Accepting Rejection – Tony Fitzgerald


“If you don’t take a chance, you don’t stand a chance”–Steve Jobs

Author’s Note: I was not chosen to be WOOLF leader, lost a CC election, and, most embarrassingly, was rejected by Amherst College.

Despite what they tell us on Game of Thrones, spring, not winter, is coming to Williamstown. The snow is melting, the beer cans are resurfacing, and cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder, real and imagined, are clearing up. Yet, despite the improvement in the weather, a fog of sadness still hangs over the heads of a great many students this spring.


Whether it be JA, WOOLF, Oxford, tour guide, summer programs, internships, or jobs, we rejectees are out there, and we’re suffering.

To make matters worse, these are all things that we want to do. We’re no longer simply signing up for extracurriculars that will look good on our college applications. We’re making steps towards what we want to do with our lives–and being told we’re not good enough.

These decision processes’ lack of explanation certainly doesn’t help the closure process. We will never know exactly what it was about us that lead them not to choose us. You start to wonder if you’re not the person you think you are or if you will ever be the person you’re trying to be. It’s disheartening. It doesn’t seem fair.

Beyond that, we’re surrounded by people who did manage to get everything they wanted. Awkward conversations have abounded on campus these past few weeks: “Yeah, thanks. I’m really excited! I can’t believe they didn’t choose you” and “Can you believe I almost didn’t even apply?” Maybe it’s not fair to ask people to restrain their happiness, but it can be a wearisome atmosphere to live in. There’s little more frustrating than being surrounded by people who succeed at everything that you fail at.

It’s no wonder why envy is one of the deadly sins. It drives us to anger and resentment. It alienates us from our friends, our acquaintances, and our classmates. It causes us to miss class, skip homework, and avoid mealtimes. It moves into our lives and leaves us feeling always inadequate, always lacking.

But we shouldn’t let these things get us–and keep us–down. The positions that we do or do not hold are not the sum of our worth as human beings. No selection committee or body of our peers can truly know who we are as people. We should not let them dictate how we see ourselves.

We should not let our failures discourage us either. The only way anybody has ever achieved anything was by putting some skin in the game. Though sometimes we only have one chance at some specific position, JAs are not the only people who can look out for freshmen, WOOLF leaders are not the only ones who can venture out into the woods, and those who get what they want are not the only ones who can be successful.

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