When I was applying to colleges in 2020, I had my heart set on New York University. I wanted to be exposed to the classes and culture. I wanted to live in New York City to be in the hub of art and culture. With its acceptance rate being the lowest it had ever been, I didn’t get in and I was devastated. 

So instead, I set my eyes on Fordham University, which was still in New York, but not with everything I wanted. The best part about this school, though, was the fact that I got in. Within days of learning about my acceptance, I already had everything planned outmy major, my minor and classes I was interested in taking. However, a week later, I received my financial aid package and this dream slowly fell apart. They were expecting me to pay upwards of $80,000 per year. 

It took me weeks to get over it, and I eventually ended up taking a gap semester before ending up at UMass Boston. This rollercoaster of rejection is familiar to almost every college student due to the path we had to take to become students. This wasn’t our first experience with rejection, and it most definitely won’t be our last. When looking for jobs, internships or even just looking at classes to take, we will be faced with the possibility of not getting the position.

As difficult as it is to get turned down for something you were really looking forward to, rejection is an unavoidable part of life, and you should be proud of yourself for even making the effort. First, take time to allow yourself to feel the emotions that come with rejection. It’s okay to feel disappointed, upset or frustrated. These are natural reactions to the situation so don’t beat yourself up about feeling down. 

Next, turn the rejection into a learning opportunity. I have a friend who hangs up all past rejection letters from jobs or scholarships, just so she can see how far she has come. With every rejection comes a time for personal self-growth. Maybe the job wasn’t a good fit, or maybe the person that you wanted to be with didn’t share the same feelings. 

Either way, what is meant for you will come to you. Don’t force yourself to fit into the perfect mold of whatever someone else was looking for because then you won’t be yourself. You deserve to get a position that fits who you are and to be with a person who returns your sentiments. 

Sometimes the rejection isn’t even about you. It’s not the fact that they don’t like you. It could be just the circumstances. Internalizing rejection can lead to a severe mental decline over something that may not be related to you. Maybe the job found someone more qualified, or the person you wanted to be with wasn’t in the right headspace to be in a relationship. It is completely impossible to understand everything that was factored into the outcome, so don’t twist yourself over the possibilities of what could have happened. 

Don’t let this setback hold you back from future possibilities. Continue applying yourself until you find what you are looking for. If possible, ask for feedback. Email the hiring manager of the position you were applying for and ask what would help for future applications. They might give you some things to work on that will help for future roles. 

Mostly, just be kind to yourself. Rejection can be super useful in times of self-improvement and will eventually work out for the better, even if it doesn’t look like it now.

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