As people who have read previous articles of mine will know, I was applying to be a Resident Assistant (RA) at Winona State University next year.
I really wanted this job. I thought I’d be great at it, and all the people I told about it thought the same.
Unfortunately for me, the hall directors didn’t feel the same way.
When decision letters came out at 4 p.m. on March 6—the Friday before our spring break—I was told that I would not be working on the 2020-2021 Housing & Residence Life staff.
I had outgrown living in my wonderful room in Lourdes Hall and was hoping to stay on-campus a little longer as a guide for students who dealt with the issues we all did as freshmen. A smaller factor in that decision was that I was running out of money for my housing.
I didn’t want to live off-campus, even though it was cheaper, because I wanted to be a part of the larger community.
So the rejection letter really sucked.
But once I got over how much that really sucked, I realized that it was just another step. Now, I’m not really an “everything happens for a reason” type of person, especially because I’m not really religious, but I’d been disappointed before.
I have your standard older Gen Z fear of never being good enough, so I tend to overreact to try to be good enough. That leads to its own problems.
But I think I’m starting to get it through my thick skull that I can’t make everybody happy.
Rejection just makes that more clear.
For some people, I’m never going to be good enough.
For some people, I’m not good enough yet.
But I’m choosing to focus on the people who think I’m more than good enough.
My friends have been super supportive through the entire application process (which, as you may know, has spanned from Oct. 8 to March 6 for me). They dealt with the constant networking that came with me trying to get to know the staff. They dealt with me laying on the floor at 2 a.m. trying to write my cover letter. Some of them even dealt with strict “Don’t bother that poor boy” rules where I wasn’t “allowed” to talk to the really cute RA for fear that I’d say the wrong thing and embarrass all of us.
But I should have never prioritized an application and my own reputation over my friends who were just trying their best.
So what have I learned from rejection?
Love yourself and love your friends, even though no one is perfect. Love them anyway…
…because the people who think you’re worth it deserve the same.