I'm glad you came here to post. It's a very compassionate and supportive group. I hope I can say something that will help or at least comfort you.
It's often so rewarding, but can be so difficult, too, when two very sensitive people are in a relationship together. You're sensitive enough to share a deep and loving bond with each other, and when one of you is hurting, the other feels it to a very great extent. I can tell how much you love her and how much you're hurting, watching her go through this.
It sounds to me like your wife's childhood was such that she had a lot of pressures on her, and she experienced a lot of hurt. I'm guessing that even back then, she probably felt, at times, like the world was telling her to "drop her dreams" and "fall in line with the rest of the people in the world that are unhappy". It's hard to shake something like that when you grow up that way.
I can understand why it would hurt you terribly when she says you're not succeeding at protecting her from things. Unfortunately, there are a lot of situations in life that others can't protect us from, and I wonder if maybe she feels so helpless in these situations that she's looking for someone to save her, instead of realizing that only she can conquer her own fears and doubts about herself. I really don't think she means to hurt you.....I think she is just desperate to feel better, and wants someone to help her in some way, because she doesn't know what to do.
It must be frustrating and so disappointing for her to be refused admission into the university program she applied for. It sounds like she placed all her hopes and dreams for herself on this one event, and it's an "all or nothing" kind of situation for her. We all have to accept things that are beyond our control, but when we're depressed, and feel powerless, something like this can really seem a message from the universe to 'give up'. Sometimes, the things that we want are just not meant to be for us, at least not at the particular time we want them. That's when we have to turn a corner, and come up with a "plan B" if we can. And sometimes the "plan B" turns out to be the better thing for us in the long run. In this case, it may be that she needs to talk to the admissions department (or whoever is responsible) and see if she can find out why her application was not accepted. Perhaps there is something she can do to remedy the situation and re-apply next time around. Or....alternatively....maybe there is some kind of work (paid or volunteer) that she could do that is related to that particular field, and would support a subsequent application, and from that she could still feel like she was working towards her dream.
Obviously, she is grieving what she feels is an important loss right now, and she may need some time to get over that. I think Karen had some really good suggestions re: doing something together that would help to relax her and get her mind off this until she can come to grips with it.
Is she, or are you as a couple, still in therapy? It might be worth a try to talk to someone professionally about this, if she is up to it.
I really feel for you and your wife, especially since you are struggling through this in the early stages of a marriage. It's obvious that you love her very much, and I hope that things will get better for you. I hope you will keep us posted.