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There’s no getting around it, dealing with rejection is tough. While some people certainly experience it more often than others, rejection is truly something that everyone can relate to on some level. Honestly, I am personally not great at dealing with rejection. I’ll be the first person to tell you that I do not have the best confidence, and I tend to take negative decisions personally, even though in reality they are often not personal at all. I really was not expecting to have to deal with rejection once I got to college. However, the reality is that rejection happens at all stages of life, and you are never truly past it. It’s important to learn how to deal with rejection, rather than avoiding it.

When faced with rejection, I think it is important to allow yourself to be sad and upset for a period of time. We all have a tendency to deflect when things don’t work out in hopes of preserving our feelings, but honestly, I think it’s important to accept being sad and upset. A tip my parents told me growing up that I truly believe is helpful is to give yourself a set time to be upset, say twenty minutes. Spend those twenty minutes wallowing, crying, whatever, let all your emotions out then. But after those twenty minutes, try to focus more on the future. What can you do better next time? The twenty-minute strategy, though often hard to follow, helps me accept my sad emotions, but doesn’t keep me focused on them.

The next important thing to focus on is trying to grow and improve from this rejection. It is never a bad idea to reach out and ask for feedback and room for improvement. Oftentimes, this can even help you open doors to opportunities that were not available in the first place. Politely reaching out and asking for feedback not only gives you closure, but it can also give you valuable feedback for the future, as well as often signaling maturity.

After being rejected, try to find other opportunities. Just because one thing did not work out does not mean that nothing will. Keep putting yourself out there, and something is bound to work out. Try not to take rejection as a message that you should quit. Many of the most successful people in the world experienced years of rejection before they were able to succeed. Just because something doesn’t work out, don’t give up. Keep trying and I guarantee you will not regret it.

Honestly, some of my most impactful moments of growth have started with moments of rejection. While in many cases, I still wish things went the other way around, these moments of rejection truly allowed me to grow in ways that would not have been possible otherwise. Always try to remember that you have a path, and what you were rejected from may not be that path and that is OK. Though it may be hard to keep up your confidence, when you may feel down the most important thing is to focus on your talents and good qualities. If you keep trying, don’t give up, and try your best to view rejection as redirection, you are bound to succeed.

Lydia Sidrys

Wash U '24

Hi! I am a first-year at WashU from Chicago and am interested in studying International and Area Studies!
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