Adversity Sucks: Keeping Your Head Up After Rejection

College, as everyone already knows, is very different from high school. This is a common and overused expression that you have no doubt heard time and time again, but it nevertheless continues to ring true. The first thing we are told as incoming freshman is to join as many clubs and organizations as we can. They want us to get involved. While this is a good strategy in theory, they also fail to mention just how difficult it actually is to get into some of these clubs and organizations. I am only one freshman in one college, so I by no means represent the opinion of every college student across every campus, but I think it is safe to say that we all have wanted something that was, shall we say, a little far from our reach.


The one thing I heard repeated on several occasions during club sign-ups at UC Berkeley was how difficult it was to actually get into everything. Of course, there’s an element of exaggeration in that sentence. There are plenty of organizations that are open to everyone or teams that are open to beginners. Still, I did see a recurring theme going around: not everyone makes it. Dance teams, event planning, theatre, business clubs, a cappella groups, and a few other groups on campus were audition, try-out, or interview only. This, naturally, makes sense. These were some of the most popular groups on campus, and certainly a dance team would want someone who could actually dance. The point I am trying to make is that it can be very intimidating and quite frightening to a bright faced and clueless freshman like myself.


In high school, I had participated in theater all four years. I had taken classes, and had played lead and minor roles in six productions, so I was to some extent slightly confident in my abilities. Theater is very important to me, and as it is my intended minor, I convinced myself to audition for all of the fall productions being produced on campus. I tried out for two plays and a musical. For the plays, I needed to recite a one-minute monologue, and for the musical, sing one minute of a song. Out of the three, I received one callback from a play, which consisted of them giving me a monologue from the play to recite, sitting around for an hour, and then being sent home. I didn’t even need to wait for their email to know I didn’t get that one either.


It sucked. It sucks when you are told, indirectly, that you are not good enough to do the one thing you believed to be a significant and vital part of your life. It is unnerving to say the least. With every walk back to my dorm after every failed audition, I lost a little more confidence in my abilities, and in some semblance, in myself. Except, here’s the crazy part: I plan on auditioning again next semester.


Rejection hurts, and it can quite easily convince you to cease any and all efforts to pursue anything you may want. However, that is just the point. This is something I want. This is something that is important to me, something I have determined to be vital to my very existence. So I am continuing to pursue my minor. I am continuing to take classes. I will continue to audition for every play until the production teams are sick of seeing my face. Maybe I am not ready yet, which is perfectly okay. I intend in improving.


In college, you may be faced with an overwhelming amount of opportunities and chances that can seem pretty scary and daunting. It is okay to be nervous, but never talk yourself out of trying. Also, know that it is alright to fail or make mistakes. People’s biggest regrets are the things they never did: yet another tired phrase that you have heard time and time again but continues to ring true.

One thought on “Adversity Sucks: Keeping Your Head Up After Rejection”

  1. Kay says:

    I always try to remind myself if I’m not getting rejected then I’m not challenging myself enough.

    I don’t want to spend my whole life doing stuff that I’m great at. Sure… it would be comfortable but it would be super boring. I want to push myself to be something and if no one ever tells me I’m not good enough (directly or through the colder ignoring me) it’s just proof I’m trying.

    By the sound of what you said, it’s going to be completely impossible to fail because you’re just not going to stop. That’s the kind of attitude that gets things done!

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