Saturday, 1 December 2012

Dealing with the Dodos of Rejection

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


  1. Ah, rejection. We clash big time. But! That is super wonderful aweosme news about all those yeses! I mean...WOW! I really like your last 2 paragraphs, just really encouraging actually. I'm glad your soul and confidence is still intact. So now it's choosing time??

    1. It'll be choosing time after Oxford say yes or no after interview, but . . . yeah. Not long now.

      I'm glad those last paragraphs were helpful to you, too :)

  2. Oxford?! That's like... that's so... She is one of great intellect! Be awed, all thou mere mortals! Good luck with your interview! :)

    1. Thank you! I may need it. I may not be mortal, but university dons are MORE than scary to me! xD

  3. Cun-GRAH-tyoo-LAY-shuns! I thought from the title that you had been rejected by every university you had applied to... I don't seem to have much faith in you. Sorry. But anyway, I'm happy to have been proved wrong!

    But you'd better watch yourself. Oxford probably doesn't appreciate being called a window instead of a door.

    1. Ahehehehe, sorry. I just wanted dodos in the title :P

      Heh heh, I'm referring to windows and doors in a general sense. I think we can ascertain that my one rejection was far from a big blow after the others. I was aiming for use in a more metaphorical sense away from my own narcisissm ;)

  4. You omitted the fact that you were at mine when the Oxford email came through... :D

    1. I did! Oh my gosh, how terrible of me! Naughty Charley :P

  5. Oxford! That is exciting!

  6. *giggles* "Rejection may shut a door in your face, but it rarely thinks about the windows." *giggles* that my dear is a totally awesome line. Loe it!

    And now the rest of my thought train has gone home and I have to wait until my hubby picks me up to go after it *sigh*

    I was such a low stress person when it came to college/university. I looked at three places applied to two (becasue I didn't want to do the essay for the third) and got in to both of them... of course neither were very lofty school such as the one's you've applied to. Nope, one an art school out in the midwest (near my grandparents) and the other a state school that said they'd pay a portion of my tuition if I went there (probably because my SAT scores would make them look good....) *eyeroll*

    Sill Congratualtions and Good Luck! I hope that interview went well for you. :}

  7. It's our private stockpile! For when we're forced under the ice for a million billion years!
    ...And you got three melons?
    If you weren't smart enough to plan ahead, then DOOM ON YOU!

    ...Sorry. Just had to get that out. Anyway. CONGRATULATIONS! My friend's older sister has just finished the laborious process of going down to Oxford (twice) to be interviewed for English! If you both get in (which is very likely) then we'll have a mutual acquaintance! Hehehe! (I find the thought of meeting/hearing of someone I know from the blogosphere highly amusing.)

    OH, and by the way: remember how a while ago you bestowed a cruel and thoughtless award on us, your poor unprepared followers? Well - I'm throwing it right back at ya! Didn't see that one coming DID you?! ~wicked grin~