Missing the Mark

Have you ever applied to something and not gotten it? “Dear sir or madam, but we regret to inform you that…” emails can be the worst. They tell you one thing and one thing only: You’ve missed the mark. You didn’t make the cut. You haven’t succeeded yet.

Sometimes in life, we don’t get what we want. I’ve had my fair share of failed applications, botched interviews, and missed opportunities. It doesn’t mean we’re not good enough; it just means we’re not right for the part.

I spent a lot of my freshman and sophomore year applying to things that I didn’t get. Before I got to college, I didn’t really understand the merit of not getting something you applied to. I started to experience failure with the college admissions process. However, I was lucky. I got into the majority of the schools I applied to. The one I really wanted to get into? Not so much. The scholarships I applied to? Nada.

I entered college, expecting the same attention as high school. I was a good student, so I obviously would get the extra opportunities, right? Boy, was I wrong.

But I wasn’t the only one in that boat. College was a bigger sea, so the applicant pool was a lot larger, even for extra-curricular and volunteer activities. I applied to several programs that were only looking for a few students, and got turned down by all of them.

The next year, I realized that I had to start applying to internships, if I wanted to jumpstart my career. I luckily found my way into an on-campus job that turned into my internship for the summer, but I still applied to about 7 internships that I didn’t get into. To be fair, some were above my skill level, but the “recommended qualifications” never stopped me.

I’ve lived my life with the mantra that if I work hard enough and want it bad enough, anything is possible. Any road is possible. Any life that I want to live.

I still believe that to this day, but I know that with hard work and good expectations still comes failure. I have failed a lot more times than I have succeeded, but I haven’t given up yet. (I don’t plan on giving up any time soon.)

If you’re among the crowd of students without a job, an internship, or a worthy opportunity this summer, don’t worry. I was in your place every summer before this one. It doesn’t mean that you suck, or are a lousy applicant, or are “unfit to be a working adult.” It just means that you have more time to improve yourself.

So! Don’t spend the summer laying around, doing nothing. Pick up a book (or several) on a topic that interests you. There are tons of online courses available on nearly any subject in the world. Learn something new. There are even courses in programming languages that you can put on your resume (hint hint I wish I had time to do this. If you have the time, do it for me.)

Sadly, this does not mean binge-watching the new Orange Is the New Black season will become a skill you can put on your resume. It does, however, mean that you can focus on something you’re passionate about, which will impress college admissions counselors and job recruiters alike.

I always have too much on my plate, but that’s because I don’t stop trying to shove things on it. Sometimes, nothing on your plate is a worthier experience than having too much on it. So don’t worry if you didn’t land the perfect internship this summer. You can still make the most of it.

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