Rejection is a large part of life, and being a senior in high school with your knees deep in university applications can bring you your fair share of rejection if you venture out far enough. I applied to six schools, and unfortunately, I did not get the answer that I so desperately wanted from all of them. The one solid rejection I did receive (not including being waitlisted) was absolutely gut-wrenching.
One year ago today I received an email that no high school senior wants in his or her email’s inbox.
That email was one of the best things that could have ever happened to me.
In the fall of my senior year I had my plate full with a smattering of college applications, a varsity sports team, involvement in the theatre, a relationship, a youth group, and my school’s Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs. Between the beginning of October and end of December I filled out about 7 applications and submitted 6. I wrote common application essays, additional writing supplements, and a personal statement. I solicited teacher recommendations. I participated in world literature panel discussions and biology labs and everything in between. I took the SAT twice. I was counting out all of my service hours. I went to college interviews and scholarship competitions.
However, even when you do what feels like everything, that doesn’t guarantee you that coveted spot at the university you so passionately imagine yourself attending.
That was my case. My early decision application, AP scores, and interview just weren’t enough and there was another qualified applicant which the admissions office thought would fit in on that campus just a little bit more. And that is okay.
Being on the receiving end of that dreaded rejection (or waitlist) email is not a reflection of you as a person, nor is it necessarily because you wouldn’t have been a successful student at that particular university. Sometimes it just happens. And that is okay.
Looking back now, I can still remember the sting that opening the email inflicted upon me and my pride. It was absolutely dreadful. That thing that I wanted and craved so badly simply wasn’t going to work out. It was not meant to be.
Here we are now. One year out. One year away from that day and my life is a million times more exciting and happy than I genuinely believe it would’ve been had I gotten the response that I longed to read. I needed that rejection email.
Dealing with the rejection and knowing that the door was closed at that particular institution made my acceptance to my current university so much better.
I am happy where I am now. There are endless opportunities for me every single day. By that I mean my day can go whatever way I please. I take the tube to class. How many freshmen can say that? I could hop on a morning train to Stonehenge or Shakespeare’s birthplace on any given Saturday. I can just pop into the British Museum or the Victoria and Albert or any other number of world class learning and cultural institutions spread out across the city. When I come home at night I hear Russian and French in the rooms next to me, sometimes even Swiss-German. It’s an experience incredibly unique to itself.
My point in saying all of this is that if there are any current seniors (from my alma mater or elsewhere) reading this that are waiting on those emails to start coming back in, please take some deep breaths, however hard that may be. I promise that even if things don’t look the way you want or expected at first glance, they have a way of working themselves out. Trust me.