren’t as high compared to other applicants.

Year two comes around and the application process begins again. 10 more graduate schools, 10 more rejections. 20 schools total told me no, and I had never felt more lost and unsure of my purpose. I really struggled because I didn’t know where my happiness was. I didn’t know what I could change to make the situation better for myself. I grew bitter, angry, and even more sad because I saw my friends getting married, having families, getting their degrees, and I didn’t see myself getting to those same milestones. I didn’t know how to admit I was struggling, but my mom knew. If it weren’t for me finally deciding to take care of myself by getting healthy and a conversation with my mom that ultimately made me realize how much I had lost myself during those two years, I would have never asked myself, when was I truly happy during my undergraduate career? What else can be an option for me, if working towards being a speech language pathologist is no longer my end goal? And then it all clicked; American Sign Language (ASL). When I was taking ASL, I was happy. I enjoyed being in the community and I knew that I needed to do something with the Deaf whether that was working with the Deaf community or teaching students.

They always say third times a charm for a reason. I applied to the University of Utah in hopes to pursue a master’s degree in special education with a certification and license in Deaf Education. Yes, the idea of moving away from all that I knew in Nebraska was absolutely terrifying, but my heart needed a change. It was the 21st graduate program that I applied to and I am proud to say it was the last. March 2018 came, and I received an email stating that I had been accepted to the University of Utah’s master’s program. Over the course of two years, 20 no’s, and one yes, I am SO proud of where I am today. I am so incredibly grateful that my program believed in me and saw that I could offer so much more than what a piece of paper told them. I am proud to say that I have 7 months of my program left before I graduate. Sure, I survive off of energy drinks and question why I did this to myself more often than I’d like to admit, but then I think about how hard I worked to get here. Come May 2020, it will all be worth it." - Katy

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