Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fact of life: rejection stings.

Whether it is rejection from a crush or from an Ivy league law school, the pain is real. For the past month this news photographer has been floating on a cloud of acceptance. First it was NYU, then Loyola, DePaul, Colorado, Georgetown, and Northwestern. Today that balloon of elation was popped with one single page letter. It wasn’t that the letter was written well. In fact, I was extremely impressed by how elegantly they told me that I just wasn’t quite up to par. The message arrived on thick card stock, an official seal stamped into the bottom of the page. For a second I almost felt like writing back, “it’s ok, I know your job is tough. Please don’t feel bad for rejecting me. I’m sure that the candidates that you will end up selecting for your entering class of 2010 are an extremely qualified group of individuals.”

Ok, it never went that far… but I did almost feel like I had to apologize for wasting their precious time. Then the sting hit. The freefall of negativity started engulfing my mind and all the positive self-esteem that I had built over the past month vanished. It was if I blinked, and when my eyes reopened the world was a completely different place. Where I once was so sure of myself, the path that I would take, the direction I was going, now I was completely lost.

I know what you are thinking. Yale is the number one school in the country. 3,300 applicants (out of 3,500) get rejected every year. I am not alone. I know all that, but still the rejection stings.

Now I want to call them, just to let them know that I didn’t really want to go there anyways and they are infact doing me a big favor. Who wants a Yale law degree these days anyway? But I know that is a lie. I did want to go there. Very much I wanted to go there. If nothing else, I just wanted to hold the acceptance in my hand and know that I had accomplished something that most people will never accomplish. I wanted to hold that packet of accepted student information and think to myself, “I did it! I got into the number one law school in the county!”

But today, holding my single page letter, I know that I need to let those dreams go. I know that while the sting of rejection is still new, it will quickly fade. I will go to a great law school, graduate in three years, and start a career that I was meant to pursue. I know that with the right attitude I will find the happiness I envisioned for myself (remember that dream of holding my acceptance packet) anywhere. I know that I’ve already proven my capabilities far beyond what I dreamed possible. At the beginning of this law school journey I only hoped for an acceptance from a top fifty school. Sitting on my desk is a pile of information about NYU, the 5th ranked school in the nation.

So while I am feeling the sting of rejection I am also committing to my sanity. I am committing to giving myself credit for all that I have accomplished (and all I have yet to accomplish). I am telling that gift of anger (or sadness, loneliness, depression- you pick) that is sitting outside my door to go away. It is not wanted here. I am looking out on this beautiful Colorado day, taking a deep breath of fresh air and whispering a slogan that we’ve heard so many times over the past year, “yes, I can!” (I know, I put a personal twist on it.)

Yes I can get into a great law school. Yes I can succeed once I’m at law school. Yes I will be a successful lawyer, a happy woman, and a loving person. Yes I am worth everything that I dream about. Yes I will grow from my setbacks. Yes I will emerge stronger, more confident, and more ready to face the challenges that lay ahead. Yes I can. Yes I will.

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