Rejection is something we may hate, but unfortunately we do not have the power to eliminate it from our lives.
I doubt that is another topic that is more relatable, especially during this time of the year, than rejection. It is still winter and in another month or so comes spring. To college students, that often means one thing: time to apply for as many internships as possible so that we can tell our parents and future employers that we were not sitting on our butts for the entire summer. I personally have probably applied to anywhere from 50 to 70 positions at this point. As many college students know, after applying to 15-20, it becomes difficult to keep count.
What is easy to count is the number of emails or phone calls one receives asking for initial interviews and follow-up interviews. This number is usually quite small, and is generally reduced even further for those who do not have any connections through family, friends or sixth cousins twice removed who they have not spoken to in over 10 years.
I am one of these people, which means I have to fend for myself like many others, which leads to a great deal of rejection. My roommate and I have both recieved rejections within two days of our applications being sent out, accompanied by the intended heartfelt message of, “after careful consideration of your application, we have decided to move forward with other candidates.” My roommate and I thought, how carefully did they really look at our applications? Rejection has become so common, my roommate and I made an agreement with each other. The agreement goes like this: if two days go by and neither of us receive emails rejecting our applications for internships, that is a moral victory.
Due to the intense competition for an internship, I applied with my father to be head tennis pros together at my local club in a suburb of New Jersey, something I believed would be a safety net for me if none of the internships I continue to apply for come through. At that moment, I thought we had a decent shot. My father taught my whole family (including me) how to play tennis, and had extensive experience teaching at a tennis club in a different suburb of northern New Jersey. In addition, I taught at various clubs for the past four summers and even brought my own tennis teaching business to 20 clients this past summer after beginning that entrepreneurial venture my senior year of high school.
I grew up in northern New Jersey and know from personal experience that it is extremely difficult to find good (not even great, but just good) tennis instruction in that area without the privilege of a private coach known through connections or having one within the family (as I had with my father). So, through a series of interviews with a committee, my father and I expressed our enthusiasm in becoming the potential head pros of this tennis club and bringing our knowledge and expertise to its members.
However, soon after, I received a text message from my father that out of six candidates, we placed second in the race, and ultimately did not make the final cut to become the head pros. Never did I truly believe that I was going to be rejected from what I thought not only to be my safety net, but something that my father and I were both quite passionate about and something that we were quite good at.
We all know it. Rejection sucks. There is no sufficient argument that can adequately refute that claim. Even with the plethora of rejection emails I receive each week, I still manage to apply to new positions every day, as I advise that any wise college student should. It is essential that we, as human-beings, stay grounded and not let these rejections get the best of us.
As most encouraging parents say and something everyone has probably heard before, “you only need one.” As annoying as that can be to hear after more and more rejections, that is also something in which there is no sufficient argument to adequately refute.