Club recruitment season has rolled around again, permeating a faint nervousness masked under the veneer of a confident “I have all my sh*t together” student mentality. As much as we say, “It’s whatever–it’s just a club,” far too many of us have been clutching our phones in anticipation of an interview callback. I, too, have been there–seeking validation in the fact that I was one of 10 applicants (from a pool of however many) to be selected. And the truth is, it’s only natural.
Especially at a place like Berkeley, where everyone is constantly chasing visions and ambitions larger than themselves, it is reassuring to know that you were selected. You beat someone, and you rose above. At a place where your insignificance is constantly reinforced, making it in becomes the only rational reassurance that you’re “doing OK” and “on track for success.”
But what happens when you’re not selected? Does that make you any less? Will you ever be able to land that dream internship? Far too many of us have been there, and I am here to tell you that pinning your worth on a club is complete bullsh*t.
This semester, for the first time, I found myself on the other side of the interview table. Me, a sophomore who does not have her life together by any means, deciding who makes the cut and who doesn’t. To be entirely honest, I hated every single minute of the process. There are many things that four consecutive hours of interviewing does to a person, one of which is an impairment of judgment.
As much as I tried to maintain a sharp focus on each interviewee, there were still instances when I was distracted. The reason I am emphasizing this is that many people do not realize that the people on the other side of the table are also humans, and humans come with imperfections and biases, none of which are in your control. There is arbitrary randomness that goes into this process, and whilst it is pivotal to work hard and put your best foot forward, there are some factors that are out of your control.
A club rejection is not an accurate representation of your intelligence or capabilities. Rather, it is a moment of recognition that you have stumbled, but are more than capable of standing up and moving on. While this perspective won’t heal the immediate sting of rejection, it is one that will ground you and remind you of your own importance and value.