It is about that time of year. Students are receiving veterinary school acceptances/rejections. So what do you do if you are rejected?
Let’s rewind… This can be applied to ANYONE and EVERYONE.
Although I write this from the angle of “veterinary student”, every single person on this planet faces rejection once in their life. Below, I list some of the opportunities that I was rejected from:
- Vanderbilt – it was my dream school for my undergraduate studies and I was rejected.
- PRO: I am not $200,000+ in debt from undergrad! GO ME!
- Fulbright Scholar – I applied to go to Laos to teach English right before I graduated from my university.
- PRO: I went to France instead and am now fluent in French!
- Royal Canin/Lafeber Student Rep – I didn’t get either of these positions that I applied for this year in veterinary school.
- PRO: I am now the PURINA student rep and I absolutely LOVE the company and what they stand for.
This list goes on and on. You can look at these things as failures or opportunities. Many more programs, jobs, etc. rejected me through my life. My undergraduate university turned me down for multiple leadership positions. Zoo Atlanta rejected me from an internship, only to offer me a different position a week later. A few months ago, Aquavet rejected me from their summer program because I didn’t have enough aquatics experience.
My dad died when I was 17 and it changed my life in ways I could have never expected. Some may view this as a “rejection” in that he is no longer present. I miss him every single day, but I do not look back with regret for what could have been, only gratitude for the relationship we had. Nothing ever goes the way you want it to and it is impossible to plan for the future.
So what now?
Every time I look back on a “failure” I realize that it was actually an opportunity for me to learn, grow, and struggle towards a better future. When we focus on the negatives, we bring more of that negativity into our lives. Some of the best advice I have ever received was to be open about both your successes and failures. Don’t look at these missed opportunities with shame, but rather with joy that you now have the opportunity to move forward in a different direction. That door was closed for a reason. We can apply this to relationships, jobs, school, money, etc. If we focus on the past, we will live in the past and there is no way to grow from that.
So you were rejected from *veterinary school* (insert anything else and this will correlate). Now what? Well, live your life! Seek new opportunities. Work for a veterinary clinic and gain new technical skills! Save your money – if you are in America and trying to be a veterinarian, you will need it! Volunteer! Develop hobbies and work on yourself and your relationships so you come to vet school (or whatever you choose to do) more prepared and grounded. Taking four years off before starting veterinary school has been so helpful for me in how I handle stress and responsibilities. I learned how to take time for myself and the things that matter most. In addition, I learned how to talk through difficult circumstances to come to a resolution. The time I spent gaining new experiences and “growing up” in my early twenties has made me a better student and will make me a better veterinarian one day.
Keep your chin up, my friends!
Life is too short to spend your days wallowing in disappointment. Instead, step outside and breathe in the fresh air. Invest in yourself and do something you love. Take the time to be grateful for each and every day. And if you falter, which surely you will from time to time, don’t give up. Give yourself a few days to wallow and then move on! Trust me, I have been in your shoes and I know what it feels like. But I can tell you from first-hand experience that the more you get rejected, the easier it will be. Each new rejection will be like a wave of water rolling over you, with you staring up not particularly worried at all. If you need more tips for dealing with anxiety, click here.
Thinking of all of you, whether you were accepted or rejected. Stay positive and know that whatever you put your mind to and invest your energy in, you will become one day!