We’ve all gotten to a certain point in our lives where the answer is “no”. I’m not talking about the “maybe” or “possibly” answers. When the outcome is a definite turn down, it can be difficult to move past the rejection. How can students see past the initial turn down?
Running for club leadership positions, enrolling in SAT prep classes, and praying that a cup of coffee can be a substitute for 8 hours of sleep are familiar experiences for a high school student. After four years of strategically planned classes and career research, I was extremely disappointed to find out that I wasn’t accepted into any of the colleges I applied to. For high school seniors, receiving an email saying, “Thank you for your interest in [insert college]. However, we regret to inform you…” might feel like a devastating blow. However, there is hope! Many people I know have decided to take a gap year to either work, travel, or really discover themselves. Others take community college courses and transfer after a couple of years to the school of their choice. While college rejection may seem like it will alter your future, just remember that the “brand name” school you go to isn’t as important as the education you receive and how you pursue your future dreams.
Jobs and Internships
College students are pressured to pursue and hold the internship of their dreams. There are so many opportunities to jump start your career and internships one of those opportunities! They are a great way to gain insight and work experience, or just to get a peek into a job you’re interested in. Haven’t heard back from a company you emailed weeks ago? Submitted an online application and you still haven’t gotten a phone call in return? Visited a place only to be told you weren’t their exact fit? The pressure of feeling like you need to hold an internship to distinguish you from your peers or “gain an upper foot in life” can be overwhelming. Even if it may seem that doors are being shut, remember that other opportunities are out there. Not scoring a job or internship right away may be a blessing in disguise. Don’t feel pressured to start working right away. If you’re trying to cram work into your schedule, chances are you’ll suffer from major burn out. Having more time in your schedule is something we all need!
Perhaps you’ve worked up the courage to take initiative and ask a guy out. Things didn’t go as planned, though, and he turned down your offer. Maybe you started freshman year thinking that you were going to become best friends with your roommate but found out that she was more intent on spending her free time elsewhere. When the word “rejection” comes to mind, many people associate it with relationships and even friendships. Rejection in this sense is definitely difficult, especially because you expect the other person to be as equally invested. You may feel hurt when it isn’t reciprocated the same way. Remember that it’s natural not to click with everyone you meet and that one person shouldn’t change who you are. Join an organization or a club to meet like-minded people! Invest in other people that bring out the best in you. Don’t try to confront someone and demand to reason with them because you won’t accomplish anything, and you can risk even more hurt feelings.
Taking Time to Recover
Many people deal with rejection differently. Some may have an initial reaction of anger. Others might feel sad. Don’t try to hide these emotions. People don’t expect you to bounce back from rejection immediately. Don’t try to plaster a fake smile on and adopt a bubbly outlook right away, because it will only make recovery harder. Take a walk outside or find a quiet corner to sit with yourself. Take a few days to reflect on the situation and process your own thoughts. If you need to, ask others for some space. Something that could be helpful is to write everything out on paper. Carve out some time in your schedule to stop for a moment and write down the things that are flying through your head. You can keep these thoughts private, but feel free to share with others if you want to.
Surround yourself with others
After you’ve given yourself enough time to think about things, find people that make you happy. Surround yourself with the people in your life that bring you up. Try your best to push out negative thoughts that may creep into your head. All the “what-if’s” and self-doubt will get you nowhere and will leave you feeling down. Your friends can help you get through the tough times by being there to lend an ear or encourage you. Remember that rejection is only temporary and one closed door is not – and should not be – a definition of your entire life or a summary of who you are.
Bonnie is an aspiring journalist born and raised in the Los Angeles area. She is the founder of www.twentyoneshatteredmirrors.org which is a site that aims at spreading awareness about depression, self-harm, eating disorders, and substance abuse among teens. She has an affinity for info-graphics, neutrals, YouTube and handwritten letters. If she won a million dollars she’d most likely spend it on fresh flowers and Target beauty products. You can find her on Twitter (@bonniegracewong) and Pinterest (@bonniegwong)