Many people fear rejection, and the threat of not getting into a top school looms large for many students when they are applying. The slippery slope of questions around rejection abound: What will I do if I don’t get into a good school? What will my friends think? How will I be successful? How will I get into med school? Will I have to live in my parents’ basement for the rest of my life?
It is crucial in times of potential rejection to remember that rejection isn’t permanent! There are countless examples of others who faced rejection on their way to long-term, substantial success. These seemingly unrelated stories actually can teach us lessons useful for the college application process.
For instance, before they made it big, The Beatles were rejected by Decca recording studios with the comment, “The Beatles have no future in show business,” and “guitar groups are on the way out.” Undaunted, they went on to sign with another label and have sold 178 million albums to date.
Another example of success despite initial rejection is Harry Potter’s author, J. K. Rowling, who wrote the first book of the series while on welfare. If her situation weren’t enough of an obstacle, Rowling endured the emotional roller coaster of rejection from 12 publishing houses before landing a book deal, but has since netted almost $1 billion in income from the series of books and movies.
Lastly, the story of Fred Smith is likely lesser known by name, but remains impressive when considering the obstacle of rejection. While in college, Fred wrote a paper proposing major innovations in shipping products, but his professor gave him a “C” because he claimed the idea lacked practicality. Despite this rejection, Fred went on to start a business called Federal Express, which we now know as FedEx, the industry leader in shipping packages all over the world.
What these three examples demonstrate is that rejection isn’t permanent. Each chose to continue auditioning, submitting, and building until they realized the goal they sought… and it became much more than they had imagined.
How does this relate to applying to college? You must remember that rejection isn’t permanent and that your quest to find the perfect college for you may include trial and error. Just remember the Beatles, and you’ll keep rejection in its proper place.
What rejection/victory stories hit home for you? Who do you know (of) who was initially rejected but bounced back to achieve their goals? What can you learn from them? Share one of your favorite stories – whether someone famous or someone you know – to help others remember that rejection isn’t permanent!