Berkeley’s Best Lesson: Rejection

M. N has been dancing her entire life. It’s her passion and her livelihood. Dancing has been M.N’s constant throughout the years, so it makes sense that she would try out for the dance club here at Berkeley. During her audition, she had a heart full of hope, but now, her disappointment breaks any semblance of a plan she had once had. She was rejected.

C. S’s deep interest in history was a catalyst for her application to the Student Advocacy Office at Berkeley. She believes her ability to describe laws and Constitutional intricacies as well as her passion for justice would make her an ideal candidate. She’s always been an A student with a great repertoire of community service, but after receiving her rejection from the Student Advocacy Office, she began to question her worth.

We all have an area of study that we feel confident in and truly believe in ourselves. For me, writing and expression have always been my passion. I was the editor of my high school’s literary magazine, and I have ample experience in editing, design, and writing. Literature was “my thing”: I was nominated for a Pathfinder award in literature, I edited for a national literary magazine, I intend to major in English, and I was the person my friends would turn to for essay writing help. When I came to Cal, I was set on joining a publication. I applied to two student-run publications with high hopes. You can tell how that went from the pattern in the previous examples. Rejection is rough, and it hurts, but it’s necessary.

The University of California, Berkeley is known for having a myriad of exclusive clubs that require a resume, cover letter, and an interview. You’d think that passion would be enough, but it’s actually a mix of demonstration of determination, luck, and connections that dictate your standings for a club. Is it completely fair? No. Does it mirror real-life job applications? Yes.

We live in a society that raises children with an idealistic mindset. The fairytales always have happy endings, and the most qualified worker snags the job. Our trophy-ridden generation is expecting everything to go our way; for our efforts to be automatically rewarded. For better or worse, that’s just not the truth. Student’s confidence in their subject matter needs to be checked, and it needs to have pressure placed upon it. If you’re genuinely passionate about something, you can’t take no for an answer. The most successful people in their fields have withstood countless amounts of backlash, criticism, and rejection; it makes sense that Berkeley’s microcosm of the professional world to prepare us for that.

Life isn’t about staying stagnant in your doings, but rather its purpose is to push and pull and be a dynamic force that leads you along a path of new experiences and opportunities. Due to those rejections, M.N started working in the ASUC office, and C.S began to work for KalX radio. Neither of them would have had the opportunity to venture out of their usual skillsets to try these new clubs if it weren’t for their original rejections.

I applied the very next semester and am now a reporter for The Daily Californian. I appreciate my failure because it made me value my successes even more. Berkeley has found a way to slightly desensitize me to rejection and this makes going for the gold an easier task.

So, Cal students, don’t let rejection from your dream-club convince you that you aren’t enough, because you’re the only one who decides that. Take this as fuel for your work habits and look at the club as something to work toward.

Author: Dina Katgara

I'm an incoming sophomore from South Florida majoring in English and minoring in Journalism. I am a news reporter for The Daily Californian and I love cats!