On Rejection from U of E


A very dear and beloved friend of mine has a very kind, compassionate, and accomplished son who is completing his senior year of high school, and who had his heart set on attending a state university that he believes is perfect for him, which I shall call U of E (University of Excellence).  He has a GPA of 3.9, an impressive list of A.P. courses on his transcripts, lots of extracurricular activity and volunteer experience to boast of.  He is responsible, generous, goal-oriented, ethical, and extremely hard-working.  In all of these aspects, he is just like his mother.  He is currently studying abroad, and left instructions for his mom to check his email in anticipation of receiving word from U of E regarding his admissions status.  She just received the email–he was denied admission.  It is hard to imagine what went wrong with his candidacy; as a University professor myself, I can say that he is exactly the kind of student that many outstanding institutions of higher ed. court.  He is certainly the kind of young man that most university faculty want to have in their classes.

Nevertheless, he will have to come home from an elating experience romping through Rome and Pompeii to a tough rejection that will feel to him like a dream crushed.

It might be tempting to offer advice like, “This is a tough lesson that you’ll have to learn sometime–we can’t always get what we want no matter how hard we work for it. Life offers lots of disappointments, and you have to learn how to make the best of them.”  Maybe that is good advice.  And, maybe it is true.

But, I would offer something else.  Something like, “You feel crushed because you feel a gap between yourself and something you desire.  But, I know something that may be hard for you to feel right now.  I know that all the ingredients for a magnificent, happy life are inside of you.  Every single ingredient you need, you already have.  I know that if you turn your attention to your strengths, you will find that they will invite you to take the next logical step.  And that step and the step after that and the step after that and so on will lead toward a life of accomplishment and magnificence and creation that you might not have been able to dream into possibility had you gotten what you want right now. You may believe that U of E  holds and is keeping from you the key to unlock your future and your happiness.  That is an illusion. The key to happiness is never to be found in something external to yourself.  You can and will create no matter where you are.  Creation is your destiny.”

I have every confidence that this young man will grieve and then make a brilliant future despite this seeming road-block to his destiny.  But, this road-block is just that–only seeming to be.  What really is is his brilliant potential for c0-creation.

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “On Rejection from U of E

  1. Andrea

    So true! I know things happen for reasons beyond our immediate understanding, working for the betterment of ourselves and others. I am sure this young man will be extraordinarily successful with his life, as it sounds as if he is such a quality gentleman. He will succeed when and where he needs to be at any given moment. Thank you for your wise words and outlook:)

  2. Bravo–I really like this post. I would love to have you for advice any day 🙂 I hope to, someday, be able to word my advice in such a way that it really gets the listener thinking differently and remember what magnificent potential we all have even after rejection or disappointment.

  3. Mindful Balance offers a wonderfully poignant post that posits another take on rethinking disappointment. Please consider checking it out if this topic resonates with you:
    http://mindfulbalance.org/2012/04/07/16619/

  4. That is truly such wonderful advice for him.

    I am a strong believer in things happening for a reason. Obviously this was meant to be, and there is something bigger and brighter waiting for him.

    PS And yes I would love to have you to turn to for such wonderful advice 🙂 ♥

  5. This post brought back a flood of memories of a time when I was in the same shoes at that young man. At the young age of 19, it was my first crushing blow that life dealt me. In the Chinese and Asian context, a tertiary education was all we were groomed for. And in that small young frame of mind, that was like the end of the world. I have since learnt that life is so much more than even our deepest attachments to our best laid plans. One day this young man too will turn around and see the road not travelled will take him to many more roads rising up to meet him. And having someone like you in his life can only mean good things. Thank you for a post of wisdom this Sunday. Shaz

  6. So beautifully put, Shaz! Thanks so much for sharing your long arc of penetratingly rich perspective here. Yes- it has been my experience, too, that life tears you away from your best-laid plans only to offer you so much more! Huge hug and lots of love!

  7. Great post Erran, as mom of 2 incredible young women, I have encountered facing let-downs with them many a time be it a lead role in the school musical, a boyfriend issue, and yes – college admissions too. We have become avid fans of journaling and other strategies to bring awareness and acceptance to outcomes or situations that “do not seem” to be as we would want at any given moment. Amazing how making peace and not resisting disappointment can produce miracles. I’ve witnessed it for them over and over… and am constantly working to exercise similar strategies in my own life. So much wisdom in your post! Thank you!

    • Thanks so much for your perspective, Robyn! What great strategies you model for your incredible young women!! I came to such strategies rather late in life, as I’m sure many people have; what a great head start they’ve got!! “Not resisting disappointment can produce miracles.” Such poignant words!! Love your comment (and your blog)–thank you!

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