It sucks to be rejected from or fail at something. But it happens to all of us, and it is important to realize that these experiences are an inevitable part of the Princeton experience and can make you stronger in the long run. We spoke with several Princeton students about times they've faced rejection and what they've taken away from it. Here are some of their thoughts:
"I came into Princeton as an English major but my entire freshman year, I struggled to contribute to class discussions, write strong essays and do well in my English classes. It looked so easy for everyone else that I started to doubt that I deserved to be here. A couple years later, I've found my voice, my passion, and mentors in a (related) department that I love."
"As a freshman, I auditioned for a number of shows on campus. I was promptly rejected from all of them…. Though I did not quite live out my theatre aspirations during my time here, I am proud of the one show I participated in, based on the Princeton & Slavery project. Now, I have not only written and performed in an original show but have written my own personal legacy of art and activism into Princeton's history."
"[People assume that] Princeton only accepted me based on my status as a first-gen student...I don’t need to explain myself. I’m here because I’m here, and that’s all, plain and simple."
"I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with the rejections, the fear that you'll never find that "one thing" that will make you finally feel fulfilled, academically or socially or emotionally. I wish I had an answer.
But the one thing that helps I guess is knowing that you aren't alone."
"At Princeton, it's great to pursue your passion, as long as it's financially stable...when trying to make a living out of something you enjoy is looked down upon in a place that is supposedly filled with passionate people, there is something wrong."
"It was hard [facing rejection] and not taking it personally, but I've been getting better at having the right mixture of resilience and focus to make it through Princeton in one piece."
"This steep and winding path in search of your identity and goals in life will level out eventually, and you'll see that the walls you faced on both sides were walls shared by everyone else."
"Failures are invisible… I am certain that underneath each bullet point [in a resume] is a hidden story of difficulty— after all, each of the items in my own resume belies a behemoth of failures and challenges."
"Regardless of how much you try to integrate yourself into a group or mold into a scene, there are inevitably times when you feel different… I have to come to celebrate what sets me apart and find how that unique quality can be integrated with unique characters of others."