The rejection letter that changed my life

Having a ‘Type A’ personality, I can honestly say I’ve always had a plan. Planning and to-do lists come easy to me and always give me a sense of direction and peace in stressful times. But sometimes, that direction is too focused on one path, and has a way of taking over. It’s not every day that you sit down with the intention of planning the next 4-plus years. Yet, when the moment you’ve planned for turns into a disaster it changes you. I’ll back up and explain what led to this day.

From the first day of college, I had my sights set on a job with an incredible Fortune 500 company. I had coordinated my entire academic career around preparing myself for my dream job and throughout the first two years of college I sculpted my resume in preparation for the junior year career fair. It was there that I would walk away with a “dream job” in the palm of my hands. How could they not love me after over four years of working on being the perfect candidate?! Just as I had envisioned, I walked out of the career fair on cloud nine, with a scheduled interview. Two weeks later I had the interview with their recruitment team. Three days after that, I received the rejection letter that changed my life.

I remember sitting in disbelief, re-reading my ‘oh-so-typical’ rejection letter. It wasn’t personable or genuine; I was just another rejected candidate. There had to be a mistake, didn’t they know that I had been planning this for over four years?! I remember feeling more disappointed in myself than ever before. Relaying the message to my family and friends was even worse. I found myself asking, “What in the world could I have done to change the outcome?” I felt discouraged about continuing my search for an internship. My life, for that moment, stood still with confusion and disbelief.

Now I am here to tell you that this experience helped change my outlook on college, and life in general. When it boils down to it, there was no other explanation besides the fact that I was just not right for the job. There was nothing I could have done to make me more qualified. I can say I put 100% effort into that interview and application. What I did get out of this rejection letter affected me with more purpose than I ever expected. You can’t change your dreams to fit the needs of anyone or anything besides yourself. I realized through that rejection letter that I would achieve greatness in other ways.

There are no “take-backs” or “re-do’s” in the real world. Life will always go on, and two weeks later, I accepted another internship that I had applied for as back up. I could not be more excited or thankful to have the opportunity that turned out to be the perfect fit for my personality. Looking back, that rejection letter taught me four important things about life and college. I will leave you with those:

  1. Planning is a great tool, but don’t get too consumed by any idea to where it takes over your life. There is more than one road to success.
  2. Always have an open mind; life has a way of working itself out.
  3. If you put in the work, you will earn rewards in ways you don’t always expect.
  4. Always be yourself, do not succumb to the pressures of society, success, or others.
Sterling Woerner

Sterling Woerner

Sterling is a driven and goal oriented student currently studying marketing and communications at Texas A&M. She grew up in a small town in south Texas and found bliss through being active, developing long lasting relationships, and traveling. She finds happiness in personal growth, education, and experiencing new things. Growing up the middle child out of five, she naturally developed into an instinctual leader driven by ambition to make a difference. She is humbled by her experiences during her upbringing, from traveling to tragedies; she looks back with appreciation for life, and is grateful for all experiences. She has always been extremely involved in academics and extracurricular activities. She is currently working two jobs while in college, taking a full course load, and is highly involved in two Greek business organizations. She is always on the run, but wouldn’t have it any other way.