Rejection. It’s a painful thing. Ask millions of boys and girls let down by their biggest high school crushes. Ask countless seniors denied by their top universities. Ask every adult, young or old, who has been refused job opportunities and dream positions.
If you haven’t experienced it yet, there’s one thing we can promise you: you will.
When it happens, it will feel personal. It will feel as if the [insert name of desired object or position] is the only thing in the world you want and life sucks for not giving it to you. You may be tempted to give up and stop trying. You may be tempted to put on Celine Dion and cuddle up with a tub of Rocky Road ice cream. (From prior experience, don’t do that. You’ll only gain weight, not clarity.) And you may even feel so let down and hopeless that your world begins to close in. (For that we have no advice but to stay in open spaces?)
As another school year reaches its finale, many clubs and organizations have begun to elect new leaders for this fall. In such an active school like ours, the process can be very competitive and stressful—something similar to what seniors have just experienced (Hint: the thing before senioritis hit): college admissions.
So to all the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors setting their sights on new leadership opportunities for the upcoming year, we have a few reminders. First, work and run for the position that you know best suits you and your passion. Second, give 100% of your effort to applying or campaigning. Third, and most important, don’t fear rejection. If it happens, embrace it. Making the best out of your “undesirable position” says a lot more about who you are than working half-heartedly in your “desired position.”
When you face rejection now or in the future, step back and think: does it at all change the person you are? Does it remove any of your previous efforts or negate anything you’ve learned? No, not in the slightest. Just as it’s important to remember your efforts upon achieving success, it is equally important to recognize your merits upon failure.
And at the risk of sounding like your parents, we might even say rejection is a blessing in disguise; it builds character. It teaches you how to stand up and brush yourself off when times seem the toughest. And more importantly, it prepares you for the day that you do get your dream job or role. Perhaps the trust that you will get what you want when it’s right (not without the help of that thing we call HARD WORK) is just what the doctor prescribed this season.
Every time seniors are rejected by colleges, they each come closer to finding the one that is destined for them. At the end of the day, they belong at the school that recognizes how hard they have worked, not one that doesn’t appreciate their academic career. And every time a student or adult doesn’t get the job or role that he or she wants, it’s possible that they really weren’t ready for it OR it’s not the right time OR it’s preventing them from a greater opportunity OR it was a subjective decision from a human (a species that is known for making many mistakes). But these decisions are not a reflection of or validation for their work. And they are certainly not reasons to stop trying.