The Sting of Rejection

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been pretty stressed thinking about my future. It didn’t really bother me in high school because I knew my next step in life was going to be college. But now that I’m in college, I don’t know what the future holds me for me and that’s honestly terrifying. And since I don’t know what life path I want to pursue, I really struggle to figure out what to do now major wise.

At Berkeley, through their graduate business school of HAAS, they offer a two-year undergraduate major. However, they only allow a couple hundred students into this program and to be admitted, you have to apply and be accepted. I was inspired by how much I love the business side of my photography passion, so a little over a year ago I decided to apply to this business program. I spent the time to take 5 prerequisite classes and write the application essays and all that. Decisions came out yesterday, and I received the “Thank you for applying, now go away” message.

It genuinely stings to be rejected at anything. I typically avoid admitting to others my personal goals. I want to give the impression that I am succeeding. I want my family to be proud of me. I hate having other people reminding me of my own disappointments. But for something like an undergraduate major, it wasn’t something I could keep to myself.

I was in San Francisco for a photo shoot when the HAAS decisions came out. I cried a little in my uber ride back to Berkeley. They were tears of disappointment, but they were mostly tears of fear. I never loved the HAAS program in the first place, but it had been a plan and now I was directionless. I was refused one path, and now I had to pursue a whole new one. Where to start? I don’t feel that young anymore and that’s stressful.

The difficult parts of life are (definitionally lol) difficult, but they’re also the points where you’re pushed to grow the most as a person. Here are a few thoughts going through my mind:

1. Rejection doesn’t mean that I am undeserving or unqualified

Whether or not this is true, when I encounter rejection, I have to convince myself of this. Otherwise, in the future, I won’t put myself “out there” in the first place.

“If you don’t see your worth, you’ll always choose people who don’t see it either. When your self-esteem rises, your life follows.” -Mandy Hale

2. Rejection should be motivating.

In this particular instance, I do believe HAAS made a mistake haha. And I would’ve done great in their program. However, I can believe that it was a mistake to reject me all I want. If I can’t pull off success, they will always believe they were right about me. Stakes to achieve are higher now because I have someone to prove wrong.

3. I’m not great with a “boss”

I hate being in a position where other people can refuse me something I want. I want to be my own boss someday. I realize that I just admitted a personal goal to the external world which is contradictory to something I just previously said… Oh well.

Caili Chung Photography
Caili Chung Photography
Caili Chung Photography

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The Sting of Rejection

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