Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Lesson In Rejection

A couple years ago, I had applied to graduate school in hopes of pursuing a masters that would allow me to become a more credible journalist and gain an edge on chasing the "adjunct professor" status that I always dreamed about in college.

You see, I wanted to be so good at what I did that I would be able to teach what I learned to eager students wanting to pursue this field. And after visiting the school and being in complete awe of it all, I was set. Ready to get the acceptance letter in the mail, I carried on about my business.

Then in true deja vu fashion, a letter appeared in the mail. I didn't open it for a couple of hours because just the thought of my future lying in a single article of paper, frightened me a bit. After consulting the powers to be: I opened it.

Lo and behold, it was exactly what I didn't imagine. The Rejection Letter was signed, sealed and delivered to scrutinize my efforts and send me in a loop.

What's the lesson here? Well, the cliche goes- you've got to learn from your mistakes. I directed those exact questions to the admissions office. They wrote me back in a way that reminded me of a high school Varsity coach who knew I needed a few tweaks before I could advance from Junior Varsity status.

With that, here's what I gained:

  • I knew exactly what my weaknesses were in a candidate that they were looking for. Using that to my advantage, I took classes at a ranked university that would refresh my game and challenge myself academically. Being a better all-around writer? Check.
  • I saw the bigger picture of keeping "options" available. Yes, one has Plan A and there shouldn't be a Plan B, otherwise the initial plan would seem to not take precedence. Wrong. If one puts 110% effort into Plan A as humanly possible, then maybe having a Plan B wouldn't hurt. Again, opening a pathway to growing and being adaptable to one's changing state of mind and environment.
  • Better opportunities around the corner. My high-school mentor, whom I still converse with today and who actually helped me recognize my college major, always said, "Rejection is a form of protection." I believe such a rejection strengthened my own will to succeed, motivated myself to not give up and overall gained me the advantage to be a better candidate for the next opportunity I found myself applicable for. 

Whatever it is you're considering, take that leap of faith. Discuss with those whose feedback you value, then do it. Just do it. (Like my former Nike girl plug?) Whatever you might lose, the gain is even better.

Signing off,

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