The Wizarding School of my Dreams

What to do when your dream school rejects you?

I always knew Durham as Hogwarts, as parts of the Harry Potter films were shot there, such as this famous scene from the first movie.


However, it was my last year at college, and my Advanced English teacher, born and raised in UK, asked me about my majors for undergrad university. It was a routine check up for the whole class.

Since I was a shy student, she barely knew anything about me. I told her I wanted to study Creative Writing, and that I was passionate about it, and so, she asked to read my poems.

Later, she called me to the teacher’s room, and we talked for a long time. She was the first and only one to recommend Durham. It’s been almost 6 years since we had that talk, and however I don’t recall much, I do remember her exact words: Durham is Harvard for writers. 

And so, keeping in mind our conversation, I applied to Durham University last month for their Masters program. I was unsure, of course, because Durham is one of the best institutions in the UK.

I hadn’t received a word on the update of my application, and it had been over the usual 6-month period, so I emailed them today. I woke up to find their very bittersweet rejection.

Sure, I am not the best writer out there, but a part of me wasn’t expecting it… Sigh.

There could have been a hundred things they didn’t like about me and honestly, I would have preferred if they had disclosed the reason why I didn’t make the cut.

Was it my writing style, was it boring? Were my poems not professional enough? Dear God, I hope there weren’t any grammatical mistakes. Did my personal essay put them to sleep? Was it my IELTS score? Was my resume not up to point, or was it just me in general? The fact I am an international student and of Pakistani origin?

Any of these could be the reason I didn’t make the final decision, and I really wish they had disclosed what it was. Because these questions will definitely haunt me for a long, long time.


I bleed poetry

It’s been such a long time since I last wrote a poem, or even read one just for the sake of it. I would come across blogs, etc, but I haven’t read all those poetry books by my favorite writers in such a long time. Maybe, since I have stopped writing poems, I thought I had moved on from poetry. However, today, my younger cousins reminded me again how much it means to me, and why it intrigues me still.

Maryam, who is 11, and Mina, 8, have their poetry exams tomorrow. They each have a poetry book, and have to learn selected poems by heart, and tomorrow, they have to recite them to their teachers. And that is supposed to be their poetry exam. I remember I would have the same tests, and I still know some of the poems that I learned in primary school by heart.

When my cousins were practicing with me, I could see myself at their age. English was my favorite subject at school. I was a very slow learner and was frowned upon by teachers in most subjects, but I would always get great marks in English and Poetry lessons. I would love reading poems, and had no trouble memorizing them, too. This bugged my mom and teachers a lot, because I would fail all other lessons at primary school.

Today, I read their poetry books and I realized how much it fascinates me even to this day. Even now, when I don’t write as often as I want to.


I got in.

City University London is offering me a place for their Creative Writing Masters program. I still haven’t decided anything yet. And I’m waiting for the rest of the universities to respond. 😁

Thursday wasn’t going well. My whole family was down with fever and the flu. The bad case. And only I remained uncontaminated. They were all cranky and rude and sick. I was baking the whole day, for my grandfather’s birthday which was today. I wanted to try my hand at a layer cake and so far, two of my cakes had flopped. One was raw, and the other was flat. 😞

Overall, everyone was in a bad mood.

And then, at 10 or 11 pm, while my 4th cake was in the oven, I finally got time to check my email. And there it was. An acceptance, just waiting there, in the unread folder.

I finally got an acceptance. I cried, I won’t lie. Mainly because that meant someone in the admission board thought my writing was good, enough to give me a place at their university. My English teacher told me that Writing programs are very cutthroat, and they only select the best of the best. I always lived with the fear of being rejected, or my writing being deemed unfit or bad.

Anyway. The acceptance letter instantly made my day. And I am very thankful, and very relieved. ☺️