I have always said that, for the most part, I get what I want. (In the non-brat sense of the phrase "I get what I want".) I got into all three colleges that I applied to. I got all three campus jobs that I wanted.
I never was one of those people who got amazing grades, so an occasional C (or an F) on a paper or test every now and then doesn't really phase me, especially if I know that I tried.
I was never great at sports; actually, I was always pretty bad (except for an occasional success in gymnastics). So I was used to failure, but again, if I felt that I was trying, I didn't care if I "failed" compared to other people.
I always compare myself to myself. Not to other people. If I feel that I tried, then I'm happy with my accomplishments, even if other people receiving the same results would be upset.
I have experienced failure for the first time in my life. It's interesting.
Last summer, and part of the summer before that, all of the people above me at camp (head counselor, director of the camp, director of early childhood camps) suggested that I apply for a head counselor position. After all, I've been with the camp for six years, I have subbed for the head counselor, I'm majoring in psychology and elementary education, I'm pretty much a perfect applicant. And like I said, the people who would be in charge of hiring told me to apply. Last summer, I helped out with paper-work/behind-the-scenes stuff before camp even started - I was basically being told that the next summer I would be a head counselor, so the director of early childhood camps wanted me to see what it was like behind-the-scenes.
Then, the director of early childhood camps had a baby, so she left, and a new director came. I applied for the head counselor position with this new director. I sent her a letter stating why I thought I was perfect for this job, and then I waited. And waited. And waited. She wasn't responding - I thought that maybe she had never received the letter. I finally emailed her, and in her response she told me that she had left a message for me, but I had never responded so she thought I wasn't interested. I was confused, because she definitely hadn't called my cellular phone, and I asked at home, and no one said anyone had called looking for me. I don't know where she had left the message. But anyway, I scheduled an interview with her during my spring break. She asked me questions; I didn't know the answers, basic interview. I didn't think it was great, didn't think it was horrible.
But, I knew that I had practically been promised the job the summer before, the director of the camp and the old director of early childhood camps had both seen me working for six years. They'd seen me when I started, they'd seen me improve and become a very competent counselor. Of course, the old director of early childhood camps was gone, but I didn't really figure that mattered. I have a file somewhere with my mid-season and end of season evaluations. Even if this new director had never seen me in action, she could have read those evaluations. At the beginning, they were basically average. The last two years or so though, they had been above average. They had basically said that I was recommended to be a head counselor.
And the thing is, I wasn't even sure that I wanted to be a head counselor. Yes, it would give me more responsibly, higher pay, good experience. But, it would also be more work. And I really like having a very relaxed summer. I wasn't sure that I wanted more work. But I knew that it would be good for me to be a head counselor. Good in that it is as close to an "internship" as one can really get in the teacher profession. Good in that it would make me work harder, instead of just sitting and stagnating in the same position I've been in for years.
So when I got my contract, and it said that I was hired as a camp counselor, I was a little surprised. There was no letter included even mentioning the fact that I had applied for head counselor. No letter saying "maybe next year, we had people older and more qualified than you apply, so we had to hire them". Just the same letter I get every year, saying I will be doing the same thing as usual.
And it's interesting. Because I'm not disappointed that I won't be a head counselor. I'm disappointed that they didn't want me to be a head counselor, and I didn't get any explanation as to why. I almost feel like the director was never considering me in the first place - what with her assuming I didn't want to be a head counselor even though I had written a long detailed letter on why I would be a perfect head counselor, and then not saying that I wasn't hired as a head counselor but instead just saying that I was hired as a regular counselor.
And the problem now, is that I'm bitter. Not because I wanted to be a head counselor and didn't get the job, but because they had told me that I should be a head counselor and then didn't hire me. And I'm afraid that's going to hurt my attitude for the summer. I don't want to be bitter. They didn't hire me, so what. I still have camp, which I love. They still upped my pay. It'll just be the same as it has been for years. I will have my group of kids, I will lead my games, my songs, my art projects. I will be given more responsibility than the average counselor because I have been there so long, and everyone knows that. But I still won't be a head counselor. And I'm always going to be thinking about that. Whether I want to or not, whether I actually care or not, it's always going to be in the back of my mind. "What didn't they like about me? What could I have said different in the interview?"
And then, even further back in my mind is the absurd thought, "would she have hired me if I looked older? If I looked older, would she have interpreted my answers to her questions differently? Would she have given me the benefit of the doubt? Did I look like a little kid to her?" And I know these last thoughts, especially, are just harmful to myself. I can't blame failure on something that I can't change. And it's not even failure. It's just...something that didn't happen the way I had been expecting. And I cannot blame it on my height. Because I will be 5 feet tall forever. For the rest of my life. And besides, it's illegal to discriminate based on height. But, if I had worn something different. If I had put make-up on. If I had looked like the 20 years I am, instead of constantly being confused as my 15 year old sister's twin, would she have hired me?
But nothing can be changed. Something finally didn't go as I had planned. And, the psychology major that I am, I am trying to analyze my own reaction, which I can't really do because I'm too close to myself. It's just interesting. I think I'm glad that it happened. It’ll make me grow as a person, even if it does turn me bitter.