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Jrxw14

Passed over for Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship

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Over the past few days I've experienced a huge slump in my graduate career.  I'm a first year graduate student in the social sciences who thought it'd be a good idea to apply for the Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral fellowship...boy was I wrong.  I received a rejection a few days ago despite relatively high marks from reviewers and an application that I put everything I had into.  No honorable mention, no waitlist, just a flat out rejection.  What's worse is someone in my cohort received the fellowship that I wanted.  I know for a fact that my work is at least as good as theirs if not better, so I'm struggling to reconcile the fact that some random academics deemed my project inadequate.  Any tips for not going off when fellowship committees don't know what they're doing?  Clearly I've heard all of the "many qualified applicants and too few awards" and "sometimes these things just happen" clichés, but I'm looking for something more thoughtful, ideally from others who have been wronged and watch others take what they don't deserve.

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32 minutes ago, marshon95 said:

What's worse is someone in my cohort received the fellowship that I wanted.  I know for a fact that my work is at least as good as theirs if not better, so I'm struggling to reconcile the fact that some random academics deemed my project inadequate.  Any tips for not going off when fellowship committees don't know what they're doing?  Clearly I've heard all of the "many qualified applicants and too few awards" and "sometimes these things just happen" clichés, but I'm looking for something more thoughtful, ideally from others who have been wronged and watch others take what they don't deserve.

Hi, welcome to the forum! I understand that this rejection stings. Rejection always hurts. However, you said the reviewers gave you high marks. That doesn't sound like they "deemed (your) project inadequate". They just felt other applicants suited the fellowship best. Similar to the way how grad schools make decisions. 

That said, I don't think the reviewers were "random academics", and I seriously doubt they "don't know what they're doing". Also, I'm not sure what position you're in to decide those who did get the fellowship don't deserve it. You said the person in your cohort had work that is as good as yours. 

Yes, the rejection feels terrible, but these are things you can't really blame others for. I'm sure your application was amazing. It just wasn't everything they were looking for. 

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Wew lad, if you approach fellowships like the reviewers don't know what they're doing--despite being tasked specifically by the fellowship administrators to select winners who fit the fellowship mission--and that you've been "wronged" and others have gotten what they "don't deserve" because you were rejected, you're in for a rude awakening in graduate school. Rejections are the norm, not the outlier. Even as a 4th year PhD who's managed to achieve incredible success in securing external funding, I've been rejected tons of times--and no, I never thought colleagues who won over me were inferior and I had been robbed. Learn from rejection, or keep being rejected. You don't deserve a single thing. You are not owed. Your project, even if it is spectacular, is one of many. And tbqh, your arrogance makes me think you wouldn't be able to see flaws in it anyway. 

Eat an entire humble pie, reassess your work, and move forward. You're in your first year and have time to apply for the predoctoral again next year. Maybe include a few other fellowships while you're at it, since these prestigious ones are INCREDIBLY competitive and putting all your eggs in one incredibly competitive basket isn't a good method for securing funding. And stop blaming others for your rejections. Sometimes there are fatal flaws in an application, more often no one is at fault and it's simply a case of way too many good applicants and too few available fellowships. You may want to brush that off as cliche--maybe face the truth in it so you can have more success going forward.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, PsychWannabee said:

Hi, welcome to the forum! I understand that this rejection stings. Rejection always hurts. However, you said the reviewers gave you high marks. That doesn't sound like they "deemed (your) project inadequate". They just felt other applicants suited the fellowship best. Similar to the way how grad schools make decisions. 

That said, I don't think the reviewers were "random academics", and I seriously doubt they "don't know what they're doing". Also, I'm not sure what position you're in to decide those who did get the fellowship don't deserve it. You said the person in your cohort had work that is as good as yours. 

Yes, the rejection feels terrible, but these are things you can't really blame others for. I'm sure your application was amazing. It just wasn't everything they were looking for. 

Thank you for the thoughtful reply, although you like most others don’t seem to “get it”.  Despite the relatively high marks, or despite how great people SAY the application was I’m still without external funding while someone who worked no harder than me is with it.  

I don’t buy into the whole “rejection is only your fault, so you can’t blame it on others” notion because I know the work and effort that I put into the application that I crafted.

If I have to be alone in refusing to blame myself for something that I know didn’t fall short at what was asked, I will be, I just supposed there would be others who could relate at a level beyond “I was rejected too once but now I’m wildly successful, do what I did”.

I can’t to lend credit to someone who isn’t on a higher plane than but has the benefits of an Ivy League undergraduate education and not being black or studying contemporary African Americans.  Especially not when I came from a small-mid sized urban campus where the under-recognized worked incredibly hard to assist in the opportunities for the relatively under-recognized student body.  I’d be selling out the work I’ve done to claw up the ladder to be on the same playing field as the former category of people that I mentioned.

Edited by marshon95

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45 minutes ago, ashiepoo72 said:

Wew lad, if you approach fellowships like the reviewers don't know what they're doing--despite being tasked specifically by the fellowship administrators to select winners who fit the fellowship mission--and that you've been "wronged" and others have gotten what they "don't deserve" because you were rejected, you're in for a rude awakening in graduate school. Rejections are the norm, not the outlier. Even as a 4th year PhD who's managed to achieve incredible success in securing external funding, I've been rejected tons of times--and no, I never thought colleagues who won over me were inferior and I had been robbed. Learn from rejection, or keep being rejected. You don't deserve a single thing. You are not owed. Your project, even if it is spectacular, is one of many. And tbqh, your arrogance makes me think you wouldn't be able to see flaws in it anyway. 

Eat an entire humble pie, reassess your work, and move forward. You're in your first year and have time to apply for the predoctoral again next year. Maybe include a few other fellowships while you're at it, since these prestigious ones are INCREDIBLY competitive and putting all your eggs in one incredibly competitive basket isn't a good method for securing funding. And stop blaming others for your rejections. Sometimes there are fatal flaws in an application, more often no one is at fault and it's simply a case of way too many good applicants and too few available fellowships. You may want to brush that off as cliche--maybe face the truth in it so you can have more success going forward.

There’s no reason to be arrogant or accuse me of it.  I’m simply being honest to myself about the level of work and soul that I put into that application by saying that I know I should have gotten it despite what the committee thinks.  Again, especially when someone else who is not better than me got it and is also a first-year.

I’m glad that you take rejection so well, but unlike you I can’t “take in stride” something that is such a personal affront to my ideas and value.  The ideas and value that so deeply imbued that application with.  Whether people articulate it or not I’m sure there are others who don’t take rejection well either, and I empathize with them rather than chastising them for imperfection.

If you really commented to try and put someone in the place by saying “I take rejection well but now I’m wildly successful, so just do what I did.” then I’d politely ask that you refrain from commenting on my post.  There’s no benefit to taking what is obviously a pained moment to try and heap more on yourself.  Thank you for taking the time to comment though.

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3 hours ago, marshon95 said:

Thank you for the thoughtful reply, although you like most others don’t seem to “get it”.  Despite the relatively high marks, or despite how great people SAY the application was I’m still without external funding while someone who worked no harder than me is with it.  

3 hours ago, marshon95 said:

There’s no reason to be arrogant or accuse me of it.  I’m simply being honest to myself about the level of work and soul that I put into that application by saying that I know I should have gotten it despite what the committee thinks.  Again, especially when someone else who is not better than me got it and is also a first-year.

What does how much work you put into the application have to do with the quality of the application?

 

3 hours ago, marshon95 said:

I’m glad that you take rejection so well, but unlike you I can’t “take in stride” something that is such a personal affront to my ideas and value.  The ideas and value that so deeply imbued that application with.  Whether people articulate it or not I’m sure there are others who don’t take rejection well either, and I empathize with them rather than chastising them for imperfection.

Ooof. Graduate school is going to suck if you keep loosing your mind over what is in someone else's lunchbox. If you're looking to hear from people who don't take rejection well, you probably need to find another forum because those people probably are not in graduate school.

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3 hours ago, DiscoTech said:

What does how much work you put into the application have to do with the quality of the application?

 

Ooof. Graduate school is going to suck if you keep loosing your mind over what is in someone else's lunchbox. If you're looking to hear from people who don't take rejection well, you probably need to find another forum because those people probably are not in graduate school.

You seem a little thick so let me spell it out for you.  You can front like you take rejection well, and that’s great for you, but if you think all people in grad school take rejection well or lie and say that they do then clearly you’re another example of a holier-than-thou graduate student with a chip on their shoulder about people who aren’t afraid to express their “impure” emotions.  

You’ve wasted your time commenting on a post that openly does not care for a person like you or your opinion.  Congratulations.

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As someone who did not receive the fellowship and knows someone who did, I recognize that the people who received the fellowship are very much deserving. I think believing that they aren't is going to encourage you to go off. Maybe first reconcile that those who received it are deserving. You can also do this while believing you are equally deserving because I put a good amount of work into my own application. What helps me is that I truly believe the things that are meant for me will be mine. If I was looked over then there is a reason for that. Did the reviewers not give any tips on strengthening your application? I also got good reviews, but they talked about my strengths so I payed attention to what wasn't mentioned as an area of growth for when I apply next year.

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10 minutes ago, smalltownwater said:

As someone who did not receive the fellowship and knows someone who did, I recognize that the people who received the fellowship are very much deserving. I think believing that they aren't is going to encourage you to go off. Maybe first reconcile that those who received it are deserving. You can also do this while believing you are equally deserving because I put a good amount of work into my own application. What helps me is that I truly believe the things that are meant for me will be mine. If I was looked over then there is a reason for that. Did the reviewers not give any tips on strengthening your application? I also got good reviews, but they talked about my strengths so I payed attention to what wasn't mentioned as an area of growth for when I apply next year.

Thank you for this.  This is genuinely helpful.  I understand the idea behind it but it really helps hearing it from someone who has gone through it too.  A couple reviewers focused on strengths and one focused on weaknesses so thankfully I do have that information to apply.  Sorry to hear about your results and I wish you the best in future applications.

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3 hours ago, marshon95 said:

You seem a little thick so let me spell it out for you.  You can front like you take rejection well, and that’s great for you, but if you think all people in grad school take rejection well or lie and say that they do then clearly you’re another example of a holier-than-thou graduate student with a chip on their shoulder about people who aren’t afraid to express their “impure” emotions.  

You’ve wasted your time commenting on a post that openly does not care for a person like you or your opinion.  Congratulations.

This might have been the problem with your application. Your replies are not actually responses. 

1. All talk of effort and hard work is pointless. A quality fellowship application is a quality fellowship application. Does not matter how much time went into.
2. I never said anything about taking rejection well. My only point is that your future in academia is full of rejection (publications, fellowships, grants applications, etc...). People who lost it over one fellowship application probably don't stick around very long. But yeah, keep up the lousy attitude. 

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As someone who formerly advised and served as a counsel to the Ford Foundation, I can assure they were not “random academics”—were you a random applicant? Maybe you are still raw and processing their decision to not go forward with your application, as many have diplomatically expressed to you—a career in academics is more predominantly represented by failures than successes. The item that is more concerning is your fairly putative and effete pronouncements of both your peers and the process. My counsel, is try to take a modicum of appreciation for the process and leverage it into a learning experience.....contempt and temporary pride are not the arrows you want to use in this long journey.

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4 hours ago, marshon95 said:

You seem a little thick so let me spell it out for you. 

[...]

You’ve wasted your time commenting on a post that openly does not care for a person like you or your opinion.  Congratulations.

Are you just going to insult everyone that tells you something you don't want to hear? Because that attitude won't serve you well in academia or in life as a whole. Being passed over for funding sucks, and you have a right to be upset. But you're not entitled to funding, or an explanation, or mournful wailing from Internet strangers.

Whether you appreciate it or not, everyone in this thread took time out of their day in an attempt to help you. Sometimes helping means telling you hard truths instead of licking your boots and saying you deserve the world. You don't need to take anyone's advice, but you could at least skip the rudeness.

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OP is bitter and downvoted all my posts. The fact that you took the time out to do that reflects on your own character. Congratulations, enjoying the reprisal?

Let me quote things that reek of entitlement:

On 3/20/2019 at 9:18 AM, Jrxw14 said:

You’ve wasted your time commenting on a post that openly does not care for a person like you or your opinion.  Congratulations.

Yeah sure, is that why you went and downvoted all my posts? :rolleyes:

 
 
1
On 3/19/2019 at 9:24 PM, Jrxw14 said:

 who have been wronged and watch others take what they don't deserve.

 

On 3/19/2019 at 9:24 PM, Jrxw14 said:

What's worse is someone in my cohort received the fellowship that I wanted.  I know for a fact that my work is at least as good as theirs if not better, so I'm struggling to reconcile the fact that some random academics deemed my project inadequate.

Graduate school and beyond is not without failures. It's best to not think too much about the feedback/decision you received and work towards improving yourself (application) for next time. Your bitterness won't help you. 

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