Hello Again Blogosphere,
I posted recently my opinion that the most challenging part about William and Mary is the endless opportunities. I blogged that one of the challenges is picking between the many different opportunities on campus-very true, but another challenge is that with so many incredible Tribe members vying for some of these positions, you (well, I) don’t get picked for all of them.
Yep, recently my inbox has received a few of those “We regret to inform you emails” from different on-campus opportunities. Rejection is really no fun; I think we all know that. But I wanted to write today about some of the ways I have dealt with rejection on the William and Mary campus.
I received one email while I was home in Charlottesville and will admit to happily accepting some parental attention and allowing myself a day or two of mourning. I shared the news with friends as I returned to campus. All of them were very supportive, and I took comfort both in those who hugged me and let me whine and those who said, “so what’s next.”
After sufficient wallowing, I set up a meeting with those in-charge of the opportunity I was declined from. That was one of the best decisions I could have made. I got the chance to talk about the decision process, get some really helpful feedback, and heard some great encouragement for other opportunities. I am sincerely grateful for that support and kindness, and I look forward to continuing my work with the program.
But even after the meeting the rejection still stung, so I messaged my friends and started planning a little something I called “Running from Rejection Day.” My note simply said I wanted a day of distraction with my friends and was open to suggestion as to what we should all do. Ideas-and accompanying costume suggestions-varied, although being outdoors was a common theme as Williamsburg has reached that lovely early spring phase with warm weather but low humidity. While I enjoyed the ideas that had us kayaking on Matoaka Lake dressed as princesses, I was glad that we settled on celebrating “Running From Rejection Day” on Jamestown beach.
Friday afternoon, three friends and I slid into the car with sunglasses on, the Shrek soundtrack blaring out the open windows, and the need for sand between our toes. As we headed down Colonial Parkway, we suddenly realized that we didn’t exactly know how to arrive at Jamestown Beach (only 2 of us had been before and only once). Colonial Parkway is a lovely drive, but it’s also a long drive, and as we cruised past more and more views of the river with no sight of the beach, we got a little worried. Luckily, one of my friends pressed us to just keep driving until we arrived at Yorktown.
Yorktown is now definitely my second favorite point on the historic triangle (I feel obliged to mention I have only been to W’burg and Yorktown, but still-it was awesome). Not only do they have a nice sandy beach, (which was only sparsely populated) but they also have a few small shops including Ben and Jerry’s.
After a bit of relaxing and with shoes already off, we decided that it was time for a bit of an adventure so three of us braved the
chilly waters and headed out into the river-not very far, it’s true, but it was cold.
Mostly we sat on the beach, talking and enjoying the warmth of the sun. It was a fantastic feeling that no matter the messages in my inbox, my time at William and Mary has been full of acceptance: the acceptance of some really amazing friends. Even though I think “Running from Rejection Day” has a very nice ring, we decided to rename the adventure “Freedom Friday” (Can you tell I really like alliteration?) mostly because the day was about celebrating our ability to make our own fun when the world doesn’t just hand it to us, but also because it’s a lot faster to say and therefore yell out as we were frolicking around.
Check out one of my friends celebrating her freedom on the beach.
So even though a week earlier I had been sitting on my bed unhappily reading a not so fun email, I spent the next Friday in a much better place. Rejection is a real part of life at William and Mary and a painful part. Thankfully, another real part of the college is the incredible people here to support you. Whether its wallowing, getting feedback, or celebrating my freedom, my William and Mary family is always here for me. The most challenging part of William and Mary is the endless opportunities, including the opportunities you aren’t chosen for, but also the fun opportunities that come out of that. So here’s to many more Freedom Fridays, although hopefully just because we want some fun and not because we’re running from rejection.