How to Cope with Non-Relationship Rejection in College

Rejection sucks, especially from jobs, internships, organizations, and leadership positions. I’ve had my fair share of rejection from all of these things and it’s not fun. Additionally, I feel like no one talks about this type of rejection. A lot of people have experienced a breakup and there’s a lot of resources and ways to cope with this heartbreak. However, what about the other type of heartbreak I just mentioned? How do you deal with this? Here are some things I’ve learned along the way and suggestions on how to cope.

Jobs and Internships

Ugh... If you’ve ever tried to find a job, either on-campus or entry level, or an internship, you know it’s a process to say the least. Fine-tuning your resume, writing cover letters, and actually applying is a long, tedious process that seems to never end. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get an interview, which you then have to prepare for. And if the interview isn’t successful, it seems like the whole process was pointless.

How to cope: First of all, this process isn’t completely pointless. Every interview you get is more practice. Also, it’s rare that you’ll receive a job/internship the first place you apply.

One of the most notable pieces of advice I received from a professional was that you will not be right for every company. Whether this is because of your skills or personality, it’s important to recognize that there’s not much you can do about the company’s decision not to hire you. If they don’t think you would fit with their culture, then you probably wouldn’t. Plus, why would you want to work for a company that doesn’t realize how great you are?! It really is important that you find a job/internship that is right for you and caters to your strengths. If you were uncomfortable at a company, you wouldn’t perform your best anyway. So it may just take you more time and effort to find something that’s right for you, but know that it is all worth it in the end. Also, visit your career development office to review your resume and cover letters and see if there’s anything else you can be doing to increase your chances of receiving an offer.

 

Organizations

No matter your major, you are probably constantly told to join clubs and organizations. In some cases, these may be organizations that have some barrier to entry. Whether you need a certain GPA and have to interview to get into the club or you have to go through recruitment and receive a bid from a greek organization, you may not be invited to join the organization, and it sucks.

How to cope: Again, this goes back to fit. If the members of the organization don’t think that you’ll fit in the organization, then why would you want to be part of the organization? You shouldn’t be sad about people who do not recognize how amazing and great you are! There’s nothing wrong with searching around for a couple semesters until you find an organization that’s for you. In the meantime, join organizations that don’t have requirements for membership because you can still gain plenty of experience and friendships from them.

 

Leadership Positions

There is also a lot of pressure from employers to hold leadership positions in clubs and organizations, and unfortunately, it may be easier for some people to get leadership positions than others. And if you’re like me and it’s difficult for you to get leadership positions, you can feel immense pressure and guilt for not having one. If you aren’t elected to a leadership position in a club, it often feels like betrayal since these are your peers interviewing and electing you.

How to cope: Lucky for you, I have some ways to cope with this. Consider asking the peers who interviewed you why you did not get elected so that you know what to work on for next time. And even if you don’t have a leadership position, you can still be a leader. Stepping up in times you don’t need to will get you noticed, and this, in fact, is leadership. You will be noticed more in the club and then possibly be elected to a leadership position in the future. Also, you can explain in an interview that you stepped up when you were not required to do so and took on leadership responsibilities. Additionally, new clubs start on campus all the time. These clubs should be easy to get a leadership position in because they need a lot of people to get the club up and running. So, consider joining these clubs and get on that exec board! Lastly, keep in mind that rejection makes you stronger and forces you to be more articulate and confident when presenting your qualifications for positions.

 

You may be rejected many times but just know that when you try and attempt things, you are already halfway there to accomplishing them. Rejection makes you stronger and work harder for the things you want, which is an excellent thing! Also, everyone has been rejected at one point or another, you may just not know it.

 

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