This Just In: Not You – Accepting Rejection


I spent almost the whole month of April feeling anxious about my future.

With all of the admission letters my friends were posting on their social media. I was super worried because I hadn’t received one yet.

Part of me thought that applying to only two (competitive) schools was silly. I just wanted to save money, so I didn’t apply to six schools like my friends did. That decision, however, was questionable because suddenly I was worried about my next step.

Another part of me just wondered if I was just really stupid. I spent the whole 19 years of my life believing that I was dumb, and it got worse while I was waiting to hear back from the schools I applied to.

On April 26, 2017, when I was grocery shopping at the QFC right behind my house, I finally checked my admission status after my friend told me that it was up on the university’s website.

“We regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you admission for the Fall Quarter 2017,” the website said.

I knew I might burst into tears, so I rushed to the cashier and paid for all my stuff before going back home.

“Are you okay?” my bestie asked, after I told him I got rejected. I told him I was fine, but deep inside, I was dead. I was a failure. My future was blurry.

It’s been three weeks since I received that notification. I started to accept the fact that I got rejected and tried to focus on finishing my studies instead. I moved on. Part of it still makes me sad sometimes, but I know I still have a chance because of the other school I applied to.

I know I’m not alone. Maybe some people experienced the same thing as I did — received nothing other than rejection letters. Maybe it’s you, one of my readers.

Let me tell you — rejection is not the end of everything. Here’s what you can do:

1. tell friends and family.

Some people are afraid their friends will make fun of them because their application got rejected, so they decide to shut up. Yet, having a psychological support system actually helps. Just tell one friend you really trust. Having someone listen to you can do a lot to relieve your sadness.

P.S.: If you have a bunch of amazing, supportive friends, you’ll be surprised at how big their effort is to cheer you up. In my case, my Ebbtide teammates wrote “We Love Adelia” on the office door, which I found really sweet. That’s what friends are for, anyway. 🙂

2. Get up and make a plan B.

Having backup schools sounds like a waste of money, but it is a wise thing to do. Some schools still have their application process open, so while waiting for decisions from universities you already applied to, work on your applications for other schools. Backup school doesn’t necessarily mean “trash” school, it is just a second option in case your dream schools decide not to offer you admission. Better safe than sorry, right?

If it’s already too late, applying for next quarter (or next year) is not a bad idea. It gives you more time to improve your performance so you have more things to write about in your personal statement.

3. Know your weakness(es)

While writing your new application, think about what could have been the cause of your previous application getting rejected.

If it was because of lack of experiences, be more active in campus activities. There are lots of opportunities for you to be a volunteer or to join a club. Or, you know, maybe join the Ebbtide. 😉

If it was because of grammatical errors, get someone to proofread your application. The best place to go for this would be the Writing Learning Center, but anyone experienced in proofreading could help. An English instructor would be a good option, too, since they are born to be the masters of grammar. In addition, don’t forget to seek some advice from your academic adviser — they usually give useful tips on how to work on a personal statement.

What if it was because of so-so grades? Study harder, dude. Wake up, open that book, study as hard as you can and get a tutor, if necessary. You can do it, I believe in you!

When you’re done with all of these steps, take a deep breath. Maybe you fell down, but you already put a lot of effort to get up. That’s a great achievement, my friend! Now let’s just wait to hear back from these schools. May the odds be ever in your favor.

-Adelia Sindunata
Photo Illustration by Martin Musialczyk