Dear grad admissions board: my failed courses are non-canon to my personal narrative

If that 0.0 GPA feels like a plothole, don’t worry — I agree


To Whom It May Concern,

It is my great honour to recommend myself, Jake Jacksonian, for SFU’s Graduate Program in the Department of English. Yes, I know you already have my personal statement, which described at length my research interest in the rhetorical devices of the “why you always lying” Vine. Yes, I also recognize that submitting your own self as a reference for these applications is a little #quirky. But after knowing and working with myself for 26 years, no one could be more qualified than me to explain — again — why I deserve to be here. 

Looking for generic platitudes about my work ethic, my class participation, or my bubbly disposition? Read my other two reference letters, the ones I so lovingly schmoozed out of my sessionals through weekly SFU Mail correspondence that was one-way for most of last semester. No, this reference letter is to offer you insight into a very particular slice of my life — a close reading, if you will, of the semester where I achieved a 0.0 GPA.

To unpack, my refusal to attend any lectures that tragic autumn was hard to grapple with. My total disregard for my early morning tutorials, start times ranging from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., was difficult to field. The emotional deficiencies that led me to skip every exam and ignore my kindly professors’ concerned emails? Truly rude. 

But I’m better now. Because those five failed courses? I’ve declared them to be NON-CANON to my personal narrative.

You see, after a long self-structured programme of inspirational YouTube videos and Lululemon commercials (as a BC resident, it was my most fiscally responsible therapy option), I realized that Susan C. Young and 30 knockoff Medium articles were right. I really WAS the author of my own life story. And if I learned anything from J.K. Rowling, it’s that authors can totally go back and rewrite the details of their story universe however they see fit. 

And so, you can rest easy: I’ve decided that the 2015–2016 chapters of my life, controversially bad grades and all, have no bearing on the greater Jake Jacksonian timeline. All the character backstory explained there that doesn’t align with the personal work/school timeline I outlined on my CV? Retconned to Westeros and back. The out-of-character behaviour? Blame that on the tight publication schedule and my terrible editor (thank you, general academic advising!). The traumas that should have had a lasting effect on my psyche but which were never addressed or mentioned again? Those are actually still around, but any English professor would agree that, as an author, I’m not here to spoon-feed the answers to you.

I’m sure some of you will now take to Reddit, a reviews section, or some backwater forum, where you will go on to debate this non-canonicity revelation with complete strangers and post nostalgic fanart of an empty seat in C9001. I give you my blessing on that. (Wouldn’t such a gracious individual be a wonderful addition to your program?) 

But after that, I hope you’ll take some time to admire the artful, canonical self-identity I’ve cultivated for myself. The immaculate 2.005 GPA. The adorable plastic-wrapped bullet journal I have carried unused in my bag for three years. The contributions to my SFU community which I’m so very passionate about, like my on-and-off job as a Supreme Marshmallow Roasting Educator. 

I have a deep respect for myself and my scholarship, and I am confident that I will be a thriving asset to your department. I highly recommend myself to your program. Please feel free to contact me about any points of clarification you may have; I promise to respond to you much faster than my other references ever could, that’s for sure.

Kind regards,

Jake Jacksonian

Written by Zach Siddiqui, Humour Editor