chapter one

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I've been rejected again.

I don't need to read through the rest of the letter to get the gist, it's always the same no matter which school sends it - thanks for applying to our graduate program but you're not good enough to come here. Feel free to apply again soon though, we appreciate all of the application fees.

Of course they do, I'm draining my bank account to apply to graduate schools in the hope that they won't just accept me, but offer me some kind of financial aid. 

The irony of the situation doesn't escape me, the fact that I have to spend money and pray that a school will realize how desperately I need it is more frustrating than getting rejected from the actual school itself.

What's the point of getting accepted to a school if I can't afford to go to it?

"Another no?"

I look up to see Jenny, one of my two roommates, leaning against the doorframe of my bedroom. She has a steaming mug cupped in her hands and a sympathetic frown pulling at her lips. This is the second rejection letter I've gotten this month and each time it's been like a slap to the face.

"Columbia." I nod, dropping the letter back onto my desk.

"I'm sorry, Abs." She looks down at her mug and stirs the honey-colored tea with a spoon.

"It's fine, it was kind of a reach anyway. I wasn't expecting to get in."

That's not a lie, I really wasn't expecting to get into Columbia. My GPA is a 3.9 and my GRE scores are pretty good, but to get into Columbia you can't just be pretty good, you have to be perfect.

The only reason I even applied is because my mother lectured me on the phone for half an hour about how I don't fully apply myself and how I'll never get anywhere if I keep dragging my feet. Honestly, it was one of her nicer lectures.

"You'll get into the next one," Jenny says, a little too chipper for my pitiful mood as she crosses the room. She perches on the edge of my bed, one leg folded neatly under her, as she brings her mug of herbal tea to her lips. "One that's even better than Columbia."

Better than Columbia? I'm not sure that even exists, but Jenny's trademark energy is practically rippling through the room and I swear I can feel it trying to jump start my mood.

"Thanks, Jen."

The pity party I was trying to throw for myself has officially been crashed and based on the way Jenny's smiling at me, I have a feeling she's not planning on leaving me to wallow in peace.

"I have a favor to ask and I know you're probably going to say no, so I feel like I should remind you that you love me and I've been your best friend for the past three years." Her nose is scrunched, as if she's already preparing to be shot down. "And also, it's our last semester together before we graduate and possibly won't ever see each other again when I go off to nursing school and you go away to whichever amazing grad school that you choose —"

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