On a daily basis, we are all told “no.” These can be more simple no’s like “no, you can’t buy that” or “no, we can’t get food.” Sometimes, there are the harder “no’s” like getting rejected from your dream university or not obtaining that job that you really wanted. Hearing the word “no” can truly be devastating, but I have chosen to turn hearing the word “no” into an opportunity. Taking something that can be really devastating and instead, choosing to turn it into a positive situation is a sign of strength and gives you a chance to show that person why they should have said yes.
A few weeks ago, I submitted an application for an internship that I felt I was very fit for. As a sophomore, it can be extremely difficult to find internship opportunities due to the majority of employers looking for juniors. I took my cover letter and resume to UNCG Career Services, had multiple people look over it, and submitted it after two weeks. In all honesty, I thought I had a decent chance of moving on to the interview round despite the overwhelming number of applicants. During a dinner one evening, I saw the notification of an email from the recruiting team that started out with the stereotypical “we regret to inform you…” and I could not believe it. I received the rejection about five days after submitting the application and it initially made me quite distraught. However, instead of looking at this rejection as a time to be beside myself, I am looking at this as an opportunity to learn and further strive for a higher quality of excellence. Obviously, we all have feelings and it is perfectly fine to let things like this negatively affect you for a little. However, if we constantly harp on our failures and never appreciate our successes, we remain under constant duress without room for important.
Each and every day, we all use the excuse that “we are too busy” or “do not have time.” If you looked at my current Google Calendar schedule, you would think “Lauren, how do you have time to do “better?” Well, despite being busy almost 24/7, I know that I can always do better. After the rejection letter came into my inbox, I have continued to apply for internships, more campus activities, and I will never let this road bump phase me. I have always taken on the philosophy that “everything happens for a reason” and I carry that same philosophy over to my thoughts on rejection. Even though getting rejected can seem like the worst thing in the world initially, it really can open more doors than you would ever think.
One of my prime examples of how rejection opens doors is my college application experience. Initially, I thought that I wanted to go to an out-of-state university and I was really in the mood for something new. My dream school was located in Washington D.C. With my grades from high school, I knew that getting into the school would be a long shot and I ended up being rejected. It was hard for me to take this since it determined the next four years of my life. On a whim, I toured UNC Greensboro and immediately fell in love with the campus. I applied and thankfully, I was accepted. Once I accepted my offer of admission and got on campus, I got involved in Student Government right away and realized that I could not have gone to any other school. If you had told me in my sophomore year of high school that I would be going to college in the city that I was born in, I would never believe you. I have been at UNC Greensboro for the past two years and have had some of the most incredible opportunities that I could not have achieved at any other university. This story is proof that rejection can open doors even if you do not see it at that given time. Without the rejection from my dream school in Washington D.C., I would not have even considered my current university and I would not be even writing this article for you today.
Next time you are faced with an obstacle, I challenge you to look at it as an opportunity. Changing your mindset can be difficult at first and it is perfectly okay to let rejection phase you a little bit. However, harping on something like that when the company is not even thinking about you is not a worthwhile use of time. In the time that you have spent being sad, you could have been writing more cover letters or applying for more internships or jobs. The characteristic of grit and not letting the word “no” effect you can be two very hard things to master. Trust me, it has been hard for me too. But, I promise that if you decide to take on this mindset, it will reward you in the end. Show people why they should not have rejected you. Show people what you are capable of and most importantly, carry your rejection as a piece of your life but absolutely never let it define you. Ever.