I usually apply to opportunities with the mindset that the position is already mine. I’ve met the requirements, I work hard therefore I deserve it. However, we all know that in the real world this ideology is not healthy, nor true.
It’s easier to deal with rejection if you haven’t factored the opportunity into your future, but sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between the things that you absolutely need to succeed and opportunities you want to help you succeed. That may sound strange but there is a profound difference. The opportunities we absolutely need are not always the ones we find, instead they find us. Yet, it’s hard to let go of something that I want and already placed in my future, hoping it would be the next step. This would probably explain why I initially thought my world would come crashing down if I got rejected from the New York Times Journalism Institute but oddly enough, it stood unmoved.
The opportunities we absolutely need are not always the ones we find, instead they find us.
I attend Agnes Scott College, a small liberal arts school tucked away in Decatur, Georgia. Although we have some students who are interested in communications we have no communications degree or department. Coming into college I knew I wanted to pursue a career in photojournalism, but I chose to attend Agnes Scott because I was intrigued by its academic rigor and welcoming environment. After deciding to pursue a degree in International Relations, I knew that jumping into journalism wouldn’t be too treturous, I just had to work for it.
I had to use my creativity and knowledge of history, political science and economics to find ways to gain experience in the field. I spent the past 4 years perfecting the art of networking and working extremely hard so that my resume and reel can keep up with those learning the art of journalism in school.
By the beginning of my senior year, I had an idea of what programs I wanted to pursue to help me succeed. In my mind, I would get into the journalism institute, learn all of the technical field techniques and progress into a promising career. Yet fate had it set up a little differently.
I spent the past two months working on my first documentary and getting into the New York Times Journalism Institute would mean that I would have to delay my plans for it’s release. Eager to take the path I thought I needed I completely disregarded my own project in hopes that my career path stars would align. However, after submitting the application and having a few weeks of nothing to concentrate on I began working on the documentary and it really became an integral part of my journey.
Eager to take the path I thought I needed I completely disregarded my own project in hopes that my career path stars would align.
Around the same time that I had finished working on it and began planning it’s post-production and distribution process, I got an email from the Institute telling me that I didn’t get accepted. For a moment I panicked, I thought that this was exactly what I needed but not long after did I realize that I was actually in a great place. I realized that I don’t need everything that I apply for. Sometimes it’s not that the opportunity isn’t great, it’s just that every opportunity has a designated time and place in my life.
This revelation is prevalent in the lives of dreamers and go-getters. Even Beyonce talks about the importance of not getting everything you work for when you want it because everything runs in it’s own time. In a segment of her short documentary titled “Imperfection” she states, “The reality is, sometimes you lose, and you’re never too good to lose, you’re never too big to lose, you’re never too smart to lose. It happens and it happens when it needs to happen and you have to embrace those things.”
Girl Who Code Founder, Reshma Saujani can relate as she stated in an interview with Her Agenda, “My life has been one big failure in the sense that every mistake led me to another career opportunity or to push me into the next level of my dreams.”
As I talk about in my latest blog post on Why I’m Not Scared of Rejection, I’ve learned that success is not really about the accomplishment but the resilient person you become on the journey to get there. It’s like playing the board game monopoly, it requires some giving, taking and a whole lot of patience but you’ll eventually get to where you need to be and it’ll be so worth it. So if you’ve just been rejected, thinking you might get rejected or are putting on a brave face and taking a chance, never fear you’ll eventually end up where you need to be. As Raven Symoné once said, “When someone tells you no, that just means you’re talking to the wrong person,” and trust me not everyone has the answers that you need.