Dealing with Rejection: A Four-Fold Breakdown

As spring draws near, the time of rejection letters (and hopefully acceptance letters) is upon us. Schools, potential employers and summer opportunity program coordinators are deciding whom they wish to accept and whom they wish to deny. Rejection is an inevitable part of life and, though never pleasant, it may be transformed into a positive force if handled well. The following are a few tips for handling rejection well.

1.         Evaluate the Finality of this Rejection

Ask yourself these questions: Is this rejection the final word? Are there any proactive steps I might take to still achieve my goals? Are there any alterable circumstances causing this rejection? If the possibility to achieve your goals still exists, you’re in luck. Occasionally, a rejection is simply a short-answer means of saying “change something.” If rejected from a school, you might write a letter to express strong continued interest, swaying the minds of administrators. If rejected from a summer position, you might change your dates of availability or offer to work for less pay.

2.         If the Rejection is Final, Accept the Decision with Grace and Poise

React to situations with grace. If this specific dream has not panned out and will not pan out, use this opportunity to begin building a reputation as a decorous, strong and gracious person. Respond to notes of rejection with a sincere “thank you for your time and consideration” and “best wishes for the upcoming summer/season/year.” You never know whom you may reencounter in the future or which bridges you may cross again.

3.         Learn and Grow

Ask yourself: Why was I rejected? Perhaps you could improve your resume. Perhaps you could gain more experience in a certain field. Perhaps you could take classes related to certain positions. Perhaps you could work on your ability to communicate effectively. Perhaps you could improve your interviewing skills. Use this rejection as an opportunity to improve aspects of your life.

4.         Dust Your Shoulders Off

Pick yourself up, dust your shoulders off, take a deep breath and move on. Search for other opportunities and other open doors. Though cliché, the saying “when one door closes, another opens” is all too true. This is one, and only one, rejection. Keep trying and you will, at some point, inevitably succeed.