Rejection and What Comes After

When Damione Macedonia and Raphael Jackson, who serve as producers and writers for the show Power on Starz, came to SVU to talk to us, I expected to learn about screenwriting and producing and the television world. I did not expect to learn about rejection and how to handle it. 

As my graduation date grows closer, I have been applying to several different graduate schools all over the country. My number one choice is the University of Iowa, where I hope to attend their Writer’s Workshop, a creative writing program. This particular university is extremely exclusive and only lets 50 people in each semester. This is slightly daunting, especially to someone with anxiety. 

I got the chance to talk to Damione and Raphael after the discussion and asked them if they had any advice for someone struggling with the worry that comes with potential rejection. Damione said something that has really stuck with me. “No does not mean no. It just means not right now.” 

This quote is something that I think everyone should hold onto for the entirety of their lives and careers. No is not always a rejection and it shouldn’t feel like one. It might just mean you need to wait a bit until you’re ready for the opportunity, whether it be an internship, career, or graduate school. I have not submitted my applications yet, but I know that whatever the answer will be, I will be ready for it because I am confident in my ability as a writer. Not getting in to my dream school would be painful and all sorts of painful, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t try again next year and the year after that. 

Being passionate about something does not mean that it will come easy to you. It simply means that you have the strength to keep going. 

Signed, 

Your favorite bookworm 

The Girl Behind The Blog

Welp. 

I suppose introductions are a thing that must occur. First of all, hi, my name is Molly. I’m 21 years old and I am currently a senior in college. I am majoring in English and Psychology with a minor in Creative Writing. Here are ten random facts about me: 

1. I used to have a pet squirrel. Sadly, he passed away. 

2. My favorite color is mint. Also, rose gold. 

3. I want to be an author with every fiber of my being. 

4. I am married to a wonderful man named Brendan. Our dating, engagement, and marriage anniversary are all on September 6. 

5. My puppy’s name is Poe, as in Edgar Allen, not the panda from Kung Fu Panda. 

6. I also have a cat named Tigger. He likes to sit on bouncy chairs and stare at the world around him passively. He also likes to hide on top of the fridge. 

7. My favorite author is Victoria Schwabb. I have a signed book of hers and it makes me cry with joy every time I look at it. 

8. Clowns freak me out. Don’t even talk try to talk to me about It. I’ll scream. 

9. I am very much in love with mythology, particularly Greek and Roman. 

10. I suffer from anxiety and social situations make me very uncomfortable. While anxiety is a miserable thing to have, I have learned a lot from it. However, don’t ask me to speak in public. I’ll cry. 

And that’s me! Thanks for reading ❤

Edit

Adapting

For our first session of “Writing for the Mass Media,” we got to meet Angela Torma, as well as several other crew members working with NFL films. The Q&A was extremely interesting and informative, which was surprising to me because I am not particularly interested in sports. However, the session made me realize that writing and editing are things I am passionate about, even if they are related to subjects I am not entirely familiar with. 

After watching Angela’s new segment of  Unlikely Champions, Jeff Benedict and Angela began to tell us stories about the three individuals featured in the show. Jeff started talking about Kyle Van Noy, a football player with the New England Patriots who was a crucial part of their win during the Super Bowl. He described Kyle as “really honest,” something that stuck with me throughout the following days. He explained that he was open and sincere about his mistakes and his past, as well as confronting his decisions candidly. 

This description of Kyle reminded me of a quote from Riverdale, one of my favorite television shows. Fred Andrews tells his son, Archie, “These decisions that you’re making now, son, they have consequences. They go on to form who you are and who you’ll become. Whatever you decide, be confident enough in it that you don’t have to lie.” This quote is basically saying what Kyle Van Noy already demonstrated— that you should be confident in your choices to the point of not having to make excuses for them. I think honesty is a huge part of integrity. Even if you make mistakes, be confident that you’ve overcome them and that you know you’re making better decisions in the present. 

Another aspect of the interview that hit me particularly hard comes from Angela as she was discussing the difficulties that come with filming. She said that, “You’ve got to be able to adjust.” Adapting is part of life, especially as you get into careers and monumental life decisions. Things are not always going to go your way and, as Angela pointed out, sometimes what you end up with is better than what you had when you started. Life is complicated and it will result in plans changing and situations going astray. This does not mean that all hope is lost. It just means that a few adjustments need to be made. 

Overall, the session taught me several things about life in general. I thoroughly enjoyed Angela’s presentation, as well as the stories from the other crew members about their backgrounds and career with NFL Films. I look forward to seeing more of their work in the future. 

The Potter Project: The Chamber of Secrets (Book 2)

Image result for harry potter chamber of secrets book cover

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second book in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Honestly, this was my least favorite novel of the group, but that more than likely has to do with my fear of anything that can slither and the giant snake that the book centers around. However, I did enjoy it, as I do all of the Harry Potter books.

In regards to psychology, the most prevalent aspect in this book is the idea of discrimination and prejudice. Throughout the novel, we see certain characters who condemn and mistreat those termed Mudbloods, which refers to a witch or wizard whose parents lack magical abilities. Hermione Granger, for example, was considered a Mudblood.

In chapter 7, we see an encounter between the Quiddich teams of Slytherin and Gryffindor. There has been a dispute over who has rights to the field for practice. As Oliver Wood, the captain of the Gryffindor team, attempts to get the field back, we find out that the Slytherin team has a new Seeker, none other than Draco Malfoy. We then see the following exchange:

“At least no one on the Gryffindor team had to buy their way in,” said Hermione sharply. “They got in on pure talent.”

The smug look on Malfoy’s face flickered.

“No one asked your opinion, you filthy little Mudblood,” he spat.

Harry knew at once that Malfoy had said something really bad because there was an instant uproar at his words. Flint had to dive in front of Malfoy to stop Fred and George jumping on him, Alicia shrieked, “How dare you!”, and Ron plunged his hand into his robes, pulled out his wand, yelling, “You’ll pay for that one, Malfoy!” and pointed it furiously under Flint’s arm at Malfoy’s face.

We can clearly see that Harry has never heard the term before and is confused by the reaction, though he realizes immediately that it was something awful. I think we can attribute this to his childhood and environment. While everyone else on the field was born to wizarding families with a knowledge of magic from the start, Harry was completely out of the loop until Hagrid entered his life on his 11th birthday and told him everything the Dursleys had been keeping from him.

Harry hadn’t even heard the word wizard, much less a derogatory term for wizards with so-called “filthy” background. Alicia, Ron, Malfoy, etc., had all grown up in a culture where they heard the terminology for wizards and witches and they had all experienced discrimination within their community. If they didn’t fit the role of either bully or bullied, they were still sure to hear about or observe such prejudice.

We see this idea even more a few pages later when Harry, Ron, and Hermione go to Hagrid’s hut to get help after Ron inadvertently casts a spell on himself.

“Malfoy called Hermione something — it must’ve been really bad, because everyone went wild.”

“It was bad,” said Ron hoarsely, emerging over the tabletop looking pale and sweaty. “Malfoy called her ‘Mudblood,’ Hagrid —” Ron dived out of sight again as a fresh wave of slugs made their appearance. Hagrid looked outraged.

“He didn’!” he growled at Hermione.

“He did,” she said. “But I don’t know what it means. I could tell it was really rude, of course —”

“It’s about the most insulting thing he could think of,” gasped Ron, coming back up. “Mudblood’s a really foul name for someone who is Muggle-born — you know, non-magic parents. There are some wizards — like Malfoy’s family — who think they’re better than everyone else because they’re what people call pure-blood.” He gave a small burp, and a single slug fell into his outstretched hand. He threw it into the basin and continued, “I mean, the rest of us know it doesn’t make any difference at all. Look at Neville Longbottom — he’s pure-blood and he can hardly stand a cauldron the right way up.”

“An’ they haven’t invented a spell our Hermione can’ do,” said Hagrid proudly, making Hermione go a brilliant shade of magenta.

“It’s a disgusting thing to call someone,” said Ron, wiping his sweaty brow with a shaking hand. “Dirty blood, see. Common blood. It’s ridiculous. Most wizards these days are half-blood anyway. If we hadn’t married Muggles we’d’ve died out.”

As shown above, Hermione also was not aware of the term Mudblood and what it meant. Our theory of culture influencing beliefs is proven yet again since Hermione also grew up in a home without wizardry for the most part. Her parents were Muggles, so they couldn’t share the culture of the wizarding world with Hermione. She simply had to figure it out on her own once she came to Hogwarts.

Going back to the book in general, the premise is that something sinister is happening at Hogwarts. People are becoming petrified and no one knows why. Harry and his friends get involved once people begin to get hurt. They start investigating and trying to find answers as more questions appear and more lives are at stake, including Ron’s younger sister, Ginny. We see the personalities of Harry, Ron, and Hermione really start to shine through as we watch them make sacrifices to save Ginny, Hagrid, and Hogwarts.

For example, it was already a well-known fact that Hermione is extremely intelligent. However, we get to see her solve a mystery with little to no information, not to mention put herself in danger to tell her friends what she found. She allows herself to get petrified so that Ron and Harry can have the information they need.

Another character that really expands his role is Hagrid. He gains much more depth and characterization, showing that he is much more than simply an animal-loving half-giant. He has a rich backstory that truly shows his caring nature and morality. He is unwilling to accept anyone placing the blame on innocent creatures, especially when he sees them as his friends, like Aragog.

All in all, this novel truly showed some depth and psychological ideals. I really enjoyed rereading it and it gave me a new outlook on why people do not see prejudice and discrimination the same way.

The Potter Project: The Sorcerer’s Stone (Film 1)

 

While extremely similar to the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone shows us how film can truly illuminate some of the more social aspects of psychology. In particular, it shows up the depth of relationships in the series.

For instance, Harry’s relationship with the Dursley family. We already knew they treated him terribly, but the movie shows us the effect it has on Harry’s psyche. You can see in his facial expressions the wariness whenever anyone approaches him. In the scene where Hagrid appears at the hut to give Harry a birthday cake, we see Harry’s complete surprise that anyone remembers his birthday, let alone acts on it. Birthdays are supposed to be special. You’re supposed to get spoiled and treated like royalty. It’s heartbreaking to watch Harry’s face light up at the realization that someone actually genuinely cares about him.

Later in the film, Harry has trouble trying to get to Platform 9¾. Molly Weasley appears, trying to usher her own kids to the platform. As Harry watched them literally pass through a stone column, he finally finds the courage to approach her and ask if she could teach him how. He stutters and looks completely unsure of himself, though Molly Weasley is more than warm towards him. This just goes to show the effects of neglect on a child. The pure joy on his face when he finally escapes the Dursleys perfectly captures his desire to be free.

Another great example of social relationships is the friendship between Harry and Ron. Harry and Ron first meet on the train to Hogwarts when Ron asks if he can sit in Harry’s compartment with him. This scene is adorable because they immediately hit it off and you can see how happy Harry is that he finally has a friend. He is so excited by this that he spends a ton of money on candy because he can see that Ron wants some, but can’t afford it. This goes to show the loyal nature that Harry possesses and how quick he is to trust someone once they show him affection or kindness. It just goes to show that he is so unused to the idea of someone treating him well that he believes it right away since it’s so foreign to him.

Hermione, unlike Ron, is more unsure of herself in a social capacity. She comes off as rather snide because she is confident in her intellect, though she does later prove herself to be a kind and caring person. She takes the blame for Harry and Ron when they fight the troll in the castle because she realizes they were trying to protect her. She is also shown to be extremely sensitive when she cries after overhearing Ron speak rudely of her. Hermione is by far my favorite character because we share quite a lot in common, including the lack of skill in social situations.

Overall, this movie really did a great job depicting relationships between the characters, both good and bad ones. It was interesting to witness the change in Harry’s personality as he escaped an abusive home and found his own happy family.

The Potter Project: The Sorcerer’s Stone (Book 1)

Image result for harry potter sorcerer's stone book

Unless you have spent your entire existence under a rock, you know the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. These books got me through my childhood and helped make me the person I am today. From the first word to the last, I was enraptured with the world that Rowling created. This series taught me about courage and love and sacrifice and I don’t think I would have been able to succeed without Hermione Granger’s voice in my head and Albus Dumbledore’s kind words telling me to push through even when it seemed impossible.

Now, I’m a junior in college and studying to be a Psychology/English major. Because of this, I am taking Social Psychology, which is how this project became a reality. You see, my lovely professor, who reminds me quite a bit of Sirius Black, forces all his students to create a Choose Your Own Adventure project where we decide how a portion of our grade will be determined. My CYOA? The Potter Project. For the next 8 weeks, I intend to read each book and watch each movie in chronological order and then write a post about the psychology behind the characters and such. This week is Book 1: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Our opening is simple, but truly sets up the story.

Chapter One

The Boy Who Lived

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.

The entire first chapter features exposition from Mr. Dursley as he experiences a particularly strange and mysterious day, unlike his normal routine. He sees a cat reading a map and people in strange cloaks.

The first psychological aspect we encounter is Mr. and Mrs. Dursley’s view of the Potters. They are clearly prejudiced towards the wizarding community, even though they have no foundations for their stereotypes and judgement. In terms of attitudes, this shows how truly corrupt the Dursley family is.

Though Lily was Mrs. Dursley’s sister and Harry her nephew, Mrs. Dursley absolutely refused to treat him like a human being. The entire family treats him like dirt, as if he is an unwanted burden. I think the most horrendous aspect of the ordeal is the lack of grief shown by the Dursley family. They simply find the deaths of Lily and James Potter an inconvenience; they don’t recognize it as a tragedy. The abuse that the Dursleys inflict upon Harry is dismal. They force him to live under the stairs in a room the size of a cabinet and force him to be their slave.

We also see the controlling attitude of Vernon Dursley as he goes above and beyond to try and hide the letters from Hogwarts that were sent for Harry. He even goes as far as to take the entire family to a hotel, then later to a hut in the middle of the ocean at a small island when his prior tactic fails. He wants so badly to be in control that he is willing to uproot his wife and son, not to mention spend money to get away from the letters. He is desperate because his control is slipping away. He doesn’t get to decide what information to give Harry anymore. There are outside sources nibbling at his authority.

As Harry discovers the truth about his parents and about the wizarding world, we see him take on Hogwarts. Rowling offers a stark contrast to the Dursleys in the form of the Weasleys. Instead of the harsh and cold personalities of the Petunia and Vernon, we see the curiosity and cleverness of Arthur and the warmth and kindness from Molly. Instead of the cruel and calculating Dudley, we have a humorous and welcoming Ron. In a way, we are seeing what Harry’s life could have been like with James and Lily.

One of the most interesting scenes in this book, especially in terms of psychology, is the scene with the Sorting Hat. Here, Harry and his new friends will be put into one of the four Hogwarts houses. As Harry prepares to be sorted, the Hat proposes that he would be a good fit as a Slytherin. Harry immediately objects, which the Hat accepts, and he is put into Gryffindor, along with Ron and Hermione. This is interesting psychologically because I think it was all about choice and personality. Hermione is definitely a Ravenclaw, the house of intelligence and knowledge. Ron could easily have been a Hufflepuff because of his open nature and endearing personality. And, as the Hat said, Harry could have very well been a dark wizard and prospered in Slytherin. But, I think that they each wanted to be Gryffindor. They wanted it enough to ask for it, showing bravery, which is the central Gryffindor trait.

The book continues and we see a myriad of other characters, including Dumbledore, Malfoy, and Snape. The main conflict revolves around a trapdoor that seems to lead to the Philosopher’s Stone, an object made by Nicolas Flamel. As Harry, Ron, and Hermione fear that Snape is trying to get to the stone and use it to restore Voldemort to his former power, they venture into the trap to beat him to it. We see more of Ron’s personality and social psychology as he is willing to sacrifice himself to help his friends beat the game. He lets himself get injured to protect Harry and Hermione. On the other hand, we get to see his fears as he has the hardest time out of the three when they are dealing with the strangling plants.  I really like that Rowling showed such a dramatic difference here to show that people are not one dimensional. It is normal to be terrified of something, yet still be able to risk your own life for the people you love. Just because you get scared sometimes doesn’t mean you aren’t brave. Ron, Harry, and Hermione all have fears and we got to see them a little bit in this first book. But, we also got to see have astoundingly brave and courageous and fearless they are.

Conclusion? J. K. Rowling is magic and so are her characters. Also, I grew up to be Hermione Granger, and I am not ashamed of that at all.

I Hope You Found Wonderland, Gabs.

My best friend died yesterday.

Typing it out loud hurts. It feels like it makes it real and I don’t want it to be real. I want it to be a joke or a cruel prank or a dream because I don’t understand.

She was only eighteen.

I first met Gabi through Musical Theatre Workshops. We both liked Alice in Wonderland and Panic! At The Disco and horror movies. I couldn’t tell you our first conversation because I don’t remember all of the details. It kills me a little bit to know that I can’t even recall the first thing I said to her. But, honestly, the first day wasn’t what mattered. Gabi and I clicked from the second we talked. I remember that much. We ended up hanging out a few days later and roaming around bookstores and malls until our feet hurt from walking and our sides hurt from laughing.

Gabi was one of those people that just loved with her whole heart. Once she cared about you, she wouldn’t stop. She never gave up on people, even the ones she probably should have. She was convinced that she could turn the worst people good because she wanted to believe it. I think part of her needed to. I remember every time a boy broke my heart or hurt my feelings, she would be completely prepared to go beat him up or text him something that was sure to make him cry. She was the kind of person who would protect the people she loved with her life.

We had so many adventures, too many to count. From sitting in the parking lot at Lady A and just talking about life and drinking energy drinks to being camp counselors for MTW and bursting into tears when it was all over. From sleepovers and that time we dyed my hair bright red and made the bathroom look like a murder scene to watching the first three Saw movies because “Molly, they’re not even that bad.” Spoiler alert, they were that bad and I still have nightmares about Jigsaw. But it was worth it because Gabi was there to hold my hand and let me break her fingers on the scary parts, a.k.a. all of them. It didn’t matter that I was at college for the last half of our friendship or that we both got super busy. We still found time to talk and catch up. I remember that time we took dozens of photos at your birthday party and even though most of them were blurry and ridiculous, they’re still my favorites.

Gabi, I have enough memories with you to fill at least three scrapbooks, but right now all I can think about is that we can’t make anymore and it hurts. I keep racking my brain, trying to figure out what happened and what I could have done to help. I knew that you were sad and in a bad place, but I thought it was getting better. I just keep thinking that I talked to you the day before you did it and you were fine. Or, maybe you just said you were because you didn’t to be a bother. I don’t know.

You were never a bother, Gabs. Every time we talked, it made me unbelievably happy. You were always beautiful. You were kind and you were sweet and you were special. You deserved to be here and you deserved to be deliriously happy. I’m sorry that life got in the way and you felt that you had no other option. I know you felt like no one would care, but I had to leave class because I was crying so hard this morning, so I want you to know that you were wrong. I’m sorry that you didn’t realize how loved you really were. You’re forever my best friend and you were supposed to be the Maid of Honor at my wedding. I don’t know what to do because you’re just gone and this was never supposed to happen.

I snapchatted you today because for a few seconds I forgot. I waited for you to open it and then it all came crashing down again and I couldn’t breathe. I just sat there and tried to understand. I’m a planner. I always have been. But I never planned for this and now I don’t know how to act or what to do or what to say. All I know is that it hurts and I don’t like it.

I feel like part of my heart is missing now and I can’t find the words to say and that’s not normal because I’m a writing tutor and an English major and words are supposed to be my thing. But you’re not here and that’s not normal either, so I don’t know if I even know what normal is anymore.

I love you, Gabi. I’m sorry that wasn’t enough. And maybe it’s pointless to think about what-ifs and what-could-have-beens, but that’s really the only thing I can do right now.

I’m sorry.

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