I've not talked about it much, so it'll probably be news to the majority of you that I sent out my applications to five universities this October, and have since been waiting on their replies. Long before that, though, the school organised innumerable lectures and workshops and discussions preparing us to jump through the neccessary hoops with enough of a flourish in order to give us the best chance of success.
It's been long, and sometimes a bit traumatic - especially with regard to past exam results that really didn't go according to plan, as well as fears over lack of work experience and general feelings of personal inadequacy - but we're coming towards the time of year when the offers start coming back, and everything comes into a new perspective.
I've been very lucky.
Within two weeks of sending off my application, one of my top universities wrote back to me with a conditional offer of three A grades. I was ecstatic, not only because this offer was lower than most and well within my capabilities, but also because the university in question usually takes a decade and a half to get back to people. I was the first person in the year to get an offer.
This was followed a couple of weeks later by another offer, with even lower grade boundaries and - joy of joys - an interest in the 6,000+ word essay I spent four weeks of my summer holiday slaving away over.
Then the pinnacle of my joy: a third offer, this time from one of my most coveted university places.
And then Oxford University called me for interview.
Angels on clouds of glory, sunbursts, supernovas and an en-masse singing of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' could not have dampened my spirits in that glorious moment.
My successes with the other universities gave me a momentous boost in confidence. Oxford were interested! Other universities were too! I was an attractive prospect! I was wanted! I could do this!
Then the fourth university came back. "Application Unsuccessful".
To be honest, it wasn't that big a blow. This university had been somewhat lower down on my scale of preference, and to be honest I'd already got three fantastic offers at my back, so this last one was hardly the end of the world.
The fact that the "doom on you!" chant from the dodos in "Ice Age" kept running through my head as I read the confirmation letter certainly didn't help the expected gravitas of the moment either.
However, I do not doubt that, had that rejection come earlier in the process, I would not have coped half as well as I did. University application was a prospect every bit as terrifying as sticking my head into the jaws of a dragon to hunt for tooth cavities, and at least the dragon wouldn't have destroyed my soul and confidence before ending my life.
Rejection itself is not the issue. It's the knock to confidence, to self-esteem, to the belief that what you are doing is the right thing. It's like waking up one morning to find your brand new bicycle has been stepped on by a rampaging gorilla, and being left to mourn over the mangled remains.
But rejection can only do this to you if you let it. You don't have to be a hard-shelled sarcastic pessimist who prepares themself for rejection even before they've set about the endeavour itself. If we don't hope for things, then not only are we ever unlikely to try for them, but we'll never understand the satisfaction of typerventilating your excitement to your friends over Skype.
Rejection may shut a door in your face, but it rarely thinks about the windows.
~ Charley R