I know we’ve all had a moment where we’ve experienced some form of rejection. For me, this particular day in February is one that I will never forget. Not because of the rejection that I faced, but because of the lessons that I learned from that day. To give some background on myself, I am a first generation college student from the Central Valley. When I first started college back in 2017, I never thought it would be possible for me to ever land a role within a top tech company. Fast forward to 2019, I had built up the courage to apply to intern roles within Google and Apple. I didn’t think much of it, but months later I had received the great news that my skills and qualifications were enough for me to interview for both roles. I moved past the first rounds and at this point the pressure I was feeling was immense. I kept thinking about how hard I had worked to get to this point and how proud I could make everyone. After wrapping up interviews, I received the news that I wouldn’t be moving forward for either role. If that didn’t hurt enough, I was given the news on the same day.
Having experienced both of these rejections put me at such a low point in my life, where I was deeply ashamed. It felt like the students around me were advancing in the marathon, while I had just tripped and needed to finish tying my shoe. I felt as if nothing I was doing would ever be enough to please myself. Consequently, my grades were slipping, as was my motivation. I ended up signing up for counseling because I felt the need to release all the pressure I was feeling. I’ve been attending counseling for 8 months now and carry such a different head space. I see that particular day, where I was given the news in such a different light and with so much gratitude.
As I was mentally healing from the rejections I faced, my mother’s words would come up now and again. When I was younger and feeling the pain of rejection, she would remind me of Dr. Jose Hernandez and his journey to making it to space. Dr. Hernandez tried getting into NASA’s space program for 12 years. Hearing his story put so much into perspective and I’m hoping that my experiences and his will serve as a reminder to persevere despite some push back.
Here are some tips to look at the glass half full, rather than half empty.
Just because it didn’t work out now, doesn’t mean it can’t work out later.
Use this rejection to keep you hungry, yet humble for more.
Take these experiences with a grain of salt. There is so much more to experience in life.
A position title, school name, or letter grade does not define who you are.