I think one of the worst feelings those that have been repeatedly rejected by each one of your dream schools may sense is the lethargy that derives from the lack of understanding about the reasons for these failures. Is it fit? Is it the non-stellar GRE? Is it for being an outsider? Is it because I did not try to approach POIs? Is it because I'm older? Is it due to being an international applicant? One of the most important lessons I've learned by studying strategy planning (and by implementing it in government) is that without knowing the causes of issues that affect material reality, it is impossible to act properly to tackle them. Hence, when analysed from an individual point of view, numbness becomes some sort of body defense to ignorance. Interesting, but agonizing experience this one.