March 16th, 2011

From waiting to winning: A word for those in limbo

Today is the five year anniversary of something that happened to me that most would probably choose to forget about.

Despite assurances from everyone that I would be accepted to library school without a problem, I was not.

I was waitlisted.

My guess is there are others out there now who have recently received similar news and are feeling like this:

I’m not sure if the line of “You should know that this was a very competitive year for us as we received applications from many strong candidates. This has made our decisions particularly difficult.” is standard academia for ‘you suck, but not that much’ or not.

I floundered around. I emailed a professor who wrote me a recommendation, who responded:

Let that ego take a rest; indeed, it hurts a bit; but you are 1st class all the way!! And it is NOT where you start in the year/core group, rather it is how you perform and where you finish.

I was in a confusing limbo for a month and a half with no news at all, then the announcement that it was likely I would not move off the waitlist to acceptance. My state doesn’t have a single other library school I could have applied to as an alternative.

That time in life really, really, really sucked. I doubted my intelligence, my sanity, my reasons for wanting to study librarianship, daring to envision a career change, everything. One librarian strongly encouraged me not to give up and for that I am very grateful because I almost did.

Someone else sent me a card.

I beg you… to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. and the point is, to live everything. live the questions now. perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer… – rainier maria rilke

Live the questions now.

If your personal vision and intention for study is clear but the path given to you is not, hold on tighter and welcome  possibilities to open up for you that couldn’t even imagine before.

Mine included distance learning, a phenomenal advisor and mentor, an intense focus in health informatics, an internship where there were previously none, a degree the following year, a temporary then permanent part time job in an area of librarianship I wasn’t even thinking about entering, then a full time job there.

Live the questions now.

If you had told me on this day five years ago that I would not only have my degree and career change several years behind me, but create a distance learning continuing education class then teach other librarians across the United States (and Canada) about electronic health records (really) I would have thought you were totally insane.

don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them.

I don’t know the answer for why I was waitlisted then declined five years ago. I never will. For a time I let that define me as a failure.

However, I now know that I have lived my way into another answer I didn’t think was possible. I love both teaching and networking with the medical and other librarian communities to better connect everyone. This is what I’m supposed to be doing. When I explain what I do (not an easy task when my organization’s name alone is so long) others have usually commented that I seem really excited about it. I hope I never lose that passion and can always encourage others to hold on to theirs despite current economic times being really tough with fewer & fewer jobs available. Despite that,

If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived? Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen FOR you, TO you and BECAUSE of you.
T. Alan Armstrong



Posted at 07 38 AM | 3 Comments » | print this post

3 Responses to “From waiting to winning: A word for those in limbo”

  1. Amy says:

    <3 eagledawg! congrats (I suppose not on the anniversary per say, but on your inspiring journey since then)!!

  2. Shane says:

    YOU ARE A ROCK STAR…..and ps I STILL love this website……

  3. Dee says:

    What a fantastic post. This is a keeper!

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