Rejection & How to Overcome It

Rejection sucks. No one enjoys the feeling of rejection and that’s a fact. We all experience some form of rejection in our lives, whether it’s in relationships, our career or academically. While the pain associated with any type of rejection may cause us to take a step back, here’s why you should take a step forward.


Recently, I faced an academic form of rejection. I wasn’t chosen for a scholarship which I was sure I would have been awarded (ah, yes, how vain of me to think highly of my qualifications. Sorry not sorry). Well, guess what happened (even though I just told you)? I didn’t get it. Now, this did not make me feel horrible about myself. I didn’t cry myself to sleep. Instead, I understand that rejection is just something successful people have to endure. It’s a part of the process. For me, the process is that of going to grad school — and rejection is just one of the expected obstacles. Rather than feeling sorry for myself, I quickly emailed back my interviewee and requested an appointment to go over what exactly went wrong. Essentially, I wanted to hear constructive criticism. Now, why am I telling you this? Well, I want to show you how you should approach rejection. Rather than sinking into sorrow, think of rejection as an opportunity to create a better you, a better resume or a better vision of yourself or company.

Now, the first step to overcome rejection is to understand that you are amazing. You are capable of everything and anything. You have the potential to achieve whatever goal you desire. Once you tell yourself this, you can then treat rejection as a “challenge” rather than viewing it negatively. Think of rejection as a playful invitation to try harder. Going back to my story, I know I’m a great student. I have a 4.0 GPA, hold multiple leadership positions, conduct research and all that grad school type of stuff. I love the type of student I am. Now, try to think of why you were rejected. Is it because you lack experience in the position you applied for? Is it because you didn’t have the required test scores? Whatever it is, figure it out or try to form a general idea of what it could have been. Once you identify it, formulate ways you can improve that area. Make lists, draw pictures, anything that helps you develop a strategy. Basically, you’re identifying an area of concern and developing a solution. After all, that stuff, treat it as a goal. Make sure it’s clear, specific and reasonable. For example, my goal is to hold a leadership position in the leadership program I’m in. How will I do this? Well, I need to fill out an online form and submit it by the deadline, get interviewed and then do the best I can in fulfilling the duties my future role requires. After you have identified what caused you to get rejected and you made some sort of game plan to tackle it, you should feel much better. You are now taking action that will open up much better doors for you in whatever it is that you were initially aiming for.

Lastly, don’t ever take it too hard. Rejection is often never personal, especially if it’s academic or career-related (I can’t help y’all much with relationships). This is an opportunity for you to strive for something much better, so don’t shut yourself down. Instead, remind yourself about how awesome you are. Start with your achievements — recent or older — and think about the unique experiences that you have had. Also, treat yourself to some self-care time. Not only will your skin thank you for it, but so will your mental health. So relax, you did your best and if you didn’t, that is okay. There is always another opportunity.

Girls in the sunset Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash