In the Beginning

It begins with rejection…

Clearly, this was not part of The Plan.

This time last year I was convinced that this was my year. I was guaranteed a spot in the doctoral program of my choosing. I had put in the countless lab hours, slaved over publications, meticulously studied for each class to earn my A’s, and already gone through this process once. I was more refined. I knew what I had to do. I retook the GRE, rewrote my statement of purpose, and carefully selected schools with professors that matched my research interests. I maintained internships in clinical settings and worked in the field. I saved and saved, hoping to make the interview rounds and show the schools just how much I had to offer and charm them into an acceptance letter. I was going to do it. By the laws of probability and pragmatic reasoning, there was no way it couldn’t happen.

You’d think after growing up in Las Vegas, I would realize that there’s no such thing as a sure thing.

So there I sat, hysterically crying into my pile of rejection letters, not sure what to make of this debacle. This did not compute. I’d been through this process twice. I had no funds left to commit to applications, and no will to endure another blanket statement about how, “There were just so many good candidates and not enough placements.”

I had spent the past two years of my life dedicated to the application process. My bank account was overdrawn from application fees and plane tickets to interview weekends. My job had hired my replacement anticipating me leaving for graduate school. I was screwed.

So I did what any other post-grad lacking direction would do.

I booked a flight to Nicaragua to meet up with professional surfer Holly Beck in the hopes of finding inspiration.

Okay, so it might not be what any other post-grad would do. But it sounded better than binge drinking down at The Freaking Frog.

I leave in 13 days to board down Nicaragua’s most active volcano, watch sea turtles hatch, and catch some waves with a surfing legend.

I could not be more excited or terrified.

14 Comments

  • Reply

    Alexa

    July 9, 2011

    Oh Hilary, I love this blog! You are so inspirational. I hope you find the insight you are looking for. I am right with you girl. I wish I had the courage to travel the world like you. Enjoy yourself down there. You will be successful,and find fulfillment in life….look at you, you are definitely on your way to discovering something new.

  • Reply

    Ms. Gina Johnson

    July 10, 2011

    Love what I read so far- can’t wait to see what happens next!- Love ya- Ms. J- and fellow writer

  • Reply

    Top Knotch Gear

    January 17, 2012

    LOVE IT! Your ambition is awesome! Can’t wait to read more of your blog!!

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      January 17, 2012

      Thank you so much, September and Morgan! I greatly appreciate your support and enthusiasm!

      I can’t wait to see how you both enjoy traveling in your upcoming excursion. Please stay in touch! =)

  • Reply

    Bob Depot

    February 14, 2012

    Hi Hilary,
    Thanks for stopping in.
    I tried to click “Like” button – don’t know if it worked. I would like to post a feed to your blog from mine. Positive Las Vegas News.
    Thanks
    Bob Depot

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      February 14, 2012

      Hi Bob,

      You’re very welcome! I enjoy your blog. Sometimes those like buttons can be tricky. I appreciate you taking the time to comment!

      You’ll have to forgive me, I am a little unfamiliar with all the technological terminology. What does it mean to post a feed to my blog?

      Hope you’re well!

      All the best,
      HB

  • Reply

    Stormy

    April 4, 2012

    The things you have seen and done since June 27 :) Its been an amazing start.

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 4, 2012

      =) Who knew, right? Life continues to baffle me.

      What was one of the craziest risks you’ve taken?

  • Reply

    April 19, 2012

    Well Hilary, Thanks for stopping by my blog. I thought I’d stop by yours as well, and no better place to start than at the beginning. If you get back to Sydney feel free to get in touch if you’d like to swap travel stories and get some ideas for what to do in Sydney.

    Cheers,
    Adam

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      April 21, 2012

      You’re very welcome, Adam!

      And that would be great! I would love to meet up!

      Hope we get the chance to catch up soon!

      All the best,
      HB

  • Reply

    […] I immediately log into my account and take to my blog archives to view that fateful first post I wrote last summer. Well I’ll be damned… There it is: the official confirmation. […]

  • Reply

    Kelseyann

    August 27, 2012

    Hey Hilary! Thanks for stoppnig by my blog – I ran across your link to this post and I realize that as a psychology student now, this is the fate im so very much afraid of in the near future. But, it’s great to see how far and what you did with that rejection.
    -Kelsey

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      August 27, 2012

      Hi Kelsey!

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

      Don’t be afraid! We all end up where we are supposed to be. I have many friends who are very happy in a graduate degree program and I have many others who are very happy pursuing other dreams after college. The cool thing about psych is that it ALWAYS applies, even if you don’t get a job in it. I’ve been able to call on all of my training to better relate/communicate, as well as better understand myself and develop coping skills to assist in travels.

      Please let me know if I can help at all. I know I’m not the ‘model’ student, since I’m not currently in a PhD program, but I’m happy to support/help where I can!

      Lots of love and luck to you!

  • Reply

    […] remember that every ‘No’ is one answer closer to that ‘Yes’. (Remember when I got horrifically rejected from graduate school? Talk about a life-changing […]

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About Me

About Me

Hey fellow adventurers, my name is Hilary! After being rejected from grad school, I took off on a solo journey around the world. Now I constantly challenge myself to take on new experiences. This blog documents my journeys from Europe to Fiji, swimming with sharks and living with tribes, to becoming an accidental beauty queen and working for one of the top national media outlets. If you like what you're reading, please subscribe! Here's to the next great adventure!

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