Embracing Failure

Yesterday I got rejected. I opened my email and found out I did not get a writing position that I had wanted really badly. Immediately, my heart sank and I felt crushed. Rejection truly does sting. I was on campus having a pretty good day, but all of a sudden it was as if I resorted to age 7, where all I wanted to do was go home and crawl under the covers. Funny how a simple email could do that to a person.

I called my family and the BF and confided in them how crummy I felt. That helped a bit. However, I initially did not feel comfortable opening up about this rejection to anyone else. Isn’t it strange how we can’t wait to tell everyone the moment something good happens to us and we plaster our successes all over every social media outlet, but the second a failure happens, we close up? We keep failure within ourselves, or confined to a small circle of confidants. No one posts about a rejection on their Facebook status.

But we should. We should embrace the failure as a chance to grow. As a chance to get stronger. As a chance to become better.

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As the day went on, I began to count my “wins.” These are seemingly small things that sometimes get overlooked by the “losses” that seem humongous. A student went out of his way to tell me how much my review session helped him on the exam (win). I didn’t have to bike in the rain (win). I was having a good hair day (win). I needed to not allow this “loss” to make me lose sight of the “wins.”

I opened up about this rejection to my professor, my lab group, and my friends in my program. I was overwhelmed by the amount of support I received. The “loss” became a lot smaller as I changed my mental mindset to realizing not getting this opportunity was going to teach me more than actually getting the opportunity itself. I am embarking on a career path where rejections and failures are commonplace. I am no stranger to rejection, but embracing the failure is something my perfectionist self still needs to work on. Not getting this position doesn’t mean there’s something internally wrong with me, but just that I wasn’t the best candidate for the job. Now, I can work on becoming a stronger applicant for future endeavors.

I have a rejection to thank for that.

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