Picture it. Baltimore airport, February 2014.
Our plane from Boston landed in Baltimore to pick up some travelers heading to New Orleans, and I took this time to check my email (a terrible habit I developed). My heart stopped every time my email loaded in hopes that I’d hear back about my acceptance into graduate school. After weeks of near-heart attack moments, the email finally appeared.
The email read:
The admissions committee of the Creative Writing Workshop has reviewed your application, and I regret to inform you that at this time we will not be able to offer you a spot in the class that begins graduate study in Fall 2014. We receive far more qualified applications than we can accept each year and turning down bright and talented people is not a thing we enjoy.
I’d been rejected before, but this was something different. Not getting into grad school was a stab at my creativity and my passion as a writer. I spent weeks in a slump, temporally putting my writing on hold because I would get reminded of that email with every word written. It was rough, but I knew I had to pull myself together because I wasn’t the first one to get rejected.
Beyoncé? She lost Star Search.
Michael Jordan? He got cut from his high school basketball team.
Oprah? Well, she got fired.
It’s stories like those that remind me that a “no” isn’t the end of the world. It’s simply a roadblock and now, you have to create a new plan, a new map. If you’re ever confronted with rejection (and sadly, we all are eventually), here are some tips to help you cope.
Do Not Give Up
Giving up is harder than trying. The moment you give up is the moment you will lose sight of everything, especially your dreams. Constantly remind yourself that what has passed you by was not the best thing for you. Bigger and better things are coming!
Give Yourself a Chance to be Sad
I know that’s not what you’re supposed to do, but how else will you cope with rejection? I gave myself two weeks to cry and be angry about not getting into grad school. And those two weeks were pretty therapeutic. I was able to really understand why I was sad, and from that understanding, I was able to pull my big-girl panties up and keep moving towards my dreams.
It’s been almost a year since I got that email, and I will be the first to tell you that it gets better. After the tears, you’ll see that when one door closes, another one will open, or you’ll find the key to open up the door that’s for you. The only way to get that answer is the keep going. Keep your dream your main focus and from there, everything will fall into place.