So, like a good little nerd, I've mapped it out:
My happiness is on the y-axis, ascending from 0 (none) to 100 (most).
The time of day is on the x.
-- And the waiting game is a perfect quadratic equation.
I wake up and check my email, and when I see that I still have not heard from graduate schools, I start off my day at (0, 0). Never mind that, surely, it is irrational to expect a POI to have emailed me between 3 am and 7 am EST.
I go to campus, go to class, go to lab, do my thing. Sooner or later I run into my adviser who always has either a stimulating philosophical/scientific topic to discuss or words of wisdom/encouragement about the app process. For the duration of the time spent with him plus an hour and a half or so of afterglow, my parabola is at its peak.
As the clock ticks down toward 5 pm, however, the slope of my line becomes negative once more, until at last I'm sitting in bed, right back where I started, having come full circle since that morning.
Lately, my parabola has become increasingly like a flat line, at a very low y value, continuously, as I begin to give up hope altogether.
But you know what?
I'm rewriting this equation.
We cannot control our circumstances or our environment, but we can control our responses. I choose to continue to think positively, to hope, and to believe that I am still an excellent scholar whether or not I get into a Ph.D. program this time around. I choose to respond by finding the best ways to improve my application for the next round. I choose to learn from my mistakes, and to write my own internal story.
Rainer Maria Rilke wrote, "Think of the worlds you carry within you."
These worlds within your mind do not disappear simply because you feel they are going unrecognized. The worlds are ever-evolving, crafted and populated by your own will, and full of infinite possibility.
Not getting into graduate school does not mean the destruction of every world, every dream-castle you've built for yourself.
It just means you get to spend a bit more time in their construction.