Oh Hope thou art treacherous

I didn’t want to write this because I didn’t want to jinx anything, but today is graduation day at SNU, and having graduated from the Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS), as a proud holder of an MA, just a year ago, I can’t help but assess how much I have changed (or, sadly enough, unchanged) since then.

Having had yet another (!) rejection this morning, it is truly a miracle, I find, that I can get up from my bed  at all, come to work and type away my miseries. Geez, re-reading this makes me want to kill myself…

Having had yet another (!) rejection from a grad school this morning (I’ve lost count now), I think it is fair and about time to assume that a Ph. D degree and going to the States won’t be part of my near future. Yet while most of my brain tells me that, there is this tiny and thin thread of hope that I desperately cling on to, a hope that will linger on as long as the remaining five schools don’t deliver the fatal (or redeeming?) verdict. And so, yes, I cannot yet make myself  look for a ‘real job’ thoroughly enough right now, for, what if I found the perfect job, applied for it, got it (because doh? Of course my resume is brilliant and I will ace the interview), and then, suddenly, Oh Behold, Harvard offers me a fully-funded Ph. D position? Well now, I would have to let down the people who made the wise decision of hiring the awesome person that I am. Oh the disappointment they will have! I’ve had enough disappointment in my life, I don’t want to be the one to bestow it on others. 

Yes, call me crazy and delusional, but that is roughly what has been going through my head for the past couple of weeks. I will probably regret not having made extra effort to find a job a few weeks from now, but that’s the thing with hope, isn’t it? You can’t just make it go away, no matter how much you try to reason with yourself. It lingers there, it hops here and about, taunts you, hands you water to your thirsty and starched soul, only to take it away when you finally gather up the courage to accept what you know is poison for your mind.

Oh Hope thou art treacherous

It’s like when I was a kid, I knew in my head that I had screwed up an exam, I checked, with my very own eyes that what I had written in my paper was not the correct answer to the question. Yet I hoped with all my heart, for the following few days, that somehow, history had changed and suddenly, yes, the First World War had indeed started in 1916, or that a guardian angel had corrected the + sign in my Math paper to the correct – sign. But the day finally came when the teacher would hand out back our exam, and hope scurried along to haunt another kid while sticking its tongue out for a last chance of mockery, and I had to face the red pen marks of my teacher and the bad grade it ensued.

This tormenting relationship continues to this day, and to this day, I cannot, will not, learn my lesson. Because just when I’m about to give up, it suddenly offers its generous hand and rejoices at my relieved shout ‘Yes! There IS hope!’, only to snort at my naivety once more. Hope is sometimes overly exaggerated. Sure, it’s what makes us go on day after day, year after year, but at what cost? At the cost of seeing your imaginary world, which you carefully built day after day, shatter into a thousand pieces with a simple rejection letter, a phone call, a click at your keyboard, a message, and so on.

Oh Hope, you are mean and misguiding…


today again, I hope.

I hope that one school will open its doors for me.

I hope that I will get a great job.

I hope that I will finally move out from my parents’ house.

I hope that I will make enough money to take a trip once a year.

I hope that I will meet my Chandler and live happily ever after.

Yes! We’re bound to achieve our dream, whatever that may be, sooner or later!


4 thoughts on “Oh Hope thou art treacherous

  1. quokka says:

    I have been looking for reviews and opinions about SNU GSIS and that’s how I found your blog 🙂
    I got really kind of discouraged when I read this post about you not being accepted into any PhD programs in the States after a master’s from SNU GSIS. Because that is exactly what I want to do… May I ask what you studied at GSIS? I would like to do Korean Studies, and actually the reason why I chose this program (besides SNU being the best uni in Korea) is that the classes are conducted in Korean at the Korean Studies major. Do you know people who attended the Korean studies major? What have you heard about this major? Did people like it/were they satisfied with it? Are there good professor? I’m a little desperate because Korean Studies is really what I want to do but I can’t find schools where classes are conducted in Korean.. I don’t want to go to Korea and study in English to be honest. My other choice(s) are HUFS and maybe Ewha… And I would like to continue my studies at a PhD program, preferably in the States, but judging from your experience it doesn’t seem too easy 😦

    • Hi there 🙂 thx for visiting my blog. First of all, let me reassure you that I did get into a program in the States, not a PhD one, but well, still. And also, I don’t think that having an MA at SNU GSIS is a guarantee that will get u into a good PhD program, but nor is it a hindrance. I think it all depends on what you do at where you are. I personally studied International Cooperation and applied for a PoliSci phd, but the competition is really high in that major in the US. Like they will only choose 10 students among a pool of 300 and more candidates every year.
      Yes, the classes for Korean major are conducted in Korean at SNU GSIS, and as far as Korean Studies go, I guess this is the best you can find in Korea. They don’t have that many professors, numberwise, but the ones that are there are very good and they also have some good lecturers, I heard. I don’t know where your focus is, if it’s in Korean Modern History or Korean Society, but either way, they have good professors in both areas. I think most of the Korean Studies major are satisfied with the program, mainly because there is quite a small number of students admitted every semester, so they are tight as a group and the professors can be more focused on each student. Also, since Korean Studies is still a major that is ‘not as popular’ in the States (let’s put it that way), or in which people are still a bit afraid to venture in, I think that you will have much better chances than me of getting into a PhD program in the US, especially with good recommendation letters from the professors in Korean Studies at SNU GSIS. I hope I was of little help in deciding your future studies plan. If you have any other question, I’ll be happy to answer you if I can, you can reach me at seulgieclim@gmail.com. Cheers!

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