Why I’m Glad I Was Rejected from Oxford University
I refused to admit it at the time, but when I saw the words "your application is no longer under consideration" and "we shall not be able to offer you a place", I really was upset.
My eyes may have leaked (OK I CRIED A LITTLE).
This reaction took me by surprise because I had just spent the last 3 months passionately telling everyone that I really couldn't care less about getting in any more as I had decided by that point that I didn't want to go to uni (why? the short story is that I struggled to identify a compelling enough reason to go. 'My parents, teachers and friends want me to' just didn't cut it).
The rejection hurt because I associated it with being 'too dumb to get in'; a reflection of my intelligence. I'd made the irrational mistake of associating a criticism/rejection of an view/action I make (or in this case an application I made) with a personal attack against me, which of course it wasn't, but my subconscious wasn't having any of that thing called rationality.
After getting my rejection email I spent the rest of the night in a sort of haze where I quite frankly felt incompetent and embarrassed about having to tell all my peers, teachers and parents about the rejection.
The feeling went away after a good nights sleep however (seriously, why does this work?!), and I journalled some of my new views about the event the next morning. Namely that it was a very positive experience (team positivity, people!).
Why? 2 reasons in particular made the rejection an event that I'm glad happened:
1. It brought my ego down a peg or two.
I'm still a bit uncomfortable about publicly revealing this (no one likes admitting that they can at times be annoyingly braggy and egotistical), but whether I liked it or not, or was conscious of it or not, being the only student in the 6th form applying to Oxford lead to some ego-boosting attention from peers and teachers. I'm thankful that the event reminded me to stay humble.
2. It challenged me to learn to not take 'failure' personally.
Stuff happens. It doesn't make me inferior, stupid and dumb. It also made me look at the bigger picture - aka. that this event really wasn't a big deal in the grand scheme of life, death and the universe. So I think i'll just get over it now ;)
Image courtesy of 'The Basic Gal'