It was my second year at Baylor and I had officially become a member of the “Broke College Kid Committee”. I had exactly $3. 32 to my name, a meal plan that was just about exhausted, and lab fees that were waiting to be paid. Needless to say, I needed a job and I needed one badly. I got on the Student Employment site and spent all week filling out application after application. I applied and applied and applied and either heard a “No”, “We’ll keep you on File”, or nothing at all. One day, I came across this job that consisted of working as a student assistant in the IT department of the library. I figured I was savvy enough with computers and typed fast enough to pull off the position…so I applied. As I was filling out the questionnaire attached to the application, I thought to myself, “I know I got this one”. It was perfect for me. After a week of checking my email every ten minutes in hopes of receiving a “Congratulations, welcome to our staff” message…I was shocked when I instead received a notification from the head of the department telling me that he had decided to hire someone else for the position. I remember being furious not only at the fact that my account was now $0.97 and I still had lab fees calling my name, but mainly because I was tired of being rejected. So tired that in fact, I called the head of the department myself to find out why I wasn’t selected for the position. I complained on the phone for about fifteen minutes explaining my thoughts…how I didn’t feel the selection was fair and trying to prove how qualified I was in hopes of changing his mind. The man just sat quietly on the other end of the phone and waited until I finished sounding like an entitled brat. He then calmly said, “Ms. Okoli, the position has been filled and that’s not changing. However, I would be more than happy to tell you what you should change for the future.”
We sat on the phone for 45 minutes and dissected every part of my application. Everything that was wrong, everything that was right, and everything that could be better. I was still angry, but I was listening. I took heed of everything he said. And I decided I was going to turn this negative into a positive. I looked online the next week and saw another job that I was interested in had been posted. With my new knowledge lingering in the back of my head, I decided to put it to the test. And lo and behold, I got the job. In fact, there hasn’t been one position that I haven’t been called for an interview for since my conversation with that man. And as I am writing this post, I sit and wonder, “What if I had just disregarded what he said…What if I just let my anger stay in the forefront and took nothing away from that experience?” I would probably have still been that same broke college student, but even worse,…I would still have the same defeated mentality.
A lot of times, we’re so blinded by the shock, bitterness, and pain that comes with rejection, that we fail to see the underlying purpose of it all. Rejection is about growth. Rejection blocks us from the opportunities we want, to prepare us and mature us for the opportunities we need and are destined to achieve. Rejection humbles us. It opens our eyes to our weaknesses so that we can mold them into strengths. It allows us to fall so that we can truly appreciate our victory when we stand. Acceptance may encourages us, but rejection strengthens us. Every NO is only God preparing us for a far better YES in the near future. But we have to be ready to receive that blessing when it comes. And in order to do that, we have to accept our rejections, learn from them, and channel them into making us better than we were before. So turn your negatives into positives. Find a way to stand after your fall. Discover the blessings disguised in your disappointments. Learn to grow from your rejections.
Because once that happens, you’ll discover that those NOs will soon become YES’s that are more perfect than anything you could have ever imagined.