Blog 25 November 2019

Why not to get too down about rejection

You spend weeks writing the perfect personal statement and practicing for your interview; you research the city, where you’d live and wonder about your life there; you’re so ready to start University or that new job, except, you don’t get a place there.

It’s all too slick to say that rejection is part of life, that it shapes who we are and builds character. It’s less easy to say that it hurts, that it can be painful and blinding. When it happens you can’t help but feel, well, rejected.

Rejection is a personal thing; it only comes about when you actually want something, when you set your heart on that dream job, the dream university place, your dream opportunity. But rejection can seem like a roadblock to these dreams, a shuddering halt to the plans we all make in our heads, and it can be difficult to see ways around it.

Whether you pretend you never cared or let the tears flow, people cope in different ways, all of which are normal. It’s okay to do whatever you need to deal with rejection, because dealing with rejection is just as personal as the feeling itself.

It is important though that we learn from rejection, no matter how slick it is to say. We can grow from rejection; who hasn’t felt spurred on by it, to push ourselves further, to go out and achieve something new.

What we care intensely about now often turns out not to matter in a year, a week, even a day’s time; we make new dreams, find new passions, set ourselves new targets that, having faced and dealt with rejection, we are in a stronger position to reach.

Rejection isn’t a full stop, it’s not an end to the dream whatsoever, as that thing we want is always shifting, always evolving and becoming something new. When opportunities don’t happen we forge ourselves new ones, we open other doors and define a new path to follow. One way to help is asking for feedback after rejection. If the feedback’s constructive, it can help to refocus your dream and create a clearer path to achieve it.

In dealing with rejection, to put it bluntly, we move on; we move on to new opportunities of our own making that we have complete power to achieve.

This blog was written by LifeSkills created with Barclays, a supporter of the DofE. LifeSkills inspires young people to get the skills they need to succeed in work now and in the future – online, in class and through valuable real-world experiences. Young people, teachers, parents and businesses can find out more at

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