February 24 2016

College Acceptance Season – What I’ve Learned About Rejection by Rochell Rotenberg

As I sit on my dorm room bed overlooking the San Francisco skyline (350 miles from home), I can’t help but think where I was a year ago.
I started senior year with a goal- a four year, somewhere on the Nation’s Top 30 Universities List, the perfect distance from home, and the chance to truly have that “college experience” everyone always talks about. Although I am so thrilled to be where I am, my mood today is precisely the polar opposite of what it was last year and I’ve decided to reflect.

college? gifI was sitting in a pile of rejection tears. I had not one, but five tabs open with all my dream schools’ online portals. The only difference between them was the school logo in the left hand corner. They all sounded a bit like this: “Dear Rochell, Thank you for submitting your impressive application to the University of ________. After careful consideration and deliberation, we regret to inform you that you have not been accepted….”

you look like hellThe first couple of them were no big deal- reach schools, schools I didn’t really want to go to anyway. But after a while, and in my case, 6 rejections out of 9 total applications, and only one week until the final school came out with a decision… I was in a state of total agony.
I tried extremely hard in high school. I didn’t have the best grades or the best SAT scores, but I was sure of the fact that with my strong application, I would get to where I belonged. But in that week in the middle of March, when everyone started buying their college gear and submitting their letters of intent, I was stuck and extremely discouraged.

That week taught me a lot. It taught me you become bitter at other’s happiness, even if you don’t intend to. I had a dream school where I imagined myself every day. I wore the geeky gear, knew the campus pretty well, and had big shoes to fill (my brother went to my dream school, and absolutely killed it there). And so when I didn’t get in, I was truly devastated. To me, it seemed that all the kids who got in were so casual about it- that they got lucky or that I was unlucky because I was so certain that I wanted it more than they did. I was wrong. My jealousy made me realize that it’s okay to be upset over things that truly meant a lot to you, but that you shouldn’t mope and you should allow yourself to open your heart and be happy for others.

I learned about the importance of acceptance, along with the phases of denial. Most importantly, I learned about the thrill that is a change of plans.

When I say this school was the dream, it truly was. I didn’t care to go anywhere else at all. In fact, the school I’m at right now wasn’t even an option. I was so blinded by my #1 that I was willing to take time off / go to community college for the sole purpose of transferring to the dream. It took me a while to become happy again looking towards the future. But now, nearly a year later, I could not be happier. I would have never imagined how great and different my life would be- something I completely didn’t expect and am so grateful to have had the opportunity to experience. I learned that patience truly is a virtue. You need to wait for what’s coming, and even if it isn’t what you had hoped for or what you wanted, you can easily try to make the best out of any situation. I learned that being optimistic is extremely important and that what I was going through changed me for the better and made me extremely grateful.
College acceptance/rejection season is a stressful and annoying period of time. My last piece of advice would be to step back and realize that you will end up where you’re supposed to. I would have never imagined myself a year ago where I’m at today. Moving away from home was the scariest thing, and it turned out to be the best thing. Sometimes, something so unexpected comes around that you don’t want to embrace it. But if you chose to experience something new, it could turn into the best years of your life (example: me).

Don’t fear rejection. Use it as fuel to strive for better.

hermoine gifLots of love and luck, your still sometimes bitter about rejection girl,


P.S here’s a picture of me, very excited about school and the famous Campanile at UC Berkeley!


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