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"I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." -The Little Engine That Could

“Rejection emails suck.”

on March 29, 2013

One of my best friends sent me a text that read “Rejection emails suck.”  She had just gotten the news that, despite a wonderful interview, she was not going to get the summer internship she hoped for.  She’s right, rejection letters really suck.

“I really wish I was less of a thinking man and more of a fool not afraid of rejection” –Billy Joel

Recently, I viewed the movie Admission, starring Tina Fey who plays a Princeton Admission Officer.  This movie struck a chord with me, because when I was applying for undergraduate studies, Princeton was the only school (of 8) to send me a thin envelope.  I knew the rejection letter was coming, because like the movie, the guy who interviewed me was a jerk.  The rejection letter wasn’t a surprise, but it did ruin my day.

“I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going rather than retreat.” –Sylvester Stallone

When I applied to graduate school, I got a second rejection letter form Princeton (and several other schools).  Every time I got one of those letters it ruined my whole day.  I knew that most of the programs were a long shot, but it’s hard not to feel slighted when you know you’re a good candidate.

“You get used to rejection, and you don’t take it personally.” –Daniel Craig

I got another rejection letter today.  By now I’ve gotten a lot of them, and it still sucks.  Somehow it doesn’t ruin my whole day anymore.  I’ve learned that things tend to work out in the end.  I might not end up where I hoped to or expected to, but it’s usually for a good reason.  Plus, when I get a thick envelope, or a detailed email with an offer instead of a “click here for your admission decision” email, all of the joy and anticipation erases the rest.

“A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.” — Bo Bennett

Our parents had the right intentions when they told us to chase our dreams.  Their biggest fault might be not pushing us to fail more often.  Learning to embrace rejection and failure as a necessary step in the pursuit of success is a hard lesson to learn and one that takes practice, but by many accounts these are the most valuable life experiences.

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