I’ve gotten so many of these emails by now, I don’t even have to read past the first line to know what’s coming next. They generally begin with, “Due to a record number of applicants…” soon followed by “we regret to inform you.” Those of you who’ve survived the college admissions process know what I’m talking about. It’s the email or letter that everyone dreads receiving. Sometimes it comes as a shock, and other times, it confirms that inner doubt you carried all along. Either way, rejection stings.
Unfortunately, rejection is something we will routinely face throughout our lives. This semester, alone, I was rejected from joining clubs (yes, you can be rejected from a club), academic programs, and multiple internships that I’ve applied to. And despite knowing that we live in a competitive world, and that I tried my best, I was still left with a feeling of deep-seated disappointment and ultimately, exhaustion. Coincidentally, the only thing that made me feel better was thinking about my previous failures.
I thought back to 7th grade, when I was failing algebra and it seemed like a lost cause, and now here I am majoring in Finance. Or when I experienced my first real heartbreak—because that’s a form of rejection, too—and I thought I’d never get over it, but with time, I moved on.
Thinking back to all of these crucial moments reminded that I’d already faced rejection so many times. Who’s to say that I couldn’t face it again?
So if you got rejected from your dream school or job, take it as a humbling experience and carry on. I’m right there with you. We all have our own lists of failures, embarrassments, cringe-worthy life moments, etc. And the truth is, we’ll spend the rest of our lives adding to that collection…but maybe that’s not a bad thing. No matter where you are in life right now, know that you’ll be rejected. And when you are rejected, hold onto that feeling and channel it into something else. Hopefully when you look back, you aren’t haunted by all of your prior failures, but rather, reminded of all the hurdles you’ve overcome.
If you don’t feel like reading this whole post, here are some quotes I thought were relevant:
“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.” – Dalai Lama
“Failure is just a resting place. It is an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” – Henry Ford
“Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful men and women keep moving. They make mistakes but they don’t quit.” – Conrad Hilton
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game’s winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that’s why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan