In 2016, I was 19 years old and hit with back-to-back-to-back rejection from both Clemson University and a boy who I thought was my “forever.” It was hard. I had never had to deal with being told I wasn’t good enough before (to this extent). In a way, that affected my future, and I definitely didn’t know how to handle it. As a result, I became mildly depressed and very anxious about almost every aspect of my life. This was not how I imagined my life going.
I am a transfer student at Clemson University now. I was rejected from the school twice; once for my grades and the second time because of a “red flag” the system saw about my grades that resulted in an automatic rejection. On the second time, I appealed. The university didn’t know me, and the university didn’t know my story. When I appealed to tell the side that the judges weren’t aware of, that was a turning point for me. Shortly after, I was accepted, and I thought my life was going to be perfect again! I had everything back on track.
At the same time as my rejections from Clemson University, I was also dealing with a one-sided, heartbreaking break up with my high school boyfriend, who I thought I was going to marry at the time (Thank God that didn’t happen!). It was one of those situations where the relationship was over, but I was too blind to see it. So, I was constantly being rejected over and over again by someone I thought I loved. One day, I woke up, and I’d finally had enough. I didn’t text him to see if he would text me as he promised, and he didn’t. I learned something then, too. If things are meant to be, they will be, but when you’re trying to force something or someone to be your life, they’re getting in the way of something better to come.
Who knew rejection could have such an impact on a person’s life? Although this is not the path I would have chosen for myself, I can now say, 3 years later, I’m where I’m supposed to be with the people I’m supposed to be with, and I’ve never been happier. I’m in my 5th year of college (which sucks but is okay). I’ve also met the man of my dreams, and I could never have imagined being this in love. Rejection’s a part of life, but it doesn’t have to define our lives. Sometimes, we just have to try harder to get what we want and create a new game plan, all while giving it time to work itself out. We’ll all end up where we are supposed to be.
Below are the very valuable lessons I’ve learned:
- It was HARD.
I had never felt more desire to give up in my life and settle for a career path I knew I didn’t want than when that second rejection letter came in the mail. Instead, I used it as motivation. I still have those two letters in my desk now to remind me to push through no matter what.
- It takes time.
It took me about 2 years to get everything figured out. This was hard for me to grasp. I wanted a quick and easy fix, but in life, quick and easy is usually the stuff that breaks first.
- What is coming is better than what you wanted.
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. If I wasn’t rejected that first time, I would have never met my current roommates who are now more than best friends to me. I consider them my sisters. If not for that second rejection, I would have never met the friend group that led me to boyfriend now.
- Be thankful.
Even though I didn’t picture myself being here, I’m thankful because this experience has made me who I am and gave me insight into something not everyone has experienced. This has led me to be able to help others with the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
- There will be speedbumps, and it’s okay to be sad about it.
So many times along the way, something doesn’t go right, or something unexpected happens and delays everything. Yeah, it sucks. But it’s perfectly okay to be sad about it or even to cry about it. I personally treat myself to Chick-Fil-A, even though I know I should save my money. It is NOT okay to be so sad that you self-sabotage. You’ve got to keep going and change your plans as needed. One day, you will achieve your goal. To be honest, your goal may not be the same goal you started out with, and that’s okay, too!