Dealing with Rejection

April 22, 2016

When I first visited colleges in the summer between my junior and senior years, my head was full of lofty dreams. I could imagine myself walking the campus at Johns Hopkins, or working a double shift at the student-owned bookstore at Georgetown University (in order to pay off my exorbitant tuition costs). In these prestigious places, I believed I could fully reach my potential. So it was absolutely crushing when I received letters of rejection from both institutions. I have now received rejections from multiple other colleges-some expected, others completely unforeseen- and have managed to classify my reaction into several distinct stages. While this list is by no means exhaustive, I believe it can provide a useful guide for anyone, now or later, who is experiencing the same situation.

      First comes the mourning. A staple symptom of this stage is crying profusely. But it’s more than just tears. There’s also the crushing depression that seizes you at the most random moments, convincing you that everything is hopeless and you’ll never achieve anything, but that doesn’t matter because everyone already hates you, so why don’t you just lay in bed until the Second Coming? The duration of this stage largely depends on the desire to attend the unattainable university, and episodes can re-occur long after the sufferer enters later stages.

Next comes the anger. This is typically characterized by a sense of great outrage. Sufferers feel as if there sense of worth has itself been damaged by this rejection. Thoughts along the lines of “How dare they not accept me! Who do they think are? I have a GPA of __!” are common. Episodes can be particularly pronounced if the rejection was unexpected. People attempting to provide emotional support should be aware of potential lashing out.

Anger is quickly followed by bitterness. This stage typically involves a reinflation of the ego. Many rejected applicants begin to believe that the school, which could have been their visualized paradise not two weeks beforehand, is now, upon further examination, simply not good enough for them. Issues that once seemed insignificant are twisted into glaring flaws. Dorms that were neat become dens of uncleanliness; the large, naturally-lit library is re-evaluated as much too bright and open. By rejecting the university that rejected them, the applicant attempts to recover lost self-esteem.

The final stage is acceptance. The rejected applicant comes to terms with their loss of school choice. They realize that despite all their aspirations, it simply was not meant to be. Hopefully, a school has accepted them, and the student can now look towards the bright, infinite future ahead.

I mean, look at me. I’ve been accepted into a renowned university and am completely over my rejections. I can’t even remember why I wanted to attend a school that requires you to take philosophy classes and allows a bulldog to run wild in their dorms. And a motto in both Greek and Latin? If that’s not a synonym for shameless elitism, I don’t know what is.

Okay, maybe still dealing with a little bit of bitterness.

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About the Writer
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Johnny Morreale, Writer

Johnny Morreale is a staff writer for the 2015-16 school year Vandegrift Voice newspaper. He is fond of the written word and reads frequently, though not...

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