Rejection is something we all like to talk about after the success is final, and carved in stone. Yet, to overlook this very real part of life is to fundamentally ignore a universal human experience. Whether we’d like to admit it or not, rejection comes in waves throughout our life. When we’re a child, rejection feels a whole lot like getting picked last for the sports team. As we get older, it tends to manifest in things like not getting a job or asked out on a date. I guess it doesn’t really matter how we experience it, it’s just important that we recognise everyone else does too.
Being a recent unemployed grad is never easy, but throw in a pandemic and economic crisis and it feels a whole lot like treading water… fully clothed…in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. There was never a zoom graduation, never mind a real one, to signify the end of this important chapter in your life. You can’t fill your time socialising with friends because to do so is practically illegal, so you’re basically face-timing anyone who will pick up the phone, or wallowing alone. And don’t even get me started on the existential dread you feel when someone asks you what you’re doing now you’ve “entered the real world.” To put it bluntly – without, y’know, putting it too bluntly – it’s kinda grim, and before you know it you’ll be wishing you had your essay deadlines back. But before you panic apply for a PhD *looks at reflection in the mirror,* here are a few more optimistic takes I have on the big R…
What is that cliche phrase people always say? Rejection is Redirection…Well, I hate to break it to all of my fellow ‘glass half empty’ peeps, but it’s kinda true. Sure, it stings. No doubt, it’ll make you want to give up. But it really is a case of not meant to be as opposed to never meant to be.
When I was considering applying for my masters aka ‘greatest year of my life’ (uni work aside), I got shortlisted for an internship. At the time, it was everything I wanted, including paid, and it really hurt to receive the polite, yet no less disappointing, final phone call. I’d accepted my fair share of rejections up until this point, but this was the first time I’d convinced myself I was perfect for the role, and it hit me hard to be told ‘no.’ Yet, following on from this, I decided to take the leap of faith that I hadn’t been willing to before. A month later, I applied for my Publishing masters. Almost four months to the date, I was packed up and ready to go.
In all honesty, I think it’s easier to accept rejection when it influences you to make a positive change. But I don’t think you have to move hours away from home, or search for your perfect rebound, when you fail to get a job offer or your heart gets broken. I just think you have to be willing, and open, to changing the outlook that you perhaps didn’t even know was holding you back. After all, what is meant for you will come to fruition, and this period of uncertainty will eventually pass.