And we are off on the racetrack that is the Spring 2018 semester. Seems like only a few days ago I was getting ready for the start of the semester at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) by obtaining my parking permit and now within the blink of an eye, I have already crushed 5 class sessions. I have gone from slowly getting settled back into classes after the winter break to an energizer bunny selling candy grams outside of the library as part of the USG Student Council’s fundraising efforts for the USG Student Involvement Scholarship.
My energy levels were high until four of my potential candy gram purchasers responded to my sales pitch by saying they won’t support because they never receive a USG scholarship award. As heartbroken as I was to listen to them explain how they always apply way before the priority deadline and ensure they include all the application requirements, I focused on the task at hand- selling the candy grams, and tried every sales tactic I know. After about ten minutes I conceded defeat. I made four new friends but sold no candy grams.
A day later, I received my very own “we regret to inform you that you have not been selected for a USG scholarship” email and the reality of what was said to me by a few other students sank in. I began to have the same thoughts that they expressed to me and while this wasn’t my first scholarship rejection notice, this is my third just at this campus, for a minute I forgot that rejection was a part of life. Now that I’ve had some time to process it all, I’ve decided to write this blog about how to bounce back.
Step 1: Accept
We have all been here, there is no shame in it. Rejection is a normal healthy part of life. Remember that receiving a scholarship award does not depend solely on your merit and your personal story. There are many other factors such as stated in the email “a very large number of outstanding applicants this year”. Accept that you were not successful this scholarship award season and focus on using this experience to your advantage in the future.
Step 2: Persevere
This goes hand in hand with step one. With that focus on using this experience to your advantage in the future, go back to your application documents. Pull everything, and when I say everything I mean everything and review them. Look for ways you can improve your documents and consider what you could have done differently. Remember you have resources right here at USG to help you with your scholarship application. Be sure to visit the Center for Academic Success (CAS). And don’t be shy to ask others that have been successfully awarded how the process went for them. Persevere and look for other scholarship opportunities. Don’t forget that you can also apply for scholarship opportunities at your home campus. Apply, apply, apply. Don’t let this one rejection email stop you from looking for other opportunities.
Step 3: Play
The students yesterday told me that they refused to play the scholarship game anymore. For these students, losing at the scholarship game encouraged secret suppositions that they are unintelligent, untalented, unworthy of higher education, or incapable of bettering themselves. None of this is true. For those whom this process is particularly bitter please be reminded of the many resources available to you right on the USG campus such as the Center for Counseling and Consultation (CCC). I’ve applied to so many scholarships and been rejected so many times that I honestly think of finding scholarship opportunities as hunting and submitting applications as a game. Boy was I surprised to find out that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. And while I do understand where they are coming from I cannot stress enough why you should continue to play. Your scholarship application, whatever the result may be, does not define you. Cry, rant, go shopping, eat out with friends, or drink wine. Then look up the next round of applications and get back to playing the game.
Follow those 3 steps to bounce back and always remember “you is kind, you is smart, you is important.”